The Feminine Mystique PDF Summary

The Feminine Mystique PDF SummaryYou scoff at the person claiming that you have been destined to be a housewife as you are booking your next flight to an all-girls holiday in the Bahamas?

Well, in case you didn’t know, you have Betty Friedan to thank.

And her 1963 seminal book, “The Feminine Mystique”!

Who Should Read “The Feminine Mystique”? And Why?

Inspired by her 1957 survey of former college friends, Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” is one of the books – if not the book – which created the feminist movement.

It is based on the simple premise that many women are unhappy with their roles as mothers and housewives.

And that, if there are such things as human free will and human choice, they should be able to live their lives differently.

Feeling somewhat similar?

Then “The Feminine Mystique” is where you should start searching for solutions.

Don’t look away, men – you should read this book even sooner than women.

It talks about your unhappy wives.

About Betty Friedan

Betty FriedanBetty Friedan was an American feminist writer and life-long activist, a leading figure in the women’s movement in the United States during the second half of the 20th century.

She was propelled to this role in 1963 when her book “The Feminine Mystique” first identified “The Problem That Has No Name” for so many women in the world. Three years later, she became the first president of NOW, the National Organization for Women.

In 1970, she organized a nationwide Women’s Strike for Equality, the largest of its kind up to that moment.

She remained politically active until her death, authoring six books and participating in many debates on controversial women’s rights topics.

“The Feminine Mystique PDF Summary”

In 1957, at their 15th-anniversary reunion, Friedan conducted a survey of her former Smith College classmates.

Back when they studied together, most of them were smart, ambitious, capable, dreamy-eyed. But, in 1957, almost all of them were unhappy, unfulfilled, empty.

Simply put, they struggled with the fact that what they were expected to be was nothing more than housewives and mothers.

And since nobody taught them before that they may be some other way, each suburban wife struggled with this “problem that has no name” alone:

As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts, and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night – she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question – ‘Is this all?

And Friedan goes on to answer that – no, it isn’t.

Or, at least, it shouldn’t be.

In Chapter 1, “The Problem That Has No Name,” she turns her attention to the fact that women are getting less and less happy with every passing year.

In her opinion, the reason behind this is simple: they marry earlier, and they have more children.

And they have no idea what to do after.

“We can no longer ignore that voice within women that says: ‘I want something more than my husband and my children and my home.'”

Now that is the actual name of the problem.

Chapter 2, “The Happy Housewife Heroine,” shows how even in the 1960s we weren’t that far off from Mary Wollstonecraft’s 18th century.

Sure, education was better and more democratic, but women’s magazines – almost exclusively owned and edited by men – still portrayed women either as happy housewives or unhappy careerwomen.

Pretty unbiased, won’t you say?

If you have problems guessing the choice most women made in the 1960s, Betty Friedan explains how most women would think by describing her personal journey in Chapter 3, “The Crisis in Woman’s Identity.”

She didn’t have time to think about education and work.

As her biological clock started ticking like this, and she watched her friends getting married and giving birth to their children, she started believing that if she doesn’t do the same as soon as possible, she would never fulfill her anatomical destiny.

And that she would be a failure.

Chapter 4, “The Passionate Journey,” is a magnifying glass: Friedan moves from her personal to the journey of the whole feminist movement, from suffrage to the 1950s.

In Chapter 5, “The Sexual Solipsism of Sigmund Freud,” Friedan picks up a fight with none other but the father of psychology.

How could she not?

This is what Freud had written once:

I believe that all reforming action in law and education would break down in front of the fact that, long before the age at which a man can earn a position in society, Nature has determined woman’s destiny through beauty, charm, and sweetness. Law and custom have much to give women that has been withheld from them, but the position of women will surely be what it is: in youth an adored darling and in mature years a loved wife.

Highlights: women’s destiny has been biologically determined, and they can be either adored darlings or loved wives.

Nice going, Freud!

Friedan’s point:

None of it is proven. Especially not the concept of “penis envy” (and women’s neurosis which stems from it) which people (read: men) in her days threw around as if it as certain as gravity.

Time has had Friedan’s back: most of Freud’s theories have been proven to be just a bunch of baloney!

Chapter 6, complexly titled “The Functional Freeze, the Feminine Protest, and Margaret Meade,” challenges the idea of structural functionalists who believed that society functions because all participants have functional roles within it.

You get zero points for guessing whose functional shoes women were supposed to fill in!

Chapter 7, “The Sex-Directed Educators,” extends the discussion on functionalism and its effect on education which was designed to create a specific role for women: that of a housekeeper.

Congratulations, Mary Wollstonecraft: you were two centuries ahead of your time!

Chapter 8, “The Mistaken Choice,” examines how World War II and the Cold War have resulted in a world as prehistoric as prehistory itself! Even though women had to – and did – take men’s jobs during the war, they were still looked at as housewives, since only men were capable of fighting.

And ads made sure that women’s place is their homes and kitchens.

Speaking of which –

That’s exactly what Chapter 9, “The Sexual Self,” goes on about. The advertising industry, in the eyes of Friedan, has invented a career out of housekeeping and created a multi-billion industry in order to sell women millions of unnecessary products!

Chapter 10, “Housewifery Expands to Fill the Time Available,” is based on few interviews with housewives.

Its findings?

Devastating!

Women are not only unfulfilled housewives but also housewives who purposefully invent housekeeping tasks even when they are none, so as not to feel left behind.

Because – what else are they going to do?

In the controversial Chapter 11, “The Sex-Seekers,” Friedan gives a provocative answer: sex. Because, basically, it is the only fun thing they can do besides caring for their children and their husbands.

However, sex is also unfulfilling, and it often leads to infidelity and marriage problems.

Chapter 12, “Progressive Dehumanization: The Comfortable Concentration Camp,” examines the most troubling effect of this type of unfulfillment: emotionally immature children.

Namely, unfulfilled mothers try to live their lives through their children, causing them to lose the sense of individuality and grow up into underdeveloped adults.

Chapter 13, “The Forfeited Self,” sets this proto-sex-vs-gender discussion against Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, concluding that, unlike men, who have the opportunity to reach self-actualization, women are purposefully trapped at the lowest and basest physiological stage of their existence.

Finally, Chapter 14, “A New Life Plan for Women,” presents several case studies of women who managed to outgrow their feminine mystiques and become successful self-actualized careerwoman much instead of being enslaved as merely mothers and housewives.

Key Lessons from “The Feminine Mystique”

1.      The Feminine Mystique: The Problem That Has No Name
2.      Happy Housewives and Unhappy Careerwomen
3.      Beyond Physiology: The Self-Actualized Woman

The Feminine Mystique: The Problem That Has No Name

Betty Friedan – just like millions of American women in her days – suffered from a serious case of “knowing-not-what-life-is-all-about.”

She was taught that her objective is to get married, have children, and raise them into perfect adults.

Now that she was in the position to do that, she realized that it’s not as fulfilling as people told her it’d be.

And while doing a survey of her former classmates, she had a revelation: it never was.

Women were lied to for centuries so that they can become what men wanted them to become. And they were manipulated for so long that now even they don’t know that life can be more than being a mother and a housewife.

“We can no longer,” writes Friedan, “ignore that voice within women that says: ‘I want something more than my husband and my children and my home.'”

And, indeed, we can’t.

Happy Housewives and Unhappy Careerwomen

During the 1950s, most editorial boards of famous magazines were men-only. And almost all of them depicted women either as happy housewives or unhappy careerwomen.

Psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and even controversial anthropologists such as Margaret Meade went no step further, infantilizing women and defining them mostly relationally.

It’s all just a big lie, said Friedan.

No science backs any of these claims.

Moreover, women’s unhappiness should be enough in itself to refute them.

Beyond Physiology: The Self-Actualized Woman

Betty Friedan applies Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to both sexes and comes to upsetting results.

Namely, while men are allowed to reach self-actualization, women’s role in society is defined solely on a physiological level.

In other words – if they can give birth and lactate, they should be mothers and nothing more.

But, as Hume has shown us, there’s a big difference between what is and what ought to be.

And Betty Friedan says: women ought to be happy self-actualized humans.

Do you have anything against it?

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“The Feminine Mystique Quotes”

The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own. Click To Tweet The choice to have a child makes the whole experience of motherhood different, and the choice to be generative in other ways can at last be made, and is being made by many women now, without guilt. Click To Tweet It is perhaps beside the point to remark that bowling alleys and supermarkets have nursery facilities, while schools and colleges and scientific laboratories and government offices do not. Click To Tweet The feminists had destroyed the old image of woman, but they could not erase the hostility, the prejudice, the discrimination that still remained. Click To Tweet Who knows what women can be when they are finally free to become themselves? Who knows what women's intelligence will contribute when it can be nourished without denying love? Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Feminine Mystique,” almost singlehandedly, sparked second-wave feminism in the United States, inspiring many women to fight more dedicatedly for their rights, and many lawmakers to finally listen.

Consequently, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that we decided to include this book among our “Top 15 Nonfiction Books in History.”

That says a lot how we feel about it.

To quote Arianna Huffington: “If you’ve never read it, read it now.”

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A Vindication of the Rights of Woman PDF Summary

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman PDF SummaryWith Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects

Another feminist classic.

