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Inner Space Philosophy

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Member Reviews

This is a strange book, and I suspect it will be mostly loved or loathed, with relatively few people in that usually broad spectrum of indifference. It's not strange in its message (which is an argument for philosophical Idealism and a metaphysics consistent, therewith,) but rather it's odd in its delivery. It mixes fact and fiction, often in an ill-defined way, and it's loaded with fourth wall breaking self-introspection. I enjoyed reading the book, found it amusing at times, and received a lot of food-for-thought from it (but not without some frustration, particularly around not knowing which were true stories. I suspect this was intentional. Philosophical Idealism being a notion that what matters is our internal [i.e. mental / emotional] experience and that that experience may not have much to do with any external "reality" [and, to the degree it does, that we have limited capacity to know how.] Therefore, it makes sense that a book taking such a stance would eschew the importance of external world "truths" in favor of building mental models that have pedagogic value regardless of whether the reflect external world happenings. The book boldly puts its money where its mouth is in that regard.)

It should also be said that part of the reason for the book's unusual approach was to make a hard break from the usual mode of philosophical writing, which is often pedantic, pretentious, and elitist. That's because, beyond the metaphysics it's prescribing, the book is also proposing a need for philosophy to be a broadly human endeavor - approachable by all, rather than the domain of an elite who communicate in their own special jargon-laden language and argue over minutiae irrelevant to everyday living. Like a number of books of recent years, it's proposing that we need a philosophy of life that helps us live better lives, rather than a philosophy of semantics and elaborate logic that helps "professional philosophers" score points in a game of philosophy.

A few things I liked about this book, include: a.) it didn't treat the Western Philosophical tradition as the sum total of philosophy (as many books have.) For example, it explored Akan and Buddhist philosophy alongside the ancient and modern philosophy of the West. b.) it gives special emphasis to Cynicism, a school of philosophy that is usually disregarded as the domain of a few madmen of ancient Greece. There is a chapter imagining Trinidad's Gambo Lai Lai as a Cynic of the modern world. c.) I liked that it used the last chapter as a way to review in a way that was fun and echoed the approach of the Socratic dialogue. It pitted a scholar in favor of the ideas of the book against what might best be thought of as a mainstream academic philosopher (though he was also an opponent of the book.) This allowed the author to review the book's ideas in a way that can only be experienced through a clash of ideas. (And it offered some levity, as well.)

I got a lot out of reading this book. If you can cope with your belief in the importance of factual happenings being challenged, you too will probably enjoy it.

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THIS WAS SO INTERESTING. A groundbreaking exploration that melds original philosophy with imaginative storytelling, advocating for the vital importance of philosophical thought in shaping the trajectory of humanity. Through ethereal encounters with philosophers from diverse temporal and cultural landscapes, Tartaglia crafts a narrative that both entertains and enlightens, challenging readers to reconsider the role of philosophy in our collective consciousness.

At the heart of Tartaglia's work lies a fervent belief in the transformative power of philosophy. By intertwining philosophical discourse with imaginative drama, Tartaglia defies the conventional boundaries of philosophical presentation, inviting readers into a realm where abstraction and creativity converge to provoke deep reflection and introspection.

Central to the Inner Space Philosophy is Tartaglia's critique of the prevailing tendency to model philosophy after science, relegating imagination and narrative to the periphery. He argues that this paradigm shift has stifled philosophical inquiry, constraining the evolution of thought and limiting the diversity of perspectives. Through his imaginative approach, Tartaglia challenges readers to embrace the inherent richness of philosophical discourse, transcending the confines of methodological conformity.

Of particular note is Tartaglia's portrayal of Gambo Lai Lai, the Cynic philosopher from Trinidad, whose life unfolds against the backdrop of the golden age of calypso music. Through Lai Lai's biography, Tartaglia illustrates the symbiotic relationship between philosophy and culture, highlighting the ways in which philosophical inquiry intersects with and shapes broader societal narratives.

Throughout Inner Space Philosophy, Tartaglia's prose sparkles with wit, insight, and imagination, captivating readers with its blend of philosophical profundity and narrative intrigue. His critique of the standard presentational model resonates deeply, challenging readers to reassess their preconceptions and embrace a more expansive vision of philosophical inquiry.

Tartaglia's vision of a future where philosophy reigns supreme serves as a powerful call to arms, inspiring readers to reclaim the imaginative spirit of philosophical inquiry. This is a book that not only entertains and challenges but also provokes deep reflection on the nature of human thought and the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.

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I’m a thought instigator, I like to question and understand all that is life.
I write poetry as a modern day philosophical expression, to address hard topics, to reflect.
The author asks us what do we think philosophy should be? Do you find value in it?
For me the answer is yes, I do and I use it in my life.

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As someone who has studied philosophy, I enjoyed the way it was written and how philosophical concepts were 'translated'.

