Kybalion Review

From Goodreads

I would have rated this better, for the ideas included are often interesting and the philosophy is tightly woven with the most modern science at the time of writing, which I appreciate, but I despised the writing style. It was unnecessarily lofty and had a tendency to draw itself out unnecessarily, eventually reminding me of that one person at the party who cannot stop talking about themselves.

I recognize that to an extent the writing style is a product of its time (it was published in 1908) and yet I’ve read older texts that I struggled less with (Frankenstein comes to mind, or any of the Gnostic gospels). By the end it was a chore I was determined to conquer, not anything I was learning from.

I addition to the certain datedness of the writing itself, plenty of the science cited is predictably (and to be expected) dated as well, but many modern scientific theories can easily be applied in the place of outdated ones. That said there were definitely sections of the book in which it was plain that the author(s) were somewhat stretching the scientific understandings at the time to fit with their philosophies. In other areas they do acknowledge gaps between scientific understanding and their philosophies, but they largely dismiss this as science not yet being “caught up.”

In terms of subject matter and ideas, it is interesting to read. I only wish it weren’t such a slog, as some of the ideas contained are definitely worth reflection and consideration, though I strongly warn against the temptation to believe that the author(s) was/were part of an unbroken chain of Hermetic practice. It’s possible but highly improbable, and in reading texts like this it is good to keep your wits about you and critical thinking at the ready, not give way to a likely fraudulent appeal to authority.


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