Hey, did we say another?

We actually meant to say the original feminist classic, Mary Wollstonecraft’s 1792 magnum opusA Vindication of the Rights of Woman.”

As in: if this book didn’t exist, neither Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” nor Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex” and certainly not Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” would have.

It’s that important.

Who Should Read “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman”? And Why?

There are some books which we now read chiefly for their historical value, and others simply because we want to see how much effect they have exerted on some more important works which followed them.

Strictly speaking, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” falls into both of these categories. It’s one of those books which we read to see how those transhistorical streams of original thought have originated at some point in the past.

In fact, many of Wollstonecraft’s proposed reforms are now obsolete or outdated, and others may even sound chauvinist and sexist to us.

But, ironically, that’s exactly because this book was written at some point in the past. If it hadn’t been, nobody would have been able to think in this manner.

In other words, Wollstonecraft’s book is already a part of your way of thinking.

Read it to find out how it has gradually changed to world.

Read it especially if you are a woman to find out about the struggles and the first mini-victory of your sex.

Because there’s a long way to go still.

About Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary WollstonecraftMary Wollstonecraft was an English philosopher and a proto-feminist, who consciously tried to become “the first of a new genus.”

Even though she lived just a few days after the birth of her second daughter and merely few months past her 38 birthday, she managed to leave behind her a history of the French revolution, a travel book from the Scandinavian countries, few treatises, novels, a children’s book, and one of the most influential works in the history of feminism, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.”

As evidenced in her posthumously published “Memoir,” she lived an unconventional life, which included few passionate love affairs, illegitimate children, and suicide attempts.

Wollstonecraft had two children, Fanny Imlay (born out of wedlock with American diplomat Gilbert Imlay) and Mary Wollstonecraft, whom she parented with her husband William Godwin, one of the precursors of the anarchistic movement.

The latter would go on to marry Percy Shelley and is remembered in history as Mary Shelley, the author of “Frankenstein.”

“A Vindication of the Rights of Woman PDF Summary”

In 1791, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, the 1st Prince of Talleyrand – so, a guy with a name which sounds as pretentious as he was – gave a report to the French National Assembly, stating that women should receive only domestic education.

Preposterous!

Yes – but also, for the time, nothing out of the extraordinary.

In fact, just stating the obvious.

The obvious to everybody but to Mary Wollstonecraft, a 32-year-old Englishwoman who her contemporaries knew by the oh so endearing monikers – “hyena in petticoats” and “philosophizing serpent.”

But, to be fair to her detractors, she earned those.

By being smarter than everybody.

Because as everybody was listening to Talleyrand-Périgord admiringly, nodding in approval, Mary Wollstonecraft was sharpening her quill and had already started refuting him in her head.

Him, Rousseau, the whole of Western civilization up to that moment – you choose!

Anyway, she starts with an axiomatic claim: humanity’s greatest gift is reason.

Of course, it is – because otherwise we wouldn’t have been called homo sapiens, right?

But, as far she is able to make out – she goes on – the ability to reason isn’t strictly a man’s area. On the contrary, in fact: if she is able to reason the way she is while writing her book, then, quite naturally, all women should be.

So, why are there so many great men, and so few great women?

Education.

As simple as that.

Only men are educated and cultivate their ability to think; and women are purposefully left behind.

It’s basically like expecting circus tricks from an untrained dog – train it well, and you would be surprised what it can do!

In fact, it may be even worse than this: it’s like expecting from a dog trained from birth to wash the dishes to be able to talk.

OK – the analogy isn’t a great one, but you catch our drift!

Wollstonecraft says that women’s education is fundamentally flawed, since it teaches women to be quiet, dress nicely, don’t read and never study.

But how would you expect from a woman to raise good children if she is not educated herself?

And – and this is Wollstonecraft at her very best – how would you expect from a woman to be faithful and moral if she isn’t taught how to reason well?

Basically, if virtue and moral are to be learned – and men’s education is based on the premise that they are learnable – it’s men’s fault that women are sometimes adulterous.

They are the ones who teach them to dress nicely – and, thus, seduce other men – and to stay quiet – and, thus, don’t repel other men’s advances!

You teach women to be superficial?

Well, one reaps what one sows!

But, what about God, Mary, and the story of Adam and Eve?

She has an answer for that too:

Let it not be concluded that I wish to invert the order of things; I have already granted, that, from the constitution of their bodies, men seem to be designed by Providence to attain a greater degree of virtue. I speak collectively of the whole sex; but I see not the shadow of a reason to conclude that their virtues should differ in respect to their nature. In fact, how can they, if virtue has only one eternal standard? I must therefore, if I reason consequentially, as strenuously maintain that they have the same simple direction, as that there is a God.

In other words: men are destined to be better than women; but they are not destined to better in different virtues since there is one, not two Gods!

So, what is to be done?

Public education, obviously.

Cheap and all-inclusive, so that boys and girls from different families and classes study in the same classroom.

Hey – that’s a lot like our schools today!

Well, that’s exactly right!

Key Lessons from “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman”

1.      Men Are Physically Stronger Than Women, Not Mentally
2.      Women Are Unfaithful Because of Their Education
3.      Open Your Schools for Everybody

Men Are Physically Stronger Than Women, Not Mentally

Men and women are biologically different – and Wollstonecraft isn’t one to argue against this.

However, in what sense different is an altogether… well, different problem!

In the eyes of Mary Shelley, both men and women are subspecies of the same genus: homo sapiens.

(OK, you caught us – she doesn’t say it in these exact words, but that’s what she means!)

Which means that they should both cultivate their reason.

Men are obviously stronger – Mary would give you that.

But, that was an advantage that made sense in the age of mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. Even in the 18th century, being physically stronger was a remnant of past times.

Nowadays – even more!

Women Are Unfaithful Because of Their Education

Mary Wollstonecraft has an interesting theory of unfaithfulness – and, though superficial and easily refuted, it’s probably one of her best arguments, since it strikes where it hurts the most.

Namely, she claims that the lack of appropriate education is actually what makes women unfaithful.

If women are taught only to be attractive and quiet, they will inevitably attract the attention of other men and say nothing when they are seduced by them.

Finally, if their education is not the same as men’s – it’s only obvious that they will be unable to reason as well and be as virtuous as the other sex.

Open Your Schools for Everybody

The solution?

Indiscriminate public schools.

Made for both the boys and the girls, the wealthy and the poor.

Back in 1792, it was a revolutionary idea; nowadays – it’s Thursday.

Wollstonecraft was one of the great (wo)men in history which made the latter happen.

Thanks, Mary!

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“A Vindication of the Rights of Woman Quotes”

I do not wish them women to have power over men; but over themselves. Click To Tweet My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone. Click To Tweet If we revert to history, we shall find that the women who have distinguished themselves have neither been the most beautiful nor the most gentle of their sex. Click To Tweet Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison. Click To Tweet It is vain to expect virtue from women till they are in some degree independent of men. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Contrary to popular opinion – and even counter-intuitively in the world seminal works – “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” was a success even at the time of publishing, with one reviewer calling it “perhaps the most original book of [her] century.”

And in a sense – it is.

Even though the archaic language and the baroque syntax make it a difficult read, it’s also an essential one.

In our opinion, every young woman should set aside few hours of her life to read this book in its entirety.

Because the very fact that she is able to read it is part of its lasting legacy.

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Discipline and Punish PDF Summary

Discipline and Punish PDF SummaryThe Birth of the Prison

Have you ever wondered why public tortures and executions evolved into prisons and penitentiaries?

Steven Pinker would say because of the better angels of our nature.

Michel Foucault, in “Discipline and Punish” claims that, unfortunately, it’s because of the worse – If not the devils.

Who Should Read “Discipline and Punish”? And Why?

“Discipline and Punish” is an extremely work of philosophy and sociology and anyone who’s interested in either should spend some time reading it.

Also, it will certainly be of interest to people who are hooked on books such as “48 Laws of Power,” since Michel Foucault is the original and most influential theoretician of power and its relationship to knowledge and social control.

And “Discipline and Punish” is his most famous book on the subject.

About Michel Foucault

Michel FoucaultMichel Foucault was a French philosopher, historian of ideas and social theorist, extremely influential in areas as diverse as communication and cultural studies, feminism and literary theory.

Born in an upper-class family in France, Foucault earned degrees in philosophy and psychology at the Sorbonne (University of Paris).

After spending some time working as a foreign diplomat, in 1961, Foucault published “The History of Madness,” a massive volume which gained him instant recognition and respect.

He followed that up with few other structuralist books before being admitted to the Collège of France, a position he will retain until his death. In 1975, he published “Discipline and Punish” and just a year later “The History of Sexuality,” a four-volume work where he argued that sexuality is a social construct.

Ironically, a lifelong homosexual, Foucault died from HIV/AIDS complications in 1984, becoming the first public figure in France to die from the disease.

“Discipline and Punish Summary”

In case you didn’t know, “Discipline and Punish” is not merely something you can hear during a BDSM session, but also something people cite with reverence during many a-serious sociological and/or academic debate.

And the subtitle makes it clear what the book is about: the birth of the prison.

But, until we get there, we need to look at its pre-history.

Foucault, being a structuralist, isn’t that much interested in chronology as he is in structure.

