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Why Can't We Be Good? ePub download

by Jacob Needleman

  • Author: Jacob Needleman
  • ISBN: 1585425419
  • ISBN13: 978-1585425419
  • ePub: 1804 kb | FB2: 1719 kb
  • Language: English
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Publisher: Tarcher (February 1, 2007)
  • Pages: 304
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Votes: 591
  • Format: docx azw txt mobi
Why Can't We Be Good? ePub download

The acclaimed author of The American Soul, Why Can’t We Be Good? and Money and the Meaning of Life, Jacob Needleman is Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University, and former Director of the Center for the Study of New Religions at the Graduate Theological Union.

The acclaimed author of The American Soul, Why Can’t We Be Good? and Money and the Meaning of Life, Jacob Needleman is Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University, and former Director of the Center for the Study of New Religions at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. He lives in Oakland, CA.

Book by Needleman, Jacob. Needleman says the "One Question" is what we are (p. 264) and what our lives will be like if we strive toward greater morality despite being aware of our personal limitations that will prevent us from being perfect. Mar 28, 2016 An Te rated it it was amazing. Dear Readers, I must write that this is a spellbinding book. Jacob takes us on a journey into his spiritual life and draws superb insights into the nature of humanity and its incapacity to do the things that matter most to us; that is becoming moral and doing what is Good.

In the interest of full disclosure, Jacob Needleman was a professor of mine at San Francisco State University where I did my philosophy MA in the late 1970s. I had a few classes from him and found we disagreed about almost everything. I see the basis of our disagreements in 1979 are very much in evidence here in this book written in 2007. In "Why Can't we be Good?"

Jacob Needleman is professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University.

Jacob Needleman is professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University. He is the author of many bestselling books, including, most recently, A Little Book on Love. About Jacob Needleman. Jacob Needleman is professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University. How to get out? Here is the road map-with a beautiful speck of light at the end of a very difficult path. This is Needleman’s best work.

Author Jacob Needleman visits Google to discuss his book, "Why Can't We Be Good?" This event took place on April 30, 2007, as part of the . People Who Liked Jacob Needleman on Why Can't We Be Good?

Author Jacob Needleman visits Google to discuss his book, "Why Can't We Be Good?" This event took place on April 30, 2007, as part of the Authorsle series. People Who Liked Jacob Needleman on Why Can't We Be Good? Also Liked These Free Titles: Contemporary Issues in Philosophy of Mind by Ranjan Panda. Think Again: A Big Think Podcast by Jason Gots. The Fountainhead Course by Keith Lockitch.

This is Needlemans best book by far. It's dramatic as well as wise. Needleman pours out his soul presenting the deepest questions of man. His excitement and desire for us to understand is present throughout the book

This is Needlemans best book by far. And I hadn't realized how fine a writer he is. It engages the reader immediately, and that is it's message; get out of your head and into "the streets. The book is a warm and profound companion. Michael B. Daly City, Ca. The Metaphysics of Ethics as a Modern Philosophic Inquiry. His excitement and desire for us to understand is present throughout the book. Not just simple ethics is discussed but the metaphysics of ethics and examples of moral mysticism, moral suffering and the ethics of thinking together.

For sensitive people everywhere, the question resounds: Why can't we be good? . In his jarring depiction of this most misunderstood of dilemmas, Needleman takes the reader through various settings and case studies: a college classroom, where students of all ages and backgrounds agonize to define goodness in an era marked by relativism and fundamentalism; a chilling psychological experiment from a generation earlier that reveals the capacity for brutality that lurks within us all-and our.

The professor of philosophy author of The American Soul offers insight into the inability of human beings to adopt the ethical, moral, and religious ideas imparted by the historical world, in a series of case studies that makes optimistic recommendations for understanding and managing ethical dilemmas.
Paster
In the interest of full disclosure, Jacob Needleman was a professor of mine at San Francisco State University where I did my philosophy MA in the late 1970s. I had a few classes from him and found we disagreed about almost everything. I will try not to get into all of that in this review, but some of it cannot, perhaps, be helped. I see the basis of our disagreements in 1979 are very much in evidence here in this book written in 2007.

In "Why Can't we be Good?" Dr. Needleman takes stock of the evil in the world, much of it obviously the result of human behavior both now and for thousands of years past. He certainly notes that humans do also behave in what passes for goodness in their daily lives. Many of us love our children and do our best to raise them lovingly and there are instances of human action, tens of millions every day all over the world that pass for civil and often "beyond the requirements" of civil behavior. So why he asks are we not doing even better? Why does the world appear steeped in evil?

His argument is that we are not better because we have lost sight of what "real goodness" means because we have forgotten our fundamental connection to the spirit forces (God transcendent, God embodied in "our self" [often blurring these ideas]). He admits that sometimes, in crisis, we act on a "higher, genuine, moral level" but most of the time, the best we can do is merely acting our of reasonably good habits we've acquired from our culture, and just as often (perhaps more) we act in downright evil ways. His central claim is that we cannot find (re-discover) this connection by our-self. To re-acquire our consciousness of the fundamental connection demands a teacher, a guide, which always takes the form of some already enlightened person who can both point us to the various holy-literature (be they Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, etc) traditions where the connection is revealed but also help us to understand and interpret what exactly the traditions are trying to tell us. Without this guidance, we are, Needleman tells us, ultimately helpless. Putting it bluntly, we must study what it means to be good and appropriate these teachings into our inner being to even begin approaching genuine moral action.

