Book Review: The Dawn of a Mindful Universe
Climate change experts have warned us for decades of the devastating consequences to come if we don’t change the way we interact with the natural world. So then, why does the air quality continue to plummet and our bodies of water continue to clog up with debris? The answer, according to award-winning astronomer and physicist Marcelo Gleiser, lies in redefining humanity’s role in the story of the universe.
According to Gleiser, during the past several centuries, humankind has been taught to believe that planet Earth is just one giant rock among countless others of varying sizes in the cosmos, and that we have little control over the fate of the universe. At the same time, he says, societal mores and advances in transportation have facilitated humankind, which has been fragmented into like-minded communities. This book is a manifesto for humanity to come together and see the Earth for the special place it is within the universe, teeming with life. This manifesto maintains that Earth’s inhabitants have a unique responsibility as the only known intelligent beings in the universe: to become the heroes who will save planet Earth from becoming, indeed, just one more uninhabited rock.
This deeply researched, sometimes poetic book provides a history of how science has viewed the cosmos over the centuries, colored by the author’s passionate belief that we must rethink the ideals of the Enlightenment. He proposes a new direction for humanity, a model where we do see ourselves as the center of the universe—and use that power to regain a clear moral compass that guides science, politics, and our interactions with each other and nature.
As Gleiser says, “The realization that we have a cosmic role, that we are interconnected with all that exists ... has the power to reshape our destiny.”