Fortunately, his structure somewhat mirrors the chronology in this case: “Discipline and Punish” is divided into four interestingly titled parts: Torture, Punishment, Discipline, and Prison.

Torture

Have you ever heard of a guy called Robert-François Damiens?

If not, he was a domestic servant who tried to kill King Louis XIV back in 1757, unsurprisingly, the year he died.

This is how his judgment looked like:

discipline and punish pdf

Now, we would like to show you how his execution looked like as well, but we’re a reputable blog and, honestly, knowing what happened to him turns us away from even trying to find an appropriate image.

It suffices to say for now that Giacomo Casanova – the Casanova – was present at the execution and that he writes about it in his memoirs thus:

We had the courage to watch the dreadful sight for four hours … Damiens was a fanatic, who, with the idea of doing a good work and obtaining a heavenly reward, had tried to assassinate Louis XV; and though the attempt was a failure, and he only gave the king a slight wound, he was torn to pieces as if his crime had been consummated… I was several times obliged to turn away my face and to stop my ears as I heard his piercing shrieks, half of his body having been torn from him…

Oh, we forgot to mention:

Tearing his limbs to pieces was only the penultimate part of his punishment.

The rest of it included boots, hot wax, sulfur, molten lead, boiling oil and red-hot pincers before the dismemberment.

And, yes, burning at stake afterward.

Foucault’s question: how did we get from there to a prison?

Have we become more humane?

In the “Torture” section he sets the scene for the resounding “no” of the last part.

Because, you see, Foucault says, torture and prison are just different means by which those in power legitimate their power.

And prisons are just a more effective way to do this.

What was so wrong about tortures?

Well, let’s just say that Casanova wasn’t the only one who had to turn his eyes away from the scene.

Just a few years later, Cesare Beccaria condemned torture and death penalty in his seminal book on the subject “On Crimes and Punishments” by explicitly pointing out to the inhumanity of this punishment.

And about the same time, Thomas Paine, in “Rights of Man” cited Damiens’ death as the uttermost example of the extent of the cruelty of despotic governments.

And governments used public torture and executions for the exact opposite: to recover their power. To show everybody that a certain criminal was, in fact, a criminal and that he atones for his sins.

After the torture, in the eyes of many, Damiens, like King Lear, was more sinned against than sinning. And suddenly, instead of a failed assassin, he was on the brink of becoming a martyr.

As we have so tearfully learned from “Braveheart,” this is not a good thing for a government.

But, before we go on, we somehow feel that the scene deserves an inclusion:

Ah, this room can be a bit dusty from time to time…

Punishment

discipline and punish summaryBefore prisons came, however, there was also a period of, as Foucault says, “gentle punishments.”

Or, in other words, punishments which transformed the public theater of execution into a mini-theater of signs and symbols.

We’re talking about that great little portrait on the left.

Yup, that’s a chain gang.

About a century later than the time Foucault is talking about, but – hey – the U.S. had slaves up until fifty years ago!

So, what’s behind the mini-theater of a convict lease?

Well, nothing more but disciplined torture.

In other words, a murdered criminal doesn’t worth as much as a criminal who pays for his crime by performing some manual labor for the good of society.

This worked – but with the advent of capitalism, the classes in power realized that there’s a better way to control the downtrodden.

Discipline

Before we go on, please, spend a minute or two thinking about this image:

discipline and punish foucault

That’s the plan of the Panopticon, devised by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham to allow a single watchman to observe all the inmates of an institution.

Or, as Bentham so lovingly put it, that’s “a mill for grinding rogues honest.”

It’s also one of the ways you are being controlled day in day out by those who want you to believe that you have a free will.

You know: the class struggle Marx was talking about in the world of power relations.

Can’t make the connection?

Keep on reading.

You see, even back in Ancient Greece, Plato was interested to find out how a state can control an invisible man.

His conclusion?

Tell everybody few “white lies” which will control them when they are not being watched.

Well, the technology of the 19th century made it possible for those in power to make one step more: to control (and nowadays, even watch) everybody all the time.

Just think about it!

By going to school or work everyday for at least eight hours; by having no more than few free days during a year; by staring at the TV (Netflix) or the computer screen (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) for at least five hours a day – you are in fact being trained by those in power to be their perfect subject.

Or, in Foucauldian terms, “a docile body.”

There’s no need for public executions anymore for a government to subjugate you. They will have the counter-effect.

What governments need is for you to believe that you are free.

Even though, through a series of institutions and mini-punishments (low grade, lower rating, bad review), they have successfully made you internalize the discipline they want you to be suppressed by.

A docile body is a body which scrolls through other people’s Facebook profiles even though it doesn’t have $5,000 to pay for its medical check-up.

Docile bodies don’t rebel.

Prison

Finally, the conclusion:

Prisons.

And it’s almost anti-climactic.

Because, as you have probably realized by now, prisons are nothing more but just a small part of the “carceral system” which is our society.

It is the system in which everyone is imprisoned.

In fact, our entire society is an extensive network of prisons.

We just call them by different names.

Factories, schools, military, hospitals, etc.

Key Lessons from “Discipline and Punish”

1.      Public Executions May Result in Revolutions
2.      Disciplinary Measures Produce Docile Bodies
3.      You Are Living Your Whole Life in a Prison

Public Executions May Result in Revolutions

Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish” attempts to answer a simple question: why have we abandoned public tortures and opted to use prisons instead to punish delinquents?

In answering the first part of the question, Foucault analyzes the history of the public execution.

And shows that the problem with them is rather straightforward: they may incite the masses to rebel against the inhumane punishment exerted upon an individual.

And all governments use punishments for the exact opposite: to recover their power, which has been challenged by some crime.

Disciplinary Measures Produce Docile Bodies

At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, the large-scale theater of public executions made way for the mini-theater of the chain gang.

And after some time, technology made it possible for those in power to control us in an even easier way.

Namely, through discipline.

They found out that discipline – whether at schools or factories – results in the internalization of the beliefs of the ruling class within the bodies of the subjected class.

Thus, creating docile bodies.

Which, for example, don’t even wonder why they have to be working 8 hours a day?

You Are Living Your Whole Life in a Prison

Consequently, prisons are just a small part of an extensive “carceral system” which the ruling elite has devised to control our behavior 24/7 and our life from the cradle to the grave.

Working 8 hours a day and not wondering why is basically on par with being publicly executed, if not even worse.

In the second case, it’s your body which suffers.

In the former – it’s your soul.

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“Discipline and Punish PDF Quotes”

The 'Enlightenment,' which discovered the liberties, also invented the disciplines. Click To Tweet There is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations. Click To Tweet Discipline 'makes' individuals; it is the specific technique of a power that regards individuals both as objects and as instruments of its exercise. Click To Tweet it is the certainty of being punished and not the horrifying spectacle of public punishment that must discourage crime. Click To Tweet In the darkest region of the political field the condemned man represents the symmetrical, inverted figure of the king. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In the lecture series “Security, Territory, Population” – given a few years after “Discipline and Punishment” was published – Michel Foucault retracted a bit from some of the views laid bare in this book.

Interestingly enough, “Discipline and Punish” has remained unscathed and is still considered a key text in the history of ideas, breathing ­– as Peter Gay wrote – “fresh air into the history of penology and severely [damaging], without wholly discrediting, traditional Whig optimism about the humanization of penitentiaries as one long success story.”

Unsurprisingly, we highly recommend that you read it.

Though, prepare for a difficult read – Foucault’s ideas aren’t simple, and his style makes them even more complicated and tricky to grasp.

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Das Kapital PDF Summary

Das Kapital PDF SummaryCritique of Political Economy

They don’t even bother translating the title to make it sound scarier, ha?

Das Kapital” – you have to agree – sounds way more frightening than “Capital,” and “Karl Marx” is a more intimidating author than “Marx and Engels” (the latter sounds as if a corporation, doesn’t it?)

The question is: why should one be afraid of a book?

And, much more importantly, who?

Who Should Read “Das Kapital”? And Why?

Ever since its publication, “Das Kapital” has enjoyed an utterly paradoxical reputation.

On the one hand, there are millions of people who swear by it and consider it more important than “The Bible.” To this group of people, almost every word Marx wrote here is sacred, and his analysis of capitalism isn’t a philosophical, but a scientific one.

In other words, “Das Kapital” states something which is as true as Newton’s laws on gravity, and unless you want to fall down your window experimenting, it’s a good idea that you become familiar with them the easier way.

In this case, Marx’s predictions will inevitably come true, so reading “Das Kapital” is like reading Nostradamus’ “The Prophecies.”

On the other hand, there are probably just as many detractors, who (though usually haven’t read “Das Kapital” or anything Marx ever wrote) point to the fall of communism as real-life evidence that Marx’s philosophy doesn’t work and is inherently flawed.

To this group of people, Marx’s “Das Kapital” had a chance to change the world; and it did – only for the worse.

The much worse.

In this case, Marx’s predictions haven’t come true and never will, so reading him is like reading myths about the flat earth: they have no relation to reality whatsoever.

Belong to whichever group you like, but don’t skip this book if you are an economist or a political theorist.

Simply put, you are not an economist or a political theorist if you haven’t read this book.

It’s that essential.

