Recently, I got my hands on Dr. Samuel Rocha’s small book titled, A Primer for Philosophy & Education. I was privileged to read it during its final stages, of which I was blown away. Now, seeing behind a cover bound together I have my sense of discovery renewed and passion for philosophy affirmed. In some ways I felt as if I was being re-taught even though I already have a Bachelors degree in Philosophy, yet it Dr. Rocha’s perspectives and words are refreshing. Yet, refreshing doesn’t quite capture what I mean. What I really mean is that it isn’t refreshing in the sense that it’s ‘new’ or something, like a cup of ice water on a parched throat. It’s refreshing in the way that it is to look over a breathtaking landscape that you’ve just arrived.
This is all aside that I have next to no background in the educational field, aside from a little dabbling in reading articles and having a girlfriend, who has a degree in education. I’m only going to speak on parts of the book that I had my strongest reaction, though in actuality the entire work contains my strongest reaction; it is the reality that education, philosophy and love are intertwined within the nature of Man.
The Preface of the book contains a rather helpful explanation of Dr. Rocha’s intentions and aim for audience. Within a few lines we as the reader have a strong sense and feel of who is speaking and what will be spoken upon, though I was unprepared how deep Dr. Rocha was going to go.
Moving through to the introduction, the beat is set and pace is healthily kept fast. Dr. Rocha is conscientious of not being repetitious as some philosophers can be and says his point and moves on. His reference is always based upon his experience, but he does not shy away from grasping a theoretical strand to pull his reader along. I found myself underling numerous passages, “To Be serious about something is to take it as it is and teat it accordingly.”
To aid the reader he lends a beautiful analogy of priming versus painting, which is that of thinking versus philosophy. I won’t move into anything further than that, because you should read the book and Dr. Rocha does the waxing much more eloquent that any paraphrase would do injustice.
Another main thrust that has been missing from mainstream philosophy is the emphasis of action versus inaction. Commonly inaction is seen in speaking, being neutral, or literally inaction. Philosophers have been so often accused of being ‘ivory tower’ and sadly that has been kept true, considering society has successfully locked philosophers into academia and the university. Yet, Dr. Rocha provides the answer that in reality philosophy is an act that must be created by the individual. Yet, how does philosophy act? It is simply put by Dr. Rocha, “Show more than you say…Some thing. A thing. More than just words.”
The next few sections of the book place emphasis upon the tools of philosophy which is things/objects and language itself. Even differentiating two types of knowledge in less than five pages Dr. Rocha is not through, he still has one last blow in order to make sure you remember his Primer. This last blow, this crème de la crème is the necessity of Love. After all what else encourages children to learn more than love? Love is that which brings men together and binds them into a society that brings forth the good of the other. It is the reality that makes a man, a person, and therefore something that cannot plunge his own depths without the help of another.
And I could not close this review any better than with the closing paragraph of Dr. Rocha’s Primer:
Love alone is necessary and sufficient for all things. Everything else is secondary. Without love, this primer, this class and this life are senseless, futile, and in vain. Be in love. Dwell in it, and you will surely be primed for whatever comes your way.
You can buy it here: From Amazon.com
And if you want to know more about Dr. Samuel Rocha you can find that here: Sam Rocha