I loved the “The Accidental Universe” by Alan Lightman. I found it in a list of The Best Science Books of 2014 by Brain Pickings and it is available at my local library.
My favorite essay is “The Spiritual Universe — Does God Exist?”. For some reason this essay made me feel very happy. You can read the first half of this essay here.
In the last essay “The Disembodied Universe” he talks about how science has helped us dig deeper into nature and then talks about how we have become dependent on machines for our experience of nature. Very interesting. It’s not all bad, and it’s not all good. Here are some excerpts from this essay
page 128 Since Foucault, more and more, of what we know about the universe is undetected and undetectable by our bodies. What we see with our eyes, what we hear with our ears, what we feel with our fingertips, is only a sliver of reality. Little by little, using artificial devices, we have uncovered a hidden reality. It is often a reality that violates common sense. Is is often a reality strange to our bodies. It is a reality that forces us to re-examine our most basic concepts of how the world works. And it is a reality that discounts the present moment and our immediate experience of the world.
page 136 It is an irony to me that the same science and technology that have brought us closer to nature by revealing these invisible worlds have also separated us from nature and ourselves. Much of our contact with the world today is not an immediate, direct experience, but is instead mediated by various artificial devices such as televisions, cell phones, iPads, chat rooms, and mind-altering drugs.
page 137 But the psychological change accompanying these technologies is more subtle, and perhaps more important. Consciously and unconsciously, we ahve gradually grown accustomed to experiencing the world through disembodied machines and instruments.
More – Links
There is a lot written about this great book. Here are a few places to explore. /enjoy
- Essay – The Accidental Universe via Harpers Magazine.
- Essay – The Spiritual Universe ( part 1 of 2) via Salon
- [Six Questions] | The Accidental Universe, by Alan Lightman | Harper’s Magazine
- Godliness in the Known and the Unknowable: Alan Lightman on Science and Spirituality | Brain Pickings
- Alan Lightman on Our Yearning for Immortality and Why We Long for Permanence in a Universe of Constant Change | Brain Pickings