About Karl Marx

Karl MarxKarl Marx was a German polymath: philosopher, historian, economist, sociologist, political theorist, revolutionary socialist, and journalist.

He was born in Trier exactly 200 years ago but had to leave Germany due to his political publications, so he settled in London.

It was there that he developed – in close collaboration with his lifelong friend Friedrich Engels – his socio-economic political philosophy, which left lasting impressions not only on the thinkers coming after him but on the world and mankind in general.

Together with Engels, in the revolutionary 1848, he published “The Communist Manifesto,” a brief pamphlet which is widely considered one of the most influential nonfiction works ever written.

The same holds true about the gargantuan – and much less comprehensible – “Das Kapital.”

“Das Kapital Summary”

“Das Kapital” – or “Capital: Critique of Political Economy” – is a foundational text in both politics and economics, the most elaborate critique of the classical political economic theories first developed by Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations” and furthered by Say, Ricardo, Mill, etc.

Marx didn’t live to see his book published: during his life, he managed to finish only the first volume of “Das Kapital.”

The second and the third volumes were edited from his notes and published by his friend Friedrich Engels, resulting in a book which exceeds 1,000 pages and is as unreadable as the later Joyce.

Consequently, it’s both boring to read and difficult to summarize it.

So, if you want to learn more about “Das Kapital” even though you have an aversion to reading books filled with equations and tedious words, we highly recommend that you spent some time listening to David Harvey’s series of lectures on YouTube.

It’s long, but it’s intelligible and rather enjoyable.

And you’ll learn a lot.

However, if you want to get an idea of what Marx was babbling about on 1,000 pages and you don’t have time or interest to listen to academic lectures, this “School of Life” video may just do the trick for you:

Anyway, as you probably know by now, “Das Kapital” is an elaborate analysis of how capitalism works.

It’s not that there weren’t any of this sort before, but Marx’s was an original one, in that it was the first one to systematically examine how and why capitalism works through the lens of the sides involved – and not only through an abstract, theoretical prism.

So, what did Marx find out and why did the findings made him the arch-nemesis of the society we’re currently living?

Well, first of all, it’s important that you know what a commodity is, because, for Marx, that’s the smallest unit of capitalism.

It’s only a product or a service, but it’s everything that a human can at any point desire; practically, all the things which can be bought and sold.

Now, commodities in capitalism aren’t created to be equal – just like people – even when they are.

And to understand why this happens, you have to understand how the relation between use-value and exchange value functions.

Use-value is the inherent value of an object – it’s what makes an object useful. Exchange-value, on the other hand, is the value a commodity gets when compared to other commodities on the market, i.e., the price which people are willing to pay to buy it.

Naturally, the former is much more objective than the latter.

In practical terms:

A car produced by Rolls-Royce is much more expensive than a car produced, say, by Fiat, not because the first does more functions than the latter, but because the market has artificially created an exchange value which is not related to the use-value, but to things such as prestige and social status.

The very fact that things such as “luxury vehicle” exist is beyond Marx – for two reasons:

First of all, “what is a luxury car to some… may be ‘ordinary’ to others.”

And secondly, the very existence of luxury cars results in hunger for thousands of people, since it disrupts the relationship between the exchange-value and the use-value, from which only the wealthy profit.

Capitalists – or, the bourgeoisie, in Marx’s terms – exploit the exchange value.

In other words, whenever a capitalist sells a commodity, he sells it with the intention of maximizing the exchange value, which, of course, results in him maximizing his profit.

And he is the only one who gets anything out of this deal because his workers are still only paid for their use value.

And this is, basically, what surplus value means: by working to create a product, workers add an exchange value to the use value of an object. However, workers get paid only for their use value, and capitalists get paid for both the use and the exchange value of the commodity.

If you are a capitalist, it’s easy from here on: the more you lower the use value of a worker and the more you raise the exchange value of a commodity, the more money you earn.

And back in Marx’s days, this is exactly what happened on a daily basis.

Children – as young as eight years – worked for 14 hours a day. And many others worked for even more than that!

So, why didn’t they rebel?

For the very simple reason that they have no way how to do that.

Capitalists own the means of production and have all the power, while workers have none of it and have to willingly accept that their bosses dictate their day for them.

Otherwise, they won’t have any job whatsoever.

And this will go on, says Marx, until the day workers realize that they are much more powerful than it seems at first sight.

And then…

Key Lessons from “Das Kapital”

1.      Capitalism Exploits Workers
2.      Capitalism Creates Cattle: The Alienated Worker
3.      Capitalism Is All About Accumulated Capital

Capitalism Exploits Workers

To many – we’re looking at you, Francis Fukuyama – capitalism is the be-all and end-all of political and economic theory.

It may not be the perfect system, but it’s the most perfect humanity will ever be able to create.

To Marx, this is utter nonsense.

Capitalism is far from good, let alone the most perfect system humanity can devise. On the contrary, it’s one of the worst.

Because, inherently, it cannot not exploit workers.

In other words, if capitalists don’t pay their workers less than they earn, the system will collapse.

And, unfortunately, they do the exact opposite – trying to maximize their profit by paying their workers as little as possible.

Capitalism Creates Cattle: The Alienated Worker

Even if you like capitalism, you’ll have to agree with Marx on this: capitalism alienates workers.

In other words, it doesn’t treat people as objects, but as a means to an end. And, according to Kant, that’s the biggest no-no there ever was, is, or will be in terms of human ethical behavior.

And alienation doesn’t stop there.

For millions of people worldwide, work means doing one repetitive task over and over again for eight years a day, thirty years straight!

That kills the humanity in human.

And it’s capitalism’s fault.

Capitalism Is All About Accumulated Capital

When we said above that capitalism treats people as a means to an end, we didn’t mention what that end is.

But, you may have already guessed it: it’s money.

Or, better yet (since Marx makes a distinction between the two): capital.

Capital is money which one uses to make more money.

And, unfortunately, that’s the only thing capitalists are interested in doing after some time spent as capitalists.

Simply put, they stop caring about obtaining certain commodities.

And they only start caring about accumulating capital vast enough to grant them an opportunity to buy any commodity they may like in the future.

So, it’s basically like a disease.

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“Das Kapital PDF Quotes”

Education is free. Freedom of education shall be enjoyed under the condition fixed by law and under the supreme control of the state. Click To Tweet In reality, the laborer belongs to capital before he has sold himself to capital. His economic bondage is both brought about and concealed by the periodic sale of himself, by his change of masters, and by the oscillation in the market… Click To Tweet Perseus wore a magic cap down over his eyes and ears as a make-believe that there are no monsters. Click To Tweet As, in religion, man is governed by the products of his own brain, so in capitalistic production, he is governed by the products of his own hand. Click To Tweet Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labor at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

When we tried clearing up for you above who should read “Das Kapital,” we mentioned two groups of people: the religious fanatics who consider “Das Kapital” a Bible, and the atheists who think that everything it says is about as true as Ancient Indian myths.

However, we failed to mention a third group: the agnostic scholars.

This group, in our opinion, sees “Das Kapital” as it is: one of the most important economic books in history which should be studied over and over again because it says some things which may make us rethink the society we’re living in.

This is the group which has made “Das Kapital” the most cited book in the social sciences published before 1950 and the 17th most cited ever.

And the group which has given us books such as the “Capital in the 21st century” or “The Dao of Capital” examining, proving or refuting some of Marx’s claims.

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Thus Spoke Zarathustra PDF Summary

Thus Spoke Zarathustra PDF SummaryA Book for All and None

Many years before Harari imagined the advent of Homo Deus, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote about Man as the missing link between the Beast and the Overman.

And the myth of the eternal return.

And the widely misunderstood death of God.

There you go – the three main reasons to not miss “Thus Spoke Zarathustra.”

Who Should Read “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”? And Why?

With Nietzsche, most of the time you can’t really be sure if he is writing a work of philosophy, an allegorical novel, or a lengthy prose poem.

You can read “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” in either of these ways, and the great thing is you’ll probably  find many things to be amazed by and wonder about either way.

However, if you like your philosophical prose erudite and straightforward, then Nietzsche may not be your cup of tea.

There’s just too much poetry and ambiguity here.

You can see for yourself here

Friedrich Nietzsche Biography

Friedrich NietzscheFriedrich Nietzsche was an extremely influential German philosopher working in the second half of the 19th century, whose ideas and style of writing have had a profound effect moslty on artists and creative thinkers.

Unfortunately, some of them, misunderstood and misshapen, have also influenced anti-Semitism, fascism and alt-right groups, which, ironically, were some of the things Nietzsche most sincerely detested.

Born on 15 October 1844, Nietzsche became the youngest holder of the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, when he assumed that position in 1869. He had to retire just ten years later due to ongoing health-related issues. He spent the next decade of his life (1879-1889) writing and producing some of the most important works in the history of philosophy.

After finishing “Beyond Good and Evil,” “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and “Ecce Homo”  – his autobiography – he suffered a mental breakdown in 1889 and lived in an all but a vegetative state until 1900 when three strokes lead to his untimely death at 54.

Plot

Remember the ending of “Beyond Good and Evil”?

Let us remind you:

We keep our Feast of Feasts, sure of our bourne,
Our aims self-same:
The Guest of Guests, friend Zarathustra, came!
The world now laughs, the grisly veil was torn,
And Light and Dark were one that wedding-morn.

