Read On Equilibrium by John Ralston Saul Online


What does John Ralston Saul's influential philosophical trilogy Voltaire's Bastards, The Doubter's Companion and The Unconscious Civilization mean for the real lives of individuals? Is it possible to apply his groundbreaking theories to everyday life?On Equilibrium presents us with a virtual "how to"of the ways that ideas can translate into action. Saul explains how our diWhat does John Ralston Saul's influential philosophical trilogy Voltaire's Bastards, The Doubter's Companion and The Unconscious Civilization mean for the real lives of individuals? Is it possible to apply his groundbreaking theories to everyday life?On Equilibrium presents us with a virtual "how to"of the ways that ideas can translate into action. Saul explains how our different qualities give us the intelligence, self-confidence and ability to think and act as responsible individuals.Saul argues that when human qualities are worshipped in isolation they become weaknesses, even forces of destruction or self-destruction. In short, they become ideologies. But as he explores the qualities he has identified as being necessary to integrated human behaviour, he shows us that the key is to use these qualities in combination. How can we use these qualities as positive forces in our own lives and in society? How can we use them to reinforce us as humans?On Equilibrium is an intelligent, persuasive and controversial exploration of the essential qualities of humanity and how to use them to achieve equilibrium for the self and for an ethical society. It is a logical, compelling and humane successor to his bestselling trilogy....

Title : On Equilibrium
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780670888825
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 370 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

On Equilibrium Reviews

  • Verity Bracken
    2019-04-04 14:14

    I first read On Equilibrium in my early twenties and I remember it making quite an impression on me. Now in my mid-thirties I've decided to re-read it to see if I feel the same way about it. John Ralston Saul's earlier books argue that Reason and Rationality hold too much influence over Western Society, an influence that has spun out of control to the extent that Reason has become another ideology ruined by it's own dogma, easily manipulated by people seeking power for it's own sake. In On Equilibrium Saul proposes six qualities: common sense, ethics, imagination, intuition, memory, and reason and suggests that each quality works best when they are used in tandem to produce a balanced way of viewing and responding to our surroundings. Reason is not dismissed, but placed within a wider context, balanced against the other five qualities.I can see why my early twenties self was so taken with this book. Saul isn't fond of Plato, Aristotle or absolute truths. I've gotta agree with Saul and my 23 year old self on that one. He cites historical references that aren't exclusively Dead White Men, I did and do still appreciate that. But, he cites Vico far too often and is prone to rambling. My younger self would have thought that just made the book more intellectual. Thritysomething me thinks it's in need of editing. Halfway through I started wondering if I should just close the book and go find a copy of Vico.Ultimately I find the book still hits a nerve for one reason: On Equalibrium makes a solid argument against utilitarianism, linear-thinking and the technocracy. Saul illustrates several scenarios where that way of thinking has led to disaster. Younger me read this after escaping several utilitarian environments: the suburban high school, the white middle-class bedroom town, the corporate job, to attend Art College (a utilitarian horse of a different colour). Back then it was the lack of certainty involved in pursuing a visual art education over something more linear like engineering or teaching that caused so much trouble. Now I'm reading this book as a new parent. A new parent who has zero intention of leaving the city, switching to a corporate job or even joining a Mommy group. This is causing tension with some people in my life who insist parents follow a specific checklist. Utilitarianism comes out in force, ignoring many of the qualities outlined in this book like memory, imagination and common sense. One child rearing scenario is presented as an absolute truth, uncertainty is presented as something to fear.I know Saul presents examples that are bigger and more important, like how utilitarian thinking can lead to genocides or backing an unjust war, but I think the reason this book still resonates with me is because I can see where his views hold true in my day to day life and I appreciate coming across someone who can provide the proper context and vocabulary to help me better articulate my own feelings.

  • Andre
    2019-04-02 10:15

    It's a fairly hard read, but the author's insights are both valuable and timely. I'd recommend it to anyone that feels/believes that our society often behaves in an irrational manner, that contradicts what one might expect from an "intelligent" species.

  • H Wesselius
    2019-04-13 16:04

    Not his best. In Voltaire's Bastards he produced a seminal original work illustrated by historical detail and in Unconscious Civilization he extends his ideas advocating for history, memory etc to compliment reason as opposed to being subjected by reason. Unconscious Civilization originated from the Massey Lectures a format that served the book well as it forced Saul to compress and tighten his ideas. In On Equilibrium he clearly needed someone or something to provide focus and brevity. His tendency to repetitive writing will frustrate the reader. It appears that he has reached the pinnacle of a public intellectual -- no-one is willing to tell him to move on. Having attempted to read straight through the book more than once, I have been bogged down by needless repetition each time. As for Equilibrium, Camus expressed the idea much better in the Rebel.

  • Ranmalee Gamage
    2019-04-14 14:07

    Still Reading.. feeling the message

  • John Willette
    2019-04-20 12:47

    Should be required reading for every Prime Minister.

  • Harper R
    2019-04-05 11:04

    This is such an important book to read in these times. A sobering yet inspiring fidelity to shared forms of common sense that are what we need to look at to handle today's challenges in an ethical and intelligent manner. It is also a great antidote to narcissism tendencies in self-improvement ideologies.I believe that the only true flowering from this book will come if more people talk about it. So I give this a strong recommendation to be recommended to others!

  • Vince
    2019-04-07 10:49

    I started this some years back - perhaps 2010. I enjoyed his remarks about the need to avoid elevating virtues in isolation - and the risks of doing so. His criticism of worshiping reason and discussion of its limitations was well-founded and has stuck with me.Weighty stuff and I didn't get very far before my interests moved on. Three stars.

  • Matt
    2019-03-29 12:50

    common sense is not common to everyone

  • Mike
    2019-03-31 13:15

    A good (but hard) read on gaining various insights to the human experience. Recommended when one is in an introspective mood.

  • Keith Seekwhence
    2019-03-23 13:49

    Has been sitting on my shelf for some time and I haven't given it a proper read. Getting to it.

  • Seligne
    2019-03-30 17:01

    I tried, but could not make head or tails of this book's point.