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When the Dog Speaks, the Philosopher Listens: A guide to the greatness of Pythagoras and his Curious Age

By Nigel McGilchrist

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We distinguish easily between random noise and the beauty of harmonic music. 2,500 years ago, one thinker explained very clearly why this was. He had a simple experiment to prove it. He went on to suggest that the same phenomenon lay behind the difference between chaos and the multiform universe we inhabit. He also proposed that this principle should govern the conduct of our lives, our relations with one another, and with the natural world. He suggested that it ordered the movement of the heavenly bodies. For him, it was simply what filled the whole cosmos, rather than the will of capricious, squabbling, deities. In conceiving these things, he opened the gates of philosophy and scientific speculation, and ushered us through. 


He travelled, wrote little or nothing, and thought a lot. He listened carefully to a number of fascinating ideas and observations which intrigued him, and which came out of the East, from Asia. He took them and transformed them in a way that was to change the nature of human consciousness and the thinking of the West for ever. He came from a place that naturally ‘transformed’ everything, because it was the bridge between Asia and Europe – East and West. That place was Greece. His name was Pythagoras. 


In this un-stuffy, but beautifully and passionately written, book, one of history’s least understood geniuses is brought to life for us, and takes us by the hand.

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