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Lenses by Richard Seltzer

46,156 words

Inspirational non-fiction


The "lenses" in this book are essays that look at knotty questions from unusual angles. They are my way of trying to ponder imponderables.


I need to know who I am and why I am and how my life might matter in the context of those who came before and those who will come after. But the answers offered by religion feel insufficient, and scientific knowledge has advanced to the point that it is beyond the understanding of laymen. It would be wonderful to participate in the vast endeavor of scientific discovery and make a contribution, but the advancement of science will not end in my lifetime and will probably never end. I need answers that make sense here and now.


Many of these lenses derive from my belief that, as individuals and as a species, self-regulating mechanisms push us toward balance and reason and compassion. Our worst experiences and dreams can help nudge us in the right direction as if some force were trying to navigate a huge ship down a river, with the crudest of controls -- a push this way, then a push that way. Toward what goal?


These 111 short essays cover --

- "Big questions" like the meaning of life, the nature of time and reality

- Identity, memory and communication

- Understanding the world we live in, including evolution and climate change

- Politics and government, with practical suggestions for solving deep-seated problems

- Literature, reading, and writing, including the impact of the Internet and ebooks

- History, with tidbits on trends from ancient history up to the present day

- Business and product ideas that could easily be implemented for the benefit of many


Comparables --

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Fulghum

Thursdays with Morrie by Albom

The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli  privacy statement