on 16 April 1999
There is probably no better way to introduce the non-scientist to the philosophical implications of the emerging 'quantum' worldview. As a mathematical cosmologist, Brian understands the details behind the amazing revelations of the 'new physics' and with unique talent weaves a wonderful tale of the complementary meaning we must see in these details. I have used this book as a primary text in courses I have taught in science and society and years later had students recall with great fondness the sense of awe, spirit and personal vision it awakened in them. This is not another work of the nice but limited science-and -religion-are-the-same school, but a truly deep and accessable presentation of the new scientific worldview that combines technical understanding with spiritual meaning. A true gem that educates and inspires hope!
on 1 February 2006
This has to be my all time favourite book. I have lost count of the number of copies that I have owned and given away. Swimme's accessible and poetic writing evokes a sense of child-like awe and wonder at the cosmos, grounded in (what was at the time) cutting edge scientific theory. He takes the cliche 'we are all made of stardust'and gives it depth, meaning, reality. Who could resist the idea that we are physically changed - become a different being - simply by looking at the moon?
Critics could - and probably have - accused Swimme of anthorpomorphism. I prefer to see just the opposite: that he shows how patterns of human behaviour and feeling mirror those occuring throughout the universe, from sub-atomic to cosmological level.
Swimme places the human as the vehicle through which the whole of the cosmos is able to appreciate itself. And by doing so, leaves one with a sense of power, place and purpose. An inspiration.
on 1 January 1999
As a supplement to the thoughts of Lonergan, Ursula Franklin, Thomas Aquinas, and Plato, this book serves to put into poetic terms the dance of physics, biology, cognitive thought, creation, evolution, spirituality, psychology, love, life, death, meaning, and essentially everything else this universe holds. It was interesting to see this work done in the matter of the dialogues - it worked for the Greeks for teaching difficult topics. The book holds much more meaning if you have already studied concepts of life, such as those expressed by Lonergan. The reader is really forced to think in a completely different manner in order to understand Swimme's thoughts. You look at everything differently after reading this; you gain a new love of life and in the process become more human. I would whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in life and existence, no matter what your background knowledge is. Best thing out there!
It's rare these days I read a book and can almost cry because it is so beautiful, but this is one of them. Clearly this book will be of most benefit to those on a journey of spiritual significance and those asking questions about life and what it all means. It presents ideas and concepts in such a way as to make them so easy to appreciate and it really does take your mind outside of the box. To come away from this book with an appreciation we are, in effect, all the products of the universe (and therefore 14 billion years old, since our component parts were created to some degree in the big bang) gives you such a unique slant on life; this is just one of many great ideas covered here. The writing style is informal but deceptively clear. I am not sure what the general population would make of this book (those not asking major questions about the universe) but I cannot rate it highly enough and it's one of only a couple of books I'll read a second time.
on 22 March 1999
When I was a teenager this book was given to me by a stranger. It has positively contributed to my ideas and understanding of science and man's conception of the world. I recommend it to people who are interested in understanding how those who believe in a god incorporate science into their beliefs. It is a very interesting and enjoyable introduction to environmental thought.
on 15 August 1998
This book is terrific. Using the classical dialogue between teacher and student, the dynamics of the universe unfold like gentle breezes on an Autumn afternoon. There is just too much in this book to praise. It is a rare blend of science and poetry. Clearly Brians best book to date. It's the best book ever written by anyone associated with Creation Spirituality (Matthew Fox and Thomas Berry included). If you are a scientist, teacher, spiritual, or any human; if you look at a butterfly and are happy, or gaze up at the Milky Way and are filled with awe, this book was written by the universe to call you into the stupendous dance of joy, creativity, and love.
on 30 October 2010
Like another reviewer, I was given this book when I was a teenager, and it did have a pronounced effect on me for which I am truly grateful. Coming from a Christian upbringing, I had developed a sense of unease about the viability of this as a world view by my mid teens. I found this book inspirational at instilling a sense of wonder of the magnitude of the events that have shaped the universe, and in particular how we as humans come to exist. In doing so, it cemented for me the irreconcilable differences between a god viewed through the teachings of religion and the cosmic scale of where we come from. That every carbon atom in your body was formed billions of years ago in a supernova, is a staggering concept to get your head around, and the authors do a great job of conveying that.
The language can be rather glutinous if you don't buy into that sense of wonder, and the florid phrasing can sometimes seem an awkward and apologetic attempt to gel together two conflicting systems of belief in religion and science.
I'm sure many people find different things in this book, and will embrace the proposed Christian / science fusion, but for me it only half worked. I got a lot from the book, albeit not what the what was intended by the giver (who is a religious minister).
In terms of an updated view that provides alternate views of how and _why_ the universe unfolded to create us, and which gives answers to fill the gaps of the science of the time of this book into which the authors insert a deity, I'd highly recommend The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.
on 19 April 1999
I was blessed to have had the opportunity to study this book while in college. Swimme's dynamic writing style and grasp on the mystical is refreshing in these days of atheism and agnosticism. I highly recommend any and all of his works, as well as those of Thomas Berry and Matthew Fox. They free us from the pain of modern theology and it's uninclusiveness, and opens up the divine for all to share.
on 15 September 1998
Read this book. I do not align myself, or my opinion of this book with any organized belief system...religious or otherwise. I simply enjoyed the ideas and their method of delivery that Swimme chose. I purchased the book based solely on it's title...after reading it, I thought it was so great I ended up giving it away! I'm at Amazon.Com today to buy another copy, my 6th! It's worth it, believe me.
on 13 April 1998
To meet the modern crisis, Swimme says we need nothing less than a new creation story, a new cosmology.In the light of the new physics, this is what he presents.He says we are such stuff as stars are made of.The cosmos values those who awake to the splendor of the universe.The wonder that is a child has to be appreciated by adults.Our life purpose is to honour the beauty and wonder of the universe.We have to re-invent ourselves as the heart and mind of the universe.We have to move away from a merely human centered view into the cosmocentric, unfolding universe.Our primary teacher is the universe itself.This is a truly inspiring work that lifts us out of a hum-drum existence into an exciting universe fraught with cosmic purpose.Are we up to the challenge?Will we live like blind worms crawling on their bellies?Or will we be charged with star power and grasp our destiny as creators of a new world?Read this book and take a chance!