That’s the last stanza from the pretty long and weak poem “From High Mountains,” which we guess you can understand about as much as you can understand what happened in the last episode of “The Sopranos.”

All starts nice and smooth, but then things go a bit dark, don’t they?

Well, for now, it’s not that important to understand anything else but the fact that the guy with the strange name – Zarathustra – is “the guest of guests” and a “friend” of the man who lives in the high mountains.

We guess the second guy is Nietzsche.

Which makes the first one… no, we still have to ask – who the hell is Zarathustra?

There are two ways to answer that question.

One: in reality, Zarathustra is another name for Zoroaster, the Jesus Christ of Ancient Persia who lived at least a millennium or two before the Jesus Christ of your Bible and who invented a religion which shares many similar ideas with… well, your Bible.

So, basically: good and evil, judgment after death, heaven and hell, free will, messianism… you know, the usual religious stuff.

Two: in Nietzsche’s fancy, Zarathustra is exactly the man we just described, except for the fact that he’s also the opposite of what we just said.

Sounds a bit strange?

Well, Nietzsche sounds like that all the time.

In fact, here’s his explanation about Zarathustra, taken from the most humbly titled chapter “Why I Am Destiny?” from the most unassumingly titled autobiography “Ecce homo”:

People have never asked me, as they should have done, what the name Zarathustra precisely means in my mouth, in the mouth of the first Immoralist; for what distinguishes that philosopher from all others in the past is the very fact that he was exactly the reverse of an immoralist. Zarathustra was the first to see in the struggle between good and evil the essential wheel in the working of things. The translation of morality into the metaphysical, as force, cause, end in itself, was HIS work. But the very question suggests its own answer. Zarathustra CREATED the most portentous error, MORALITY, consequently he should also be the first to PERCEIVE that error[…] Am I understood?… The overcoming of morality through itself—through truthfulness, the overcoming of the moralist through his opposite—THROUGH ME—: that is what the name Zarathustra means in my mouth.

So, basically, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra is the Zarathustra the Moralist after reading “Beyond Good and Evil.”

And, thus, becoming Zarathustra the Immoralist.

In fact, that’s how the book commences:

Zarathustra leaves the solitude of his mountain in order to teach the others of the truth he has discovered.

Namely, the truth of the Overman.

No, that’s not a surname.

That’s Man once he realizes that morality – you know, the thing we’ve built for so many centuries in order to become Men – is not that good of a thing.

Or, in Nietzsche’s famous words, that God is dead.

Not literally, of course.

But figuratively no doubt.

Meaning: morality, things such as the concepts of good and evil, the idea of a man serving to some extraterrestrial being – all of those are (or at least should be) dead.

And the creature born out of this death – none other than the Overman.

Funny thing how people, back in the 19th century, didn’t want to hear such things. So, no one does – and all reject Zarathustra’s teachings.

On to Plan B: first find disciples who will not consider you mad and then teach them what you know in private.

Zarathustra does, telling them that in order for the Man to become the Overman he needs to have a lot of envy and basically no pity for anything on this planet. Also, he will need the heart and the courage of a warrior.

Guess what?

Now that few people are actually listening, nobody really understands Zarathustra.

So, saddened, he goes back to his mountain.

His disciples, in the meantime, start spreading the word of his teachings, but since they misunderstood it in the first place, what they spread is not actually Zarathustra’s word.

And Zarathustra, being an Overman, somehow realizes this in a vision on the mountain.

So, he descends once again to see if he’s right.

And of course, he is.

But even he couldn’t have guessed how wrong his disciples understood him.

You see, they blended his teachings with those of Jesus Christ, who is basically the Lex Luthor to Zarathustra’s Superman.

(By the way, that’s exactly how they sometimes translate Nietzsche’s Overman!)

Anyway, it seems that Zarathustra has created his own enemies.

So, he embarks on a journey to refute them. Them and, well, everybody else: priests, academicians, ascetics, followers…

What’s the matter with you, people, Zarathustra exclaims! I’m telling you the truth, and you’re believing in some second-rate lies!

You have some serious issues!

And you know who’s to blame the most?

Poets!

Of course, they are!

For some reason, ever since Plato, in the world of philosophy, poets are worse than all the Hitlers and the Stalins of the world combined!

How dare they, asks Zarathustra, invent worlds where God and religion can dwell? It’s the time of the Overman – and there’s no such thing as afterlife for anyone who wants to live in the new age!

Oh, humanity, concludes Zarathustra, I pity you…

Wait… what?

Isn’t that exactly what an Overman shouldn’t do?

It is – and Zarathustra realizes this.

So, he retreats to his humble mountain abode yet again.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra Epilogue

Going back to his mountain for the second time, the sick Zarathustra understands that everything that has happened in the past will inevitably happen again in the future.

And that is the myth of the eternal recurrence, which foreshadows what will happen at the end of the book.

That’s right!

Zarathustra will descend from the mountain once again.

But, before that – something amazing happens.

Few people – kings, sorcerers, etc. – come to him to learn what he’s got to say about the world. Zarathustra mocks them, but they mock him back in return as well.

And then they mock Christianity altogether, holding a festival for a donkey which they call a new deity.

And Zarathustra suddenly realizes that these people may not be the Overmen, but they are certainly on the right track.

Because they have started mocking the symbols of Christianity, and because they are ready to make the leap from “good and bad” to “immorality.”

Zarathustra is a smart person.

He got all this from a donkey.

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“Thus Spoke Zarathustra PDF Quotes”

The higher we soar the smaller we appear to those who cannot fly. Click To Tweet I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses. Click To Tweet The lonely one offers his hand too quickly to whomever he encounters. Click To Tweet You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame: how could you become new, if you had not first become ashes? Click To Tweet Man is something that shall be overcome. Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman – a rope over an abyss. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Once Friedrich Nietzsche went mad, her sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche assumed the role of his caretaker and editor.

Historians of philosophy consider this the worst thing that has ever happened since Elisabeth was a Nazi and she freely edited her brother’s works to fit hers.

However, she was right when, in a Foreword, she described “Zarathustra” as her “brother’s most personal work; it is the history of his most individual experiences, of his friendships, ideals, raptures, bitterest disappointments and sorrows. Above it all, however, there soars, transfiguring it, the image of his greatest hopes and remotest aims.”

In his famously unpretentious words, Nietzsche claims something similar:

With “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” I have given mankind the greatest present that has ever been made to it so far. This book, with a voice bridging centuries, is not only the highest book there is, the book that is truly characterized by the air of the heights—the whole fact of man lies beneath it at a tremendous distance—it is also the deepest, born out of the innermost wealth of truth, an inexhaustible well to which no pail descends without coming up again filled with gold and goodness.

Yes, he’s basically saying that there’s no better or more profound book than the one he has written.

But, it’s Nietzsche – so, to a certain extent, we have to believe him!

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Beyond Good and Evil PDF Summary

Beyond Good and Evil PDF Summary

“There is no such thing as moral phenomena,” writes Friedrich Nietzsche, “but only a moral interpretation of phenomena.”

And in “Beyond Good and Evil” he tries, in his poetic and aphoristic best, to put a question mark over the historical validity of the latter.

Who Should Read “Beyond Good and Evil”? And Why?

Friedrich Nietzsche is a cultural icon for a reason – and we’re not talking about his iconic mustache. (Although it’s hard to talk about Nietzsche and not mention them, right?)

There’s probably no philosopher who writes better – or more poetic – than him, no writer who has exerted more influence on the history of ideas.

And very few intellectuals have ever been more controversial or more misunderstood than him.

You need another reason to read “Beyond Good and Evil”?

Well, let’s just say that it may change the way you think about everything.

Fetch – if you have the guts!

Friedrich Nietzsche Biography

Friedrich NietzscheFriedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher, poet, composer, classical philologist, and all-around cultural critic. He lived just five and a half decades: he spent the first two and a half as a brilliant student of classical languages, the next one as a professor, the fourth one as an iconoclastic philosopher, and the last one as a madman.

Born on October 15, 1844, Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist and, at the age of 24, he became the youngest individual ever to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the record stands to this day).

He had to resign from the position just a decade later, due to health problems which will trouble him for the most of his life.

Between 1879 and 1889 he will write most of his philosophical works, which will radically alter the way people think about philosophy and exert incredible influence on the following generations of artists and thinkers.

On 3 January 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental breakdown and spent the last years of his life practically vegetating, before a series of three strokes ended his life in the first year of the 20th century.

Plot

First published in 1886 – merely three years before Nietzsche suffered the career-ending mental breakdown – “Beyond Good and Evil” consists of 296 numbered sections divided into nine parts and framed between a preface and an aftersong.

The primary objective of the book – to question all philosophical knowledge concerning morality which precedes it and put forward an original theory of ethics, one that is, in fact, an anti-theory best summarized by the concept “will to power.”

Preface

In the preface, Nietzsche compares Truth to Woman and blames the men-philosophers of history for failing to understand it in the exact same manner.

Truth, Nietzsche says, just like a Woman, wouldn’t allow itself to be won if there was a dogmatist in the house. And all philosophers, he adds, were dogmatists.

