In this slim volume, Gregory Wilson, a Jamaican-born poet and educator, presents a collection of personal philosophies on life, the oneness of humanity and the power of the individual to make positive changes in the world.
Motivated by his love for humanity, Wilson’s writings are his “humble way of helping to build…society…[and] bring health and healing to your bones.” He explores a variety of topics: friendship, dreams, slavery, justice, and politics, to name a few. Ultimately, he believes man to be the greatest enemy of humanity and desires to “construct a new human being—one that is peaceful, loving, kind, and gregarious.”
Although he mentions prayer, God, and often paraphrases popular Bible scriptures, Wilson never officially grounds his ideas in one religion. His work feels somewhat like a new religion where man is the answer to all problems, as evidenced in the following: “I took one look at my reflection…and found all the answers for which I am looking.”
Wilson’s experience as a literature teacher and recognized poet shows in his eloquence and the brief thought-provoking poems that preface each essay. However, at times he talks down to his readers. For example, after what he considers a profound thought, he asks, “Have you ever thought of this? Never?” or “You never thought about that, right?” The assumption that his readers are of a lower intellect will be a turn-off to many.
Additionally, many of Wilson’s teachings are too vague to be useful. Comments like “build true and lasting realities…create a source of limitless wealth for yourself” and “multiply your presence” sound profound, but he fails to fully explain how to accomplish these grand feats. Finally, his constant use of the word “persons” for people is distracting, and proper punctuation would have been helpful in his poetry.
Overall, Wilson’s humanist ideas are positive, but his meandering collection of topics makes it difficult to determine the proper audience for these essays.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.