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Page 12, Viewpointe                                                   June 2020

      Book Review

       Local Boca Pointe Author &                                                                          in Guyana, Mr. Bacchus immigrated to the United States
                                                                                                           for his education, notably in New York. Trained as an
       Kierkegaard Issue                                                                                   electrical engineer, he undertook a career as a corporate
                                                                                                           businessman, hobbied as a pilot and flight instructor. He
       Clare Carlisle. Philosopher of the Heart. The Restless Life of                                      credits his understanding of science and the animal kingdom
       Soren Kierkegaard. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.                                            to his youth where in addition to farm chores, he helped
       2019.                                                                                               his father create jewelry for his shop, which inspired his
       Ralph B. Bacchus. Being Human, Out of the Village and Into                                          fascination with chemistry.
       the Jungle, an Authobiographical Themed Study of a Man                                                 Book 1 is an autobiography which traces his life from
       on a Quest to Find Himself and the Meaning of Life. Book                                            a small village in Guyana to the Big Apple. He credits his
       1. Amazon: Kindle, 2019.                                                                            mother’s love but principally his father’s influence as a
       Ralph B. Bacchus. Being Human Being, the Philosophy of                                              farmer, goldsmith, and harsh mentor who encouraged his
       Existence. Book 2. Self Published: San Bernardino, CA,                                              work ethic, ambition, and faith.
       2020.                                                                                                  Book 2, the subject of this review, is an exploration
       “The first and foremost purpose of wisdom is fear of the                                            of the current state of the human condition in the light of
       Lord.” Proverbs                                   all of us are human, with emotions, frailties, and personal   the extraordinary reach of modern science which, in Mr.
                                                         history; and she might very well have entitled her work after   Bacchus’s telling, has advanced eons since Kierkegaard, in
       By Dr. Ronald J. Meyers                           Robert Frost’s familiar conceit, the road not taken.   physics, chemistry, anthropology, biology, psychology. He
                                                            While Kierkegaard in his mid-twenties was earning   credits his intellectual curiosity inspired by the teachings
          Clare Carlisle’ s                              his advanced degree, as Magister, at the University of   and presentation of difficult concepts in plain knowledge
       biographical study of                             Copenhagen, he went through several emotional crises.   by the teleducator Professor Carl Sagan. Mr. Bacchus is
       notable nineteenth century                        After losing both parents, he undertook a courtship with   comfortable explaining the Big Bang, the Higgs Boson,
       Danish philosopher Soren                          Copenhagen native Regine Olsen. During their one year   artificial intelligence and noting, for readers today; how
       Kierkegaard (1813-1855)                           engagement, he wrote his doctoral dissertation “On the   bacteria much larger than viruses, while ubiquitous,
       seeks to uncover the man                          Concept of Irony,” but then ironically and impetuously broke   are held in check by medicinal anti-biotics to counter
       behind the philosopher                            it off, and entrained off to Berlin to focus on his writing   their harmful effects, while viruses have typically been
       whose avowed purpose                              career. The thrust of Professor Carlisle’s study is that this   contained by our anti-immune system to blunt their
       in life was understanding                         rupture influenced both his fictional and creative work.   resolve to survive and propagate on spittle and continual
       being and becoming human.                         What followed were major philosophical works like Either/  mutations. The great machine of evolution has enabled
       Kierkegaard, the youngest and seventh child from a wealthy   Or, Fear and Trembling, Sickness Unto Death, ostensibly   survival through blind determination and adaptation.
       merchant family, freed from the exigency of a job and   objective works of philosophy, but Professor Carlisle avers,   Furthermore, the holy grail of evolution was the invention
       earning a living, devoted his life to walking the streets of   were rooted in his own ambivalence and melancholy. Father   or creation of human consciousness, the most distinct
       wherever he was, thinking, and writing, producing a library   Abraham, the famous Knight of Faith, might have inferred   achievement of evolution and human nature.
       of sermons, journals, fiction and major philosophical works.   his own choice to follow the path of God in willing sacrifice      Another aspect of Mr. Bacchus’ work is a harsh attack
       His first interest was Christian theology--during his entire   rather than acting on mortal choice. In his fiction, a work   on human misbehavior and arrogance. He began his inquiry
       life, he was a devout Christian and assiduous churchgoer;   entitled “Seducer’s Diary” and another entitled “Repetition,”   as his response to the intolerance of the terrorists who
       yet  his  writing  provided  the  teaching  of  skepticism   he reflects on his trauma of his separation from Regine.   planned the attack on the World Trade Center. But he also
       embraced by later secular philosophers like Jean-Paul      Professor Carlisle, who has had access to the Soren   has expressed strong indignity against the tendencies of
       Sartre. His rendition of Jewish heroes like Abraham and   Kierkegaard Research Center  at  the  University  of   colonialism under the auspices of the Caucasian strand of
       David similarly has brought adoration and recognition by   Copenhagen, reveals that his relationship continued even   the human species. One needs to point out that the principal
       notable Jewish philosophers.                      after the break-up. Indeed Regine married another, but they   weakness of these self published books is want of editing,
          Kierkegaard, who sought to follow the example of   both attended the same Church of Our Lady, and further   and therefore wordiness and repetition. Notwithstanding,
       Socrates of know thyself and strive for a virtuous life,   encountered each other on their frequent peripatetic walks   it served as a useful review for me. He does follow a
       lived in the golden age of modern philosophy in middle   on the streets of Copenhagen. All wordlessly. At the last   tradition of American individualists like Herman Melville,
       Europe, along with icons like Kant and Hegel. These were   meeting, Carlisle suggests, Regine broke the fourteen year   Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and perhaps principally
       formulating a secular bent which has defined contemporary   silence with a whisper, “God bless you.” Soren indeed once   Henry David Thoreau whose intellectual curiosity fed their
       philosophy with its understanding of existentialism,   wrote her a letter that he addressed to her husband, who   authorial creativity. Finally, Mr. Bacchus, like Kierkegaard,
       freedom, and kindred absurdity. This new study reminds   returned it--unopened. Nevertheless, his last will would   credits his father for his pietistic faith.
       us of the role of the great Dane in modern philosophy.   name Madame Regine Schelling as his sole beneficiary.
          Professor Carlisle, who teaches at the University of      Boca Pointe resident Ralph B. Bacchus, not trained      Dr. Ronald J. Meyers, resident of La Paz, Emeritus
       London, has devoted her life to the study of Kierkegaard   professionally as a philosopher, has chosen, in retirement, to   Professor of English, is pleased to offer acknowledgement
       going back to her doctoral dissertation and later works that   undertake a long term study of that very topic that engaged   and recognition to the work of current residents of our
       focused on his philosophical writings. Here she narrows her   Kierkegaard, what it means to be human. Raised on a farm   community. 
       search to uncover the heart of the man who, in her view,
       “blended philosophy with autobiography.” Philosophers like

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