BASIC TEACHINGS OF THE GREAT PHILOSOPHERS was one of the first two philosophy books I read, The other was Will Durrant's THE STORY OF PHILOSOPHY which outlined in historical order the stories of everyone from Plato to John Dewey. GREAT PHILOSOPHERS was the perfect alternative approach because each chapter focussed on one of the great philosophical questions and gave all of each philosopher's contributions to that particular debate.

For what it was worth I eventually added my own thoughts to each issue in verse.







Galaxies, Galaxies, Galaxies,

Each one a nebulous, drifting, starry mist,

Whirling pools of eternal light,

By God's unending energy kissed,

Matter blending into phantasies,


Vast starry sea,

Of fire and earth and life and air,

A multi-elemental flux,

A constant changing, changeless flux,

A timeless mosaic that vanishes to reappear,

In patterns of infinity.


Each pin-point flame,

Vast beyond all scope of human mind,

Matter enclosing knowledge,

Striving to attain its perfect form,

The Will of God that all must seek and find,

Or start the circle yet again.


A panoramic stage of strife,

For tragedy, for drama, and for mirth,

For love and fears,

For hate and tears,

Where every death begets a birth,

And conflict is the stuff of life.


A triad of balance,

Energy for thrust and growth and change,

Thought that expands,

Through realization of itself,

And threads of soul in order to maintain,

Fluctuating permanence.


A universe of galaxies,

Patterns in the stars that shine,

Becoming and dispersing,

Fading and emerging,

Repeated through the paths of time,

The systems of eternity.








In God's great universal chart,

Man is but a jigsaw part,

Not meaningless nor yet the heart.


His place is here upon this earth,

To play his part for all his worth,

And then dissolve through death to birth.


His flesh is naught but living dust,

Chained by pains and fears and lust,

But strive to reach the stars he must.


For through him runs the timeless thread,

That weaves the living and the dead,

To guide the future where the past once led.


Each man has from his mother come,

Each man is his father's son,

The timeless triad of the One.






In the eyes of a man,

Life is good,

And evil the taint that mars,

But all is a pattern of shades,

In the eye of the stars.


All the evils of the world,

Greed and lust and hate and pride,

Are the limited views of a selfish mind,

Good is wisdom,

Understanding above intelligence,

And compassion for all mankind.


To live as you would have others live,

Tod do as you would have others do,

As Kant wrote, is the Golden Rule,

All opposite is evil,

But evil is necessary to the whole.


Intelligence must grow from ignorance,

Understanding from intelligence,

Compassion from understanding,

Good and evil' are but opposite ends.

Of the ascending scale.


In the eyes of a man,

There are extremes,

Where diverse forces wage their wars,

But all is a moving picture,

In the eye of the stars.