1 out of 4 stars
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Mythical Worlds and The One You Can Believe In by Harold Toliver is a philosophical look into our society and the myths we perpetuate. Toliver explains ancient ideologies and modern misconceptions that have been influenced by religion, casual conversation, and gossip throughout history. He discusses the concept of collective illusions that derived from mythology, philosophy, and science. He delves into the cause of these overinflated group thinks with the rise of empiricism. Objective nature turned fact is one of the biggest struggles in our society and has not been resolved by ancient philosophers like Plato or modern philosophers like John Dewey. He discusses its effect on our history from warfare to politics. He wraps up the book discussing external realism, the idea that a world exists outside of our perception of it. He states that absolutes in the world are fictitious and our reality is how we perceive it.
I did appreciate the concept behind the book. We live in an age of misinformation with the internet at our fingertips. This leads to a lot of propaganda and misconceptions that are potentially damaging to society. My least favorite aspect of this book besides the unnecessarily superfluous language is the false information conveyed as facts. I found this particularly annoying considering this is supposed to be a book about disassembling harmful truths in humanity. One such statement was the "fact" that human beings are the only species that kill their own kind. I think spiders, meerkats, wolves, and lions (just to name a few) would all disagree with that statement. Toliver also states that nature is not symmetrical which is baffling to anyone who looks at a fern, seashell, pine cone, or a thousand other symmetrical items in nature.
I rate this book 1 out of 4 stars. My biggest issue is the excess language used. It over complicates the content, making what could have been an interesting subject boring and difficult to read. Few people know the word "progeny", but if you just say "descendants" most people would get it. Just say "anxiety" instead of "perturbation". It was almost as if in an attempt to sound extremely intelligent, Toliver lost the reader's attention altogether.
Perhaps this book would tickle the fancy of a deeply philosophical reader who has a deep knowledge of the English language, ancient history, and warfare. As for the average reader looking for a casual book to read before going to bed, I do not think this one is for you.
I did not see many typos or spelling errors throughout the book which is impressive considering the vernacular used. Then again, I gave up looking up words I didn't know halfway through reading it so Toliver could have misspelled them and I wouldn't have known the difference. I did notice one error on page 27 where it says "smarm" instead of "swarm". I'm 95% confident that was a typo and not another word I didn't know.
There is no doubt Harold Toliver is an incredibly intelligent and philosophical man. This book is full of research, history, and analysis. That being said, I do not believe many people will be able to absorb the information Toliver is trying to share because of the excessive language and unnecessary verbiage. I read the whole thing and I'm still not really sure what he is trying to say. The average reading level in America is 8th grade and this book is more for people who read at a doctorate level.
Mythic Worlds and the One You Can Believe In
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