Foreword Reviews

The Irreducible Primary

A Dialogue on Nature, Spirituality, and the Human Condition

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

Rob Taylor’s The Irreducible Primary is a heartwarming and sometimes surprising exploration of what it means to be human.

The Irreducible Primary by Rob Taylor is an intellectual and philosophical contemplation of spiritual issues, interspersed with poems on the same topics.

The text aims to serve as a guiding voice for the spiritually curious or for those who are religiously agnostic and searching for a dialogue. Each chapter approaches an abstract philosophical idea and presents a meditation on it from the author’s point of view. Though it sometimes operates at too abstract a level, The Irreducible Primary is both eloquent and confident as it presents advice and solutions to worldly, social, and personal problems.

Humanity is the book’s “irreducible primary.” In one instance, this means that humans cannot achieve spiritual intelligence through connections with their family, their religion, or their government, and instead must connect to all other humans in order to transcend anxiety and instability.

The book’s philosophy steers clear of notions of predestination and sentient gods. Instead, it promotes a balance between existential responsibility and aiming for spiritual wisdom. For the author, these are one and the same: by making yourself the best human you can be, you contribute to the well being of the human race. All of the world’s issues, both great and small, come down to a lack of universal, unconditional love.

Perhaps because the text is short, it lacks the nuance necessary to tease out its broad statements. It focuses on individual but abstract methods for mindfulness rather than practical solutions to the problems it discusses, including inequality and the fight for world peace.

Language is academic and intellectual, though not to an alienating degree. Prose is taut and easy to work through. Its voice is confident, purposeful, and inspiring throughout. About twice per chapter, short poems work to add a creative touch to the book’s exposition. These poems are not well executed, though, and are not distinct enough to contribute much that is fresh.

This book’s solution to global tragedies revolves around unconditional love and a reconsideration of how humans view themselves and their society. It raises important questions and puts forth surprising ideas. In many of its turns, it proves to be a refreshing addition to the ranks of works that also try to answer the world’s toughest questions.

Rob Taylor’s The Irreducible Primary is a heartwarming and sometimes surprising exploration of what it means to be human.

Reviewed by Mya Alexice

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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