Metaphysics isn't ordinarily much of a laughing matter. But in the hands of acclaimed comedy writer and scholar Eric Kaplan, a search for the truth about old St. Nick becomes a deeply insightful, laugh-out-loud discussion of the way some things exist but may not really be there - just like Santa and his reindeer. Even after we outgrow the jolly fellow, the essential paradox persists: There are some things we dearly believe in that are not universally acknowledged as real. In Does Santa Exist?, Kaplan shows how philosophy giants Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein strove to smooth over this uncomfortable meeting of the real and unreal - and failed. From there he turns to mysticism's attempts to resolve such paradoxes. Finally, he alights on comedy as the ultimate resolution of the fundamental paradoxes of life. Kaplan delves deeper into what this means, from how our physical brains work to his own personal confrontations with life's biggest questions: If we're all going to die, what's the point of anything? What is a perfect moment? What can you say about God? Or Santa?
©2014 Eric Linus Kaplan (P)2014 Tantor
"Eric Kaplan's Does Santa Exist? is the funniest book of philosophy since... well, ever." (Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons)
Worst book I have ever read. The title has nothing to do with the content. I still have no clue what this book is about. He rambles on jumping from one idea to the other. I wanted to poke my eyes out.
I was intrigued by the opening storyline of this book. A mother cancels a playdate at the zoo because she is afraid that while looking at the reindeer a conversation about Santa will begin, and she doesn't want her son to know that there is no Santa. If this were to happen to me I would boil over with anger and resentment. Eric Kaplan is a better person than I am however, and after this happened to him he decided to write a book that would help him come to understand this mother better.
There is little in philosophy that this book doesn't cover. The buddha, kabalism, as well as christianity all get tied up in the Santa conspiracy. The author would be a blast at cocktail parties; all sorts of intellectual challenges with laugh out loud humor made the book very entertaining. There is a section on comedy as a philosophy, an argument I had not heard before.
I will probably always feel that anyone who portrays Santa as anything other than make believe is doing more harm than good. This book is probably the best argument out there as to why I'm wrong.
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