If this all sounds a bit new agey "I can't help the world without first helping myself" it is, but Needleman is more sophisticated than that. Besides a "teacher", the student seeker must sincerely want this for him or herself. We are not in the realm of magic incantations that make us over in one fell swoop. Of course even the new age teachings also note this. What Needleman adds is his recognition that no matter how lacking we are in genuine morality, we must nevertheless try, that is act, in the world of our daily existence. We must act to do the "best we can" as we travel about our daily lives interacting with others however weak and habitual those actions might be. We must practice, not only in our studies, but in life. Only by these things, sincerity, study, and action, can we re-awaken our consciousness of the connection between ourselves and that relationship to the cosmos that results in genuinely deep, and not superficial, moral behavior.

But while Needleman is correct about the need for action, I do not believe he grasps its overriding significance. Because we (most of us) do not know who we really are our "moral free will" is minimal to non-existent. We are hemmed about by habits and cultural acquisitions, social accretions that render us incapable of genuinely free moral choices (except possibly in times of crisis). For Needleman this applies as much to evil as good. He twice quotes Socrates declaring "No man does evil intentionally". All evil in the world (he says) stems from our disconnection (culturally induced) from the reality we are meant to know. Socrates (at least as quoted here) and Needleman fail to distinguish between error (the truly inevitable outcome of our limited perspective and cognitive abilities including all that we cannot know lying above our intellectual pay grade) and evil. The latter is precisely "error deliberately (that is freely) chosen"! It might be true that "no man does error intentionally", but evil is evil because it is intentional!

The same must be true of "the good". Certainly there is a continuum of moral choice from the trivial to the profound. But even our "good habits" were not always habits, we had to allow them to become habits at some time in our earlier life. The same holds for the accretions of our culture. Some of these are certainly harmful and others good. If, on balance, we have adopted (for ourselves) more good ones than bad, this too must be the result of genuinely moral choices all along the trajectory of our lives. The sincerity of the seeker, something Needleman notes is necessary for any sort of success, must already have been a freely made moral decision or it wouldn't be "sincere"!

A better choice for a title for this book might have been "Why Can't we be Better", but that's less dramatic and would put Needleman in the position of admitting that, provided we are sincere and we do the good that we are able to do now, we will grow incrementally better -- practice makes perfect. A guide, should you be lucky enough to find a real one, can be helpful, but cannot be necessary. My applause here goes to Needleman's emphasis on action, something he talks about more than either of the other two "necessities", the guide and the sincerity of the seeker. Forty years ago I don't remember this much recognition of the importance of acting, but then my memory certainly deceives me. In any case he has it here. Included in early chapters are some nice exercises people can actually do together that simulate "the ethical" in the "theater of the mind" as Needleman puts it. Easy to read, not technical. Will it help you along your "quest to be good"? Well it can't hurt!
Ionzar
I read about 2/3s of the book and then came to an abrupt stop. I thought for sure the author would have revealed his essential point by then, but NO! Instead, he starts his book way back to the unanswered questions of Socrates and then proceeded to drag us through the anguished and unanswered questions of Aristotle and his fellow philosophers throughout the ages. It is my guess he could have easily condensed his book down to five pages without all the historical padding.

If you LOVE Philosophy then you will probably enjoy this book very much. As for me, I'm just a normal reader and it left me feeling bloated and unsatisfied.
Xig
A careful meditation on all of humanity's deepest questions. Jacob Needleman is honest, gentle, and conscientious in a conversation with the reader that opens up entire worlds and gives great insight into human nature, why we struggle to be good, and how to begin to do the work to become capable of ethical action and inner love.
Datrim
This wonderful book is a western philosophical inquiry into ethics. Needleman examines Greek (Plato, Socrates), Roman (Marcus Aurelius) and Hebrew Judaic (Hillel, Torah) sources and then steps outside tradition to explain what is most important in examining ethics for man and woman today. Needleman pours out his soul presenting the deepest questions of man. His excitement and desire for us to understand is present throughout the book.

Not just simple ethics is discussed but the metaphysics of ethics and examples of moral mysticism, moral suffering and the ethics of thinking together. Needleman explains how thinking is an ethical act and the book includes classroom discussions and exercises, the ethical significance of thinking together and the ethics of attention. The quest for ethics involves intention, preparation, ideas, listening, struggling, silence and especially attention.

Needleman uses the Greek example of working together at thinking and focuses on helping us understand the ethical Talmudic wisdom of Hillel who said "what is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor." He explains that the essential work of man is to remember the Self and as we love ourselves, love God, love our neighbor - then we are capable and able to be good.

The book is not religious but rather a philosophical inquiry and for the most part steps out of tradition to discuss man's striving for morality and the ability to be good. There are some examples within the Judao-Christian tradition but only scant mention of the teachings of the East (especially Hinduism is missing).

Throughout the book Needleman enriches, embellishes, enhances, amplifies and articulates in beautiful philosophic prose. He adds exquisite dimensions to increase our contemplation and he simply reveals many secrets of the ages.

I was one of Jacob Needleman's many philosophy students at San Francisco State University (1968-71) and now almost 40 years later I still learn from this important American philosopher. I thank him for sharing again with us and for dedicating the book to his "students."
Kazimi
Mr. Needleman keeps you thinking as he writes, He reminds us of some of the values Americans once had.
Dagdalas
Most of western culture is looking for an easy fix for the problems that beset us. Jacob Needleman, over the years, has been offering real solutions, but to access the answers requires personal evaluation that most people aren't interested in. Why Can't We Be Good? is another stunning example of Needleman's probing works. Don't pick up this book if your looking for self-help cliches. But if you're interested in genuine personal assessment, ideas that will challenge you to consider those supposed answers about good and evil that never quite gave you the satisfacition you longed for, then this the book you need to read.
Leyl
This is a book we are reading for our church men's discussion group that meets every week. We have lots of great comments.
Great
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