The most extended finger is pointed at Plato:

it must certainly be confessed that the worst, the most tiresome, and the most dangerous of errors hitherto has been a dogmatist error—namely, Plato’s invention of Pure Spirit and the Good in Itself.

So, in a nutshell, philosophy is like a house built on the wrong foundation.

It must be torn down!

Part One: On the Prejudices of Philosophers (§1 – §23)

The basic premise of this part: all philosophers are humans; and all humans have inherent faults and prejudices.

So, when you believe a philosopher to be telling the truth, you’re actually believing a straight-out-liar who doesn’t even know that he’s lying.

Every philosophical system is just an elaborate smokescreen which obscures and muddles the prejudices of its author (§6):

It has gradually become clear to me what every great philosophy up till now has consisted of—namely, the confession of its originator, and a species of involuntary and unconscious autobiography.

In a nutshell, dig deep enough and what you’ll find on the other end of a philosophical system is the author himself, creased in stereotypes and human imperfections.

Part Two: The Free Spirit (§24 – §44)

And the way we can counter dogmatism and false philosophies:

With the free spirit!

You don’t need an explanation for that: it’s what you can be if you break the shackles of your own self.

These free spirits, says Nietzsche, these new philosophers should be “inquisitive to a fault, investigators to the point of cruelty, with unhesitating fingers for the intangible, with teeth and stomachs for the most indigestible, ready for any business that requires sagacity and acute senses, ready for every adventure.” (§44)

In other words, these new philosophers may uncover some painful truths about humanity.

They just need to follow each argument to its conclusion, no matter how cruel the latter may seem.

Part Three: The Religious Essence (§45 – §62)

Now comes Nietzsche at his sacrilegious best, the guy some like to love, and others love to hate.

Forget about Screwtape and his letters: Nietzsche’s words are far more venomous, since the German, unlike the Devil, doesn’t believe in good and evil.

He thinks that these are the product of religion, which is devised by the weak to oppress the strong:

Wherever the religious neurosis has appeared on the earth so far, we find it connected with three dangerous prescriptions as to regimen: solitude, fasting, and sexual abstinence—but without its being possible to determine with certainty which is cause and which is effect, or IF any relation at all of cause and effect exists there.

Feels like the first recipe for salvation in “Siddhartha”?

That’s because it is: Nietzsche influenced Hesse big time!

And just like Siddhartha, Nietzsche claims that it is wrong to accept these limitations without testing them.

And it is especially wrong to think of Christianity as a moral religion since it forbids things it shouldn’t. Nietzsche ends this chapter by claiming that there’s nothing worse than European Christianity since it has continually sucked all joy out of life for eighteen centuries, turning man into nothing more than “a sublime abortion”!

Part Four: Maxims and Interludes (§63 – §185)

Part four is a series of about 120 short epigrams, most of which are extraordinarily quotable and memorable – such as the one we started this article with (§108).

Here’s one (§116):

The great epochs of our life are at the points when we gain courage to rebaptize our badness as the best in us.

Great – a philosopher who insists on teaching us to be bad.

That’s new.

And kind of scary.

Part Five: On the Natural History of Morals (§186 – §203)

The great English Romantic poet William Blake wrote something which Nietzsche would have probably used as an epigraph to this section if he had read it: “To generalize is to be an Idiot; To Particularize is the Alone Distinction of Merit.” (Blake’s caps; not ours)

If you believe that the rich are bad and the poor are good, says Nietzsche, then you’re an idiot enslaved by a dogma perpetuated by few people you call philosophers and Nietzsche calls idiots.

And he really doesn’t have a good word for you as well, claiming that you think that way because you’d rather generalize and accept ready-made ideas than think with your own head.

Morality in Europe at present is herding-animal morality, and therefore, as we understand the matter, only one kind of human morality, besides which, before which, and after which many other moralities, and above all higher moralities, are or should be possible.

By now, you already know – by higher morality, Nietzsche doesn’t really mean asceticism and self-restraint.

Part Six: We Scholars (§204 – §213)

We are not really scholars so we feel that this part is not actually about us.

It’s about people like Kant – and others who speak about the categorical imperative as if it is an objective fact. The only fact you should know about Kant, if you ask Nietzsche, is that he is “the great Chinaman of Konigsberg” (§210), which is a metaphorical way of saying that he’s too much of a moralist, too little of a philosopher.

In fact, Nietzsche insists that people must stop confusing “philosophical workers, and in general scientific men” with “philosophers” (§211):

The real philosophers, however, are commanders and law-givers; they say: “thus shall it be!”

Now, isn’t that nice!

It’s Plato all over again!

Part Seven: Our Virtues (§214 – §239)

Didn’t really understand what’s wrong with Kant, Plato, Descartes – and, well, everybody else?

You’re not following then.

The problem with all of them is that they are generalizing laws of morality, which all boil down to the idea that we are all equal.

We are not, says Nietzsche.

On the contrary: it is so obvious that everybody is different. And that things such as divine laws are invented so that they can oppress the exceptional people who are allowed to do anything they want since they know better than the rest by definition.

Yes, this is the chapter where your favorite Dostoyevsky’s novel, “Crime and Punishment,” was born!

It’s also the chapter women won’t like a bit – since there’s a lot of misogyny at the end.

Part Eight: Peoples and Fatherlands (§240 – §256)

And just as you are about to blame Nietzsche for generalizing, he says – oh, yes, what I’ve written about women above was “a plunge and relapse into old loves and narrow views.” (§241)

It’s certainly not the truth.

And in the same manner, Europeans plunge into patriotism and nationalism – which, to Nietzsche, is the same as stupidity.

(Yes, he just called himself stupid joyfully!)

Due to mass media misrepresentation, you may associate Nietzsche with Nazism, but, as Ricky Gervais has brilliantly shown, Nazism is everything that Nietzsche was not.

In fact, in this part – where he divides nations into feminine (Greeks, French) and masculine (Romans, Germans) – he claims that the Jews are the most masculine race and that anti-Semitism is based on a wrong premise.

The Jews don’t want to conquer Europe, he says: they want to be assimilated by it.

Because masculine nations impregnate and beget, and feminine are fertilized and give birth.

Part Nine: What is Noble? (§257 – §296)

Speaking of being misunderstood – to Nietzsche, that’s basically the highest objective an individual can have. Living far from the crowd, all by himself, without friends or family, reading and talking things only he himself understands.

What’s more to like, ha?

Possibly the exact opposite?

Beyond Good and Evil Epilogue

The epilogue of “Beyond Good and Evil” is – wait for it… – a poem!

You expected something conventional from Nietzsche?

And it’s not a very good poem!

Titled “From High Mountains,” the poem is actually too long and not a bit subtle.

It’s about a man who has lived in the mountains for some time and who is at one point visited by his old friends. They can’t recognize him and are not strong enough to live with him on the mountains.

So, naturally, they leave.

And the speaker remains there alone, realizing that he’s now a changed person, and waiting for his new guests. Among them, “The Guest of Guests, friend Zarathustra” with whom he will undoubtedly have a lot more to talk about.

So, in a nutshell, a pretentious version of “The Fool on the Hill.”

We wonder whether “The Beatles” were inspired by Nietzsche to write the song?

After all, Nietzsche was one of the original Sgt. Pepper’s rejects!

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“Beyond Good and Evil PDF Quotes”

Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule. Click To Tweet Objection, evasion, joyous distrust, and love of irony are signs of health; everything absolute belongs to pathology. Click To Tweet The vanity of others runs counter to our taste only when it runs counter to our vanity. Click To Tweet In the end things must be as they are and have always been--the great things remain for the great, the abysses for the profound, the delicacies and thrills for the refined, and, to sum up shortly, everything rare for the rare. Click To Tweet Christianity gave Eros poison to drink; he did not die of it, certainly, but degenerated to Vice. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Beyond Good and Evil” is not for the faint-hearted.

It’s also not for those who are looking for a beach read to pack for a leisurely vacation – unless that vacation is on some kind of a Sulphur lake.

“Beyond Good and Evil” is sometimes difficult to follow, and always written in a style which may easily mislead you. Unfortunately, in the worst possible direction.

So, unless you’re ready to question everything you know and sure you’ll leave the probe sane, look elsewhere.

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Plato at the Googleplex Summary

Plato at the Googleplex SummaryWhy Philosophy Won’t Go Away

Plato’s name is still relevant in the modern world. How can an ancient philosopher’s ideas still be applied to everyday life?

Who Should Read “Plato at the Googleplex” and Why?

“Plato at the Googleplex” is a book about contemporary issues that we encounter in our everyday lives, perceived through the prism of Plato’s questioning.

It explains his thoughts on ethics, love, and education, and shows the readers why his reasoning remains relevant even in a world where everything seems to be changing overnight.

We recommend it to all philosophy buffs as well as to those that want to find out the right questions that will lead them to the knowledge that Google cannot answer.

About Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

Rebecca Newberger GoldsteinRebecca Newberger Goldstein is an award-winning and bestselling author. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

She writes both fiction and non-fiction.

“Plato at the Googleplex Summary”

If you had ever taken a philosophy class in your life, you might have wondered why you are studying about the thoughts of people that do not belong in this time, and whose ideas are inapplicable in today’s world.

But is it so?

