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“Sophie’s World” by Jostein Gaarder Essay

After I read “Sophie’s World” by Jostein Gaarder, I was opened up to the different ways of thinking by many well-known philosophers. Each philosopher had their own point of view and ways of thinking. Ranging from religious perspectives to over the top ideas that were unaccepted by the people of their time, these men tried to answer philosophical questions such as “What is our purpose in life?” and “Where did the world come from?”. During their times, such thinking was looked down upon and some even got executed for threatening their cultures way of thinking. Socrates, who encouraged his pupils to increase their range of beliefs, got poisoned for breaking ancient Greek religious views and was said to be ‘corrupting the youth’. A few of these philosophers had points that agreed with my own beliefs, such as Soren Kierkegaard.

Kierkegaard said that the truth does not only lie in objective things such as facts, but also in subjective things. He believed that life was more about your own values and beliefs rather than reason and strict rules. I relate to his laid back since of mind, because I am a laid back type of person. Many of today’s creative ways of thinking would not have been achieved without someone just relying completely on their own imagination. Even though this book was intriguing, it really didn’t change my way of thinking. Yes, it was entertaining to learn about how ancient philosophers tried to explain the world, I’m not sure it impacted my life in any way. Like all of these philosophers changed by brain teasing ideas that were forced upon me. I did agree with some points that these philosophers made, but only ones that supported my Christian faith.

The book itself said “Where both reason and experience fall short, there occurs a vacuum that can be filled by faith.” Science and philosophy can only go so far. Science can explain why things have to hit the ground after it had been thrown and philosophy can attempt to explain if it didn’t hit the ground one time why a grown person would be more shocked than a kid. But the fact is no one can explain why something happens at a certain time, at a certain place. Only faith can do that. Even though those philosophers attempted to explain things like where the Earth came from, none of them ever came to an agreeable conclusion. This book did make me think deeper about some of the concepts that were easier to grasp, but I believe philosophy is something I am not interested in.

However, I did take interest in the section of the book about psychology,and I think many of the philosophers could have also been classified as psychologists also. This section included interesting facts about dreaming and the subconscious mind. Philosophers sometimes supported their reasoning with observations from the subconscious mind. For example, unexplainable things easily classified as ‘supernatural’ actually came from the imaginative part of the brain. These chapters taught me that the brain can do impressive things, even while sleeping! Studies show that the brain usually sends messages from the conscious brain to the unconscious brain in the form of dreams.

Even if you don’t realize it, your brain is secretly telling itself what it wants during your sleep and it is receiving them and analyzing them as images that we would see when we are awake. That’s how some dreams feel so real when they are clearly just your unconscious mind “speaking” to you. All together, “Sophie’s World”, like every other book, has its pros and cons. To completely enjoy the book, let the book take you to places you never thought possible. Open your eyes and prepare for the ride of your life, one you will never forget.


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