Title : This Mobius Strip of Ifs
Author : Mathias B. Freese
Publisher : Wheatmark
ISBN : 978-1-60494-723-6
As I received this book, the title intrigued me to a great extent. I had no clue what the term 'Mobius Strip' means so obviously searched the web to find out about the same. A Mobius Strip is actually a twisted ribbon or is described as a surface with only one side. It is the basis of some scientific models and is used as a metaphor by mathematicians and physicists. It illustrates how, for people like us, it is almost impossible to even imagine any other dimension outside the known four dimensions.
Freese has used the same fundamental approach in order to explain the possibilities which are beyond our comprehension and perception.
The book is primarily an array of essays which are written addressing a medley of aspects - author's reminiscences, his observations, his understanding, his evaluation and his learning from the whole process of living life for 67 years. These essays actually give the readers an unadulterated insight into a thinking person's mind touching various topics ranging from his personal thoughts and relationships to very generic comments on his teaching profession and his struggle with the society.
He discusses about the bond between body and mind and how they both need to work in perfect tandem in order to accomplish the simple yet hard to achieve task of 'living in the moment'. He highlights this point by saying - 'Most of us are unprepared for living until the very hour we die. We give little organized thought - awareness, if you will - to our mortality. We are obsessed with peripherals - and false needs. '
Mathias' lucid and brutally true comments on teaching are admirable and in order to strengthen my point, here is a quote from the book- 'He teaches English in a suburban school. It is not unlike other high schools in that real learning is not carried out. The implicit assumption is that education need not have vision or be real. It is a holding action. For some it is too frightening or wasteful to really work with young people in the kind of intimate and caring way they crave. After all, the teaching profession does not attract the best because it does not encourage what is best in us.'
An introspective and thought provoking letter to a student deserves a very special mention too and I would not like to divulge the details of the same and spoil the interest of the readers.
The uniqueness of these essays is that all are disjoint articles which works at two levels - it keeps the anticipation alive as to what is going to come next and each of these can be read individually too.
The impressive part about these essays is that the author seamlessly moves through these numerous varied topics without running into the risk of losing the attention of the readers. Rather the readers would surely find many things to relate to during the whole narrative. I, for instance found a few passages perfectly cloaking my inner personal feelings. The feelings expressed straight from the heart are sure to stir many chords for various readers at varied levels.
Mathias Freese is a psychotherapist and an English teacher and offers a great piece of writing which incites the readers to introspect and reflect on the events and the whole lives running past them. It encourages the readers to analyze the life truthfully and sincerely. It is a profound self help book without making it apparent or being preachy. But it definitely is not a book which you should just finish off in a few hours. These essays are to be chewed and digested to get the best flavour, taste and eventually the maximum benefit out of them.