Indeed, some parts of the ideas of many philosophers are not suited and are hardly understood living in today’s democracy, but there are those parts that touch and explain perennial topics that will always be of importance.

Take for example, Plato.

His stand about the position of slaves and open sexism do seem barbaric from the modern day “democratic” perspective; we will not argue about that.

However, he has written several works in which he tackles the question of how we should live and how do we find out who we are.

Plato does not give many answers in his writings – instead he poses many relevant questions that people can use to question themselves and find the answers within.

Take for example The Republic. It is a text that wonders what kind of political organization of the society is the best. Of course, Plato did not know this for sure – we still struggle to find the answer after so much time tried and failed political systems.

Then, there is the Symposium which tries to reveal the meaning of love and all the responsibilities love brings.  

Now, why would we need advice from someone who lived so long before our time, when we have the knowledge of science which presents proven facts about this world?

Well, not all things in this world can be resolved by science.

Plato’s thoughts help people question themselves and the world and arrive at conclusions and answers on their own. This is also known as the Socratic method, which consists of posing questions to a partner to make him or her think and come to specific answers.

Did you know that this kind of teaching is still used in law schools when examining cases?

But Plato did not utilize questions just to make his subjects come to new knowledge – he also wanted to challenge their reasoning.

He believed that their knowledge is only useful if they can explain it, and if they fail at it, they are nothing more than ignorant.

Of course, Plato was affected by the time he was living in and the cultural norms during that time – that is why sometimes we do not entirely understand his thoughts.

However, whenever he did not agree with something he was not afraid to challenge and transform it.

So, in his dialogues, he problematized the values that were ruling society during ancient times, and that he found problematic.

One example is the way he decided to redefine extraordinariness, which was a goal for many people during his time.

People thought that strength and emulation of gods are extraordinary. However, he did not agree – he believed that exceptional experience could be achieved only by continually improving ourselves, the responses to our environment and our reasoning.

He also did not base his belief in the strength of gods – instead he based it on reason and continuous questioning.

Another thing that is interesting about Plato is that he made a difference between mass information and deep knowledge.

Just think about it, googling something may give you information, but it will not make you an expert in a field.

Also, what such mass knowledge will not teach people is what is actually the right way or the best way to live life.

Why is that?

Because t=such mass knowledge is rated not by its value but by the number of references on the web that it has.

Key Lessons from “Plato at the Googleplex”

1.      You Can Google Information, But Not Deep Knowledge
2.      Education Should Be a Basis for Further Adaptation
3.      Love, According to Plato is the Foundation of All Human Relationships

You Can Google Information, But Not Deep Knowledge

When you google things, you reach mass information, which is not the same as gaining real in-depth knowledge. Also, the results that appear in your search will not be the “best” but the one that had the most impressions. That is why the answers to the perennial questions lie somewhere else.

Education Should Be a Basis for Further Adaptation

We need to learn things, but we should not stick blindly to them. Instead, we need to develop a skill of critical thinking and thus adapt the knowledge we gained to our individual character.

Love, according to Plato is the Foundation of All Human Relationships

Plato believed that love is the basis for all human relationships. He did not think about romantic love only, but to love towards everything and everyone, with varying levels of intimacy.

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“Plato at the Googleplex Quotes”

If we don't understand our tools, then there is a danger we will become the tool of our tools. We think of ourselves as Google's customers, but really we're its products. Click To Tweet Children, who have so much to learn in so short a time, had involved the tendency to trust adults to instruct them in the collective knowledge of our species, and this trust confers survival value. Click To Tweet As Plato: We become more worthy the more we bend our minds to the impersonal. We become better as we take in the universe, thinking more about the largeness that it is and laugh about the smallness that is us. Click To Tweet Everybody makes excuses for themselves they wouldn't be prepared to make for other people. Click To Tweet How can those who possess all knowledge, which must include knowledge of life that is worth living, be interested in using knowledge only for the insignificant aim of making money? Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

Philosophy is not dead.

All readers of this book will agree. Once you read what Plato did, you will understand why he is important so long after his death.

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How to Create a Mind Summary

How to Create a Mind SummaryThe Secret of Human Thought Revealed

Humans are capable of doing so many things computers will never be, right?

Show me a computer capable of thinking, writing symphonies, loving, etc. – and I’ll show you a flying pig.

Don’t put your mouth where your money is, says Ray Kurzweil. Because you will need to breed a whole new race of pigs in a decade or so.

How to Create a Mind” explains why – and how – computers will start writing symphonies.

Who Should Read “How to Create a Mind”? And Why?

Ray Kurzweil’s predictions comprise the wettest of futurists’ dreams. And even though “How to Create a Mind” doesn’t state anything new of this sort, every futurist and curious SF thinker has already bought this book by now.

The rest should read it to find what all the fuss is about. Because even if you know nothing about AI and neuroscience, this may be a good time to start learning about it.

At least if you believe Ray Kurzweil and this book.

About Ray Kurzweil

Ray KurzweilRay Kurzweil is a prize-winning scientist, writer, and futurist.

A winner of MIT’s “Inventor of the Year” prize in 1988, Carnegie Mellon’s top science Dickson Prize six years later and “National Medal of Technology and Innovation” in 1999, Kurzweil has so far received at least 21 honorary doctorates, and special honors from three different U.S. presidents.

He has invented numerous things, ranging from the first omni-font OCR (optical character recognition) to the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, from the first flatband scanner to the first commercial text-to-speech synthesizer.

So, you could say that he’s partially responsible for the Siris, Alexas, and Cortanas you talk to on a daily basis.

Unsurprisingly, in 2002, Kurzweil was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

He has authored numerous articles and books, including “The Singularity Is Near.”

“How to Create a Mind Summary”

Westworld’s second season premiered last night on HBO.

And we felt that there was no better moment to provide you with a summary of a book titled “How to Create a Mind.”

Especially if it is brought to you by a man who has not only been described by “Forbes” as “the ultimate thinking machine,” but who also has an entire Wikipedia article listing his predictions about the future.

And there’s more where that came from!

Ladies and gentlemen, please join us in unraveling the secret of human thought with the one and only Ray Kurzweil, aka the guy who gave humanity flatbad scanners, optical character recognition, print-to-speech reading machines, and text-to-speech synthesizers!

In a nutshell – someone who definitely knows more than most about how our brain may function, based on his work with artificial brains.

And is there a better way to start a book on thoughts other than with few thought experiments?

Let’s try them out.

First, the simplest: recite the alphabet.

Piece of cake, right?

OK, now recite it backward.

Doesn’t feel as easy, does it?

In fact, chances are, you’re incapable of reciting the alphabet backward no matter how much you try. Even though, if you think about it, you should have no problem: you know all the letters, and you’ve used them thousands and thousands of times.

And, most importantly, you just recited them the other way around!

So, what’s the problem?

We’ll get to that in a second.

But, before, try with us another thought experiment. This time, try to visualize a person you’ve seen only once or twice in your whole life. If you can’t think of any, try thinking about your short trip to the local store this morning.

Can you envisage even one single person of the few you passed by?

No, you can’t.

Kurzweil thinks that these thought experiments reveal something much more than the fact that, essentially, your memory sucks.

Namely, that everybody’s memory sucks in the same way. And that this should give us a hint on how our brain is actually doing its job.

You thought that only computers follow specific algorithms?

Guess again: you do too!

So much so that, in fact, human consciousness pioneer Benjamin Libet has proposed that even your free will may be an illusion!

Kurzweil concurs.

Since, according to him, these experiments show that your brain is also merely – OK, in strictly relative terms – doing hierarchical statistical analysis.

And by brain, we actually mean your neocortex, which, according to Kurzweil is where the magic actually happens.

We all know that the neocortex is the most advanced part of our brains and is what makes us so different from the rest of the animal world.

Now, according to Kurzweil, this is because the human neocortex contains about 300 million hierarchically arranged general pattern recognizers. And, as the thought experiments we explained above prove, these pattern recognizers aren’t interested in sounds, images, videos, or smells.

The only thing they are interested in is patterns.

That’s why you can’t recite the alphabet backward – it should be easy if your brain remembered information and data. But if your brain remembers patterns, reciting the alphabet back or playing a song from the middle is the same as starting to read a book from page 147.

That’s why you can’t remember people you’ve only seen once or twice in your life as well. In fact, police profilers intuitively know this, so they stimulate the memory of witnesses by showing them different types of eyes, brows, or mouths.

Because, as Marcel Proust taught us, there’s a particular type of memory, involuntary memory, which is triggered once an external stimulus hits the right note of the pattern.

You know what we’re talking about!

You can’t remember a song even though someone is singing the middle part of it. But, then someone sings the right sequence and the middle section falls neatly into place!

Finally, pattern recognition is why all of the memory techniques memory champions advise us to use are pattern-related. And even more – hierarchically ordered.

Now, if your brain works this way – i.e., as if an automat – shouldn’t computer scientists be capable of creating an artificial mind?

Yes, they should.

And in Kurzweil’s opinion – using hidden Markov models and genetic algorithms – they inevitably will by 2029.

Why shouldn’t they?

Intel has already devised a way to trick the limitations of Moore’s law by inventing 3D processors. Japan’s supercomputers are already capable of running 1016 calculations per second – which is just as much as a digital neocortex will need to function.