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This book is written in a way to entice the layman. Me. I’m the layman. It’s not so academical to make your eyes water as you try to make sure you really get the gist of a sentence. And then repeat this thousands of times until you get to the end of the book. It’s delivered through stories. Quite fictional, blended with the not so fictional, and entertaining, accessible stories. You’ll read about the lives and viewpoints of philosophers that have existed through a rather creative means, as well as Tartaglia’s own philosophy… it’ all quite creative and I think this is what makes it accessible for the busy modern mind. You won’t know what bit you in the ass until you’ve read it and go, hang on, I just read Plato and I bloody agree. Wow.

The main issue being explored in this title is that humanity is moving away from the thinking (philosophically thinking) collective to technologically driven, herded, mass of people who then really need not exist at all. If your physical work is done by robots and your thinking is done by AI, then what, pray tell, is the point for humans to exist at all. What is the meaning of life?

When was the last time you pondered about the meaning of your life? And what was the conclusion you came to?

I think everyone, truly, every single one of us at some point in our lives find ourselves thinking, why am I here? What am I doing and where am I going? And what even am I? And we all come to some sort of a conclusion.. and that conclusion can be something as shallow and as simple as to get someone through the next hour, or the day… just to make it through. Or, it can be something that we only ever think of ONCE and it will cement everything we do, everything we think and believe and act by for the rest of our lives. Some through religion, luck, destiny into the mix and let the chips fall where they may… I guess, there is no right or wrong way, depending on where you’re looking at it from.

So, the question is: what is going to happen when humans shun philosophy for the sake of technology. And I think the ironic bit about this question is that although this book is making a case via past, present, future blend of fiction and non fiction examples, to hold on to the inner space of man – the thinking part, the part that makes us the intelligent animal on two legs that we are – it was inner space in the first instance that made technology. As always, man makes and with what man has made, man can destroy.

I feel for the author in a sense, that this title ended up in my hands, because the book is surely slightly wasted on me. But, I have to say thank you for this book and I am glad I read it because I learned something new. And, isn’t this the point of books? To share knowledge, to carry forth thoughts through words, to keep history and culture alive.

I most enjoyed Chapter 5: Gambo Lai Lai the Cynic – it spoke to me the most. The absolute most when I think where I am at in my life, the cultural and political space I am currently experiencing and Gambo Lai Lai chapter simply made my heart beat faster. It put that light in my eyes. We could use a Gambo Lai Lai, his spirit and principles sometimes. In fact, I think I was slightly jealous of the character Gambo paints. One to strive for. To be brave and speak your truth and when necessary, simply say ‘”Fuck off!” and do your time for it. I don’t know what it says about me, feeling most attached to this particular chapter. I think I’ll be reading this whole book again, there’s more to glean… and “repetitio est mater studiorum.”

Were I to rate myself reading and understanding this book, I would give myself a 2 stars out of 5. It got difficult for me when Lady Luck was in dialogue with Destiny and I found it bloody difficult to keep these two separated in my head in order to truly appreciate the point being made. Rather disappointed in myself, I should have put in more effort and time. But again, that’s what re-reads are for! What’s important to me, as the reader of this book, is that it lit a fire in me for philosophy. It lit a spark to think. It inspired me to try harder and think differently. Funnily enough, and I feel like such a monkey for saying this, but I think I know why I didn’t always gel with the book…

I highlighted a LOT of quotes in this book… I’ll finish this short review with a quote or two… Would I recommend this book to anyone? You know what? Yes, I would. I’m intrigued to try out other titles by Tartaglia now. If he’s delivery is as accessible as in Inner Space Philosophy, I think there could be some hope for me yet!

"The fall into awareness of ignorance can be quiet a shock, and it’s daunting when you see that the best path ahead is constant questioning, a life of open-mindedness, no more certainties to put thought at rest."
Inner Space Philosophy – James Tartaglia

I love this next one on such a deep level that if I was to explain the why and all the times I’ve come to contact with this very thought, we’d be here for quite some time… But I hope that everyone can feel this on a personal level, because that means that you’ve made it on a certain level. Through something, or towards something.

"When you can change how you feel with how you think, you’re fully assured that the radical new feeling is simply your soul’s hard-earned self-awareness."
Inner Space Philosophy – James Tartaglia

So, James explores what is the meaning of life, and he asks whether everyday reality is philosophy, and he explores what we believe endurance in life can do for us as humans. Endurance. I loved the ideas around endurance, because this was something new to my brain, this was seeing something from a new angle… I enjoyed it:

"A self-centred conception of reality promotes self-centred lives. From the point of view of morality, individual well-being, and social cohesion, I’m afraid I’d have to say that belief in endurance is nothing less than a total disaster."
Inner Space Philosophy – James Tartaglia

I best stop here with the quotes, or I’ll take away the careful build up to these moments of realization that you could have upon reading. There truly is such a thing as context and reading through these quotes here again, I could write out quite a few for you, but I think they’d be more rewarding for you if you started the book from the beginning… Everything builds upon slowly… You can’t throw a thought out into the world and think it makes sense without a build up, background, detail… as always, the devil is in the detail.

"You get up in the morning and know exactly what you need to do today. The prospect of success beckons, and to raise questions about your purposes would seem like a silly game. When you’re in that situation – busy with unquestioned goals, caught up in the thick of life – then you won’t be craving meaning."
Inner Space Philosophy – James Tartaglia

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