Monday, October 17, 2016

Poetry or just religion re-write?

The ProphetThe Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kahlil Gibran is a name that's been revolving around the fringes of my to-read possibilities. As one of the most widely read writers in the world, how could he not?

The Prophet combines faith and philosophy in a series of questions and answers on life and death and all the big topics in between, all delivered in a style similar to the Socratic Method...except that it's not really promoting any kind of critical thinking. Yes, there are some fundamental truths to be gleaned herein, same as you'd find in the Bible for example. But then there are passages that essentially say: don't bother learning, you know it all already. I guess you just have to coax it out of yourself by yourself. Or just listen to God. Have faith and you'll know all you need to know. Oh, and don't bother talking. Gibran says talking murders thought. Certainly it's tough to get any thinking done while someone is talking to you, but is really does help your thoughts to evolve when you talk things over with others with experience and wisdom.

Poetry isn't my thing anymore, so I was hesitant to read The Prophet. Luckily it's not poetry. Well, it's "prose poetry". But to me this sort of writing has very little resemblance to poetry...which is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. However, many of the lines do have a certain poetic flair. There is a melodic flow and it is a pleasure to read, especially when one of Gibran's philosophical tidbits rings true.

I'm not surprised this saw a resurgence in popularity with the counterculture of the 1960s. This offers up the sort of loose philosophy that would attract those in search of something to believe in outside of organized religion. There was some good to be found within the pages of The Prophet. There was also some good within The Bible. I'd rather read this again though. It's a lot shorter.

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