Finally, the data it should store – around 20 billion bytes (300 million patterns * 72 bytes) amounts to no more than 20 GB, i.e., the size of your USB.

Because, as it has been proven over and over again in the past – whether in science or art – it’s not the amount of data that’s important; it’s the actual and potential interconnections inside it.

So, brace for it – Kurzweil claims that AI humanoids indistinguishable by brain power from humans will become a reality in less than 12 years.

We guess the remaining question at this point is: should you believe Kurzweil?

Well, remember the list with predictions we mentioned at the beginning of this summary? It was made back in 1989. And in October 2010, twenty years later, Kurzweil published a PDF titled “How My Predictions Are Faring.”

In 147 pages, the document lists as many predictions. 12 of them are deemed to be “essentially correct,” 17 “partially correct” and 3 – “wrong.”

As for the rest 115?

Let us write this in all caps because it’s that important:

ENTIRELY CORRECT.

Ladies and gentlemen, set your watches: we’re about 12 years away from real-life “Westworld.”

For better or for worse, the countdown commences.

Key Lessons from “How to Create a Mind”

1.      Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind
2.      Welcome to Searle’s Chinese Room: How Do You Know You’re Not a Machine?
3.      The Untethered Artificial Mind: The Artificial Mind Which Learns

Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind

How do we think?

Do we think through data, logic, images, sounds, smells?

Neither, says Ray Kurzweil: we think only and exclusively through patterns.

Our neocortex contains about 300 million general pattern recognition circuits which hierarchically structure our memory and experiences.

In other words, if we translate this into practical example (say, how we read), the process looks something like this.

Namely, some of these recognizers are low-level and see only straight and diagonal lines. But, they transmit this information to the higher echelons which are then capable of recognizing letters. These pass on the message to the word-level recognizers, etc. etc.

The information moves back and forth and, based on previous patterns, in time, the recognizers learn to predict the info ahead. That’s how speech recognition works, and that’s why sometimes you see transcribed YouTube captions revealing words before you hear them.

That is your brain as well.

And yes – it gets a bit strange from here on.

Welcome to Searle’s Chinese Room: How Do You Know You’re Not a Machine?

You see, back in 1980, philosopher John Searle made the distinction between weak AI and strong AI based on a simple experiment.

Say you make a program capable of taking Chinese characters as inputs, analyzing them profoundly and giving the expected outcome. And say this program is so convincing that even a Chinese can’t see anything wrong with it and, thus, it passes the Turing test.

The question is: does the program really understands Chinese?

Searle argued against this, by claiming that if he is locked in a room with the machine’s in-programmed manual, and receives the same inputs under the door, he should be able to give the same answers back by merely following the same instructions the machine does.

However, he doesn’t speak a word of Chinese.

Kurzweil says: OK, that may be true.

But what if your brain works the same way?

Let’s not forget that Watson destroyed the best humans in Jeopardy!

In Jeopardy!

The Untethered Artificial Mind: The Artificial Mind Which Learns

It’s time you stopped thinking about machines in terms of programs – unless you start thinking about yourself in the very same way.

In other words, our brains are nothing less – or more – than a pattern recognizing structures. However, this is such a powerful method to acquire new information that it has got us – humans – to a place where we are capable of creating other creatures similar to us.

Because once we perfect a brain capable of recognizing patterns (and we’re already there: think speech recognition), we will essentially create a machine capable of teaching itself. And since a machine’s neocortex can be improved, in time, we will be able to develop machines which will be vastly superior to us.

That’s right: we’re talking about a new species.

Homo deus.

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“How to Create a Mind Quotes”

In mathematics you don’t understand things. You just get used to them. (via John von Neumann) Click To Tweet We are a pattern that changes slowly but has stability and continuity, even though the stuff constituting the pattern changes quickly. Click To Tweet The evolution of animal behavior does constitute a learning process, but it is learning by the species, not by the individual, and the fruits of this learning process are encoded in DNA. Click To Tweet Human beings have only a weak ability to process logic, but a very deep core capability of recognizing patterns. To do logical thinking, we need to use the neocortex, which is basically a large pattern recognizer. Click To Tweet Philosophy is a kind of halfway house for questions that have not yet yielded to the scientific method. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“How to Create a Mind” may be uneven and repetitive at times, but, even so, it’s exceptional. Some have deemed its subtitle a bit overpromising, but to others, the book actually manages to give us the most complete theory on how we may think.

Now, if Kurzweil is right about that, then creating an artificial mind is not far ahead. And if that is true, then you reading this book should become a reality in the following weeks.

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Meditations on First Philosophy Summary

Meditations on First Philosophy SummaryHow do we know that reality is what we think it is? How do we know that what we see is true?

Descartes believes he has the answer to such perennial questions: our ability to think.

Who Should Read “Meditations on First Philosophy” and Why?

“Meditations on First Philosophy” is a classic, but it is not a book for everyone, simply because it is a bit complex for understanding.

It tries to explain how the human mind and the ability to think proves our existence, as well as the existence of God.

If you love philosophy and philosophical books, though, then this is a read that you should definitely put on your shelf.

About René Descartes

René DescartesRené Descartes was a French philosopher widely both criticized and acclaimed for his works.

He was the one who created skepticism and broke away from the earlier philosophical tradition which followed Aristotelian footsteps.

“Meditations on First Philosophy Summary”

People make sense of the world relying on their five senses: taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing.

However, the sense is not always reliable.

Let’s take dreams for example.

When you dream, everything in the dream feels real, no matter how bizarre it may be. You only realize the dream’s absurdity when you wake up.

So, although we may think that senses give us an actual and utterly realistic image of the world that surrounds us, the fact is that the information we get from the senses can be distorted by external forces.

But if we cannot entirely rely on our senses and the information we get from them, what can we do?

Well, we should start perceiving everything there is with a dosage of skeptical doubt.

Wait, what exactly can we get from skepticism?

About other things, we cannot guarantee, but one thing that we can guarantee is that skepticism will make you think.

Thinking, in fact, is the only reliable technique that we can use to evaluate the world.

This is why Rene Descartes said: I think, therefore I exist.

However, what is thinking and what is just processing the information the senses give us?

Well, when you think, your mind makes a judgment about the world and defines events and objects. But if thinking is a way to prove our own existence, how can we prove that the world exists as well?

Don’t we get a sense of the world through the senses, which we already said cannot be trusted?

It is significant to have in mind that some things in the world are understood with the sole use of our minds.

We are talking about concepts that people do not need to encounter in the physical world in order to grasp them.

Other things, on the other hand, are imposed on us from the outside world whether we like it or not – like the feeling of cold or warm for example.

However, since our senses can be fooled, it is logical to note that the concepts we grasp using our minds are more reliable than those which we understand based on our senses.

Just think about people in the past and how they perceived nature. They were wrong, weren’t they?

If we solely use our senses, we would just see the sun as a small ball on the sky, and not understand its true nature.

The smallest degree of reality, however, have the ideas that we create ourselves.

In any case, the ability to think proves that the mind actually exists, and not the other way round.

However, this thinking does not need to be “trapped” in a physical form in order to happen – thinking can happen without physical properties.

In fact, body and mind pose two different levels of existence.

The mind is the highest form, and the body is the secondary, sensory form.

Since the mind and the body exist in two different levels, it means that they are not dependent upon each other.

In other words, they can exist independently.

What does this mean for you?

Simply put, it proves that the soul or mind, whatever you may call it, can continue existing even after the death.

We understand that the concepts we played out briefly for you may seem abstract since it is impossible to explain them in such a short space thoroughly, so we recommend you read the whole book, so you get a better understanding of the topic

Now, we move on to the key lessons.

Key Lessons from “Meditations on First Philosophy”

1.      Always Question Your Senses         
2.      Thinking Proves Your Existence
3.      Three Categories of Truth Exist in This World      

Always Question Your Senses

Your senses do not always show you the true image of the world. Many times they will give a distorted concept of reality, and that is why you must doubt your senses and question them at all times.

Only through skepticism and careful thinking you can come to the truth.

Thinking Proves Your Existence

If senses are not to be trusted, then what can we rely on?

Descartes believes that human thoughts are the way to prove existence. The judgments the brain makes on things whether they are based in reality or imaginary, prove that you are alive.

Three Categories of Truth Exist in This World

Each thing in this world can be considered as one of three categories of truth.

The first group is the things that you can explain only using your minds, or by thinking.

The second category is the things that can be explained by using your senses.

Finally, the third category is a mix of the previous two.

According to Descartes, the first category of truth is the most reliable since thinking is more reliable than senses.

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“Meditations on First Philosophy Quotes”

It is only prudent never to place complete confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived.

Doubt is the origin of wisdom.

But what then am I? A thing that thinks. What is that? A thing that doubts, understand, affirms, denies, wills, refuses, and that also imagines and senses.

When I turn my mind’s eye upon myself, I understand that I am a thing which is incomplete and dependent on another and which aspires without limit to ever greater and better things.

The destruction of the foundations necessarily brings down the whole edifice.

Our Critical Review

“Meditations on First Philosophy” is far from an easy read. It is a classic that will make you question everything you know, but in order to understand it, you will have to consult the Internet and more books.

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