The Book of Twos
How do we find and make meaning in life as it presents itself to us in dazzling variety and puzzling opaqueness? In The Book of Twos Joseph Amato explores how the concept of twos—contrasts, comparisons, polarities, dualities, and contradictions—has been fundamental to human thought from infant development to national identities, from poetic metaphors to scientific discoveries, from historical movements to religious faith, and from the divided self to philosophical systems. In his telling twos become who we are..
This complex work of scholarship burrows with energy and curiosity into the big topics of history, religion, art, philosophy, war, politics, and language. The book devotes significant space to essential figures who have considered those topics at length: Montaigne, whom Amato calls the "Master of Twos," William James, and Isaiah Berlin. Here, too, are Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Dostoevsky, and Freud.
Here, too, is language, especially analogy and metaphor, as used by poets and politicians, rhetoricians and historians: twos show us good, they show us evil. They lead to great art, they lead to atrocity. They lead from simple comparisons to complex civilizations. They lead to contemplative faith, they lead to groundbreaking science.
Here, ultimately, are twos both small and big, pointing to who we are and where we live, and what it all means.