Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Bringing his cosmic perspective to civilization on Earth, Neil deGrasse Tyson shines new light on the crucial fault lines of our time—war, politics, religion, truth, beauty, gender, and race—in a way that stimulates a deeper sense of unity for us all.
In a time when our political and cultural views feel more polarized than ever, Tyson provides a much-needed antidote to so much of what divides us, while making a passionate case for the twin chariots of enlightenment—a cosmic perspective and the rationality of science.
After thinking deeply about how science sees the world and about Earth as a planet, the human brain has the capacity to reset and recalibrates life’s priorities, shaping the actions we might take in response. No outlook on culture, society, or civilization remains untouched.
With crystalline prose, Starry Messenger walks us through the scientific palette that sees and paints the world differently. From insights on resolving global conflict to reminders of how precious it is to be alive, Tyson reveals, with warmth and eloquence, an array of brilliant and beautiful truths that apply to us all, informed and enlightened by knowledge of our place in the universe.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Recalibrate your view of human society with this fascinating book from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Using examples ranging from the ethics of veganism to how our legal system defines “disability,” Tyson looks at societal conventions through a scientific lens. The book is also packed with thought exercises in which he demonstrates how using a scientific, data-driven approach would help us make better progress, quell disagreements, and save us from quite a few headaches. If you’re looking for real solutions in a world that often feels mired in conflict, don’t pass up Starry Messenger.
Science can shed light on "some of the most discussed and debated topics of our time," writes astrophysicist Tyson (Cosmic Queries) in this cursory outing. While "people no longer know who or what to trust" and "sow hatred of others... without regard to what is true," a nice dose of scientific perspective and "rational thinking" can help that, Tyson posits. He covers several contemporary critical subjects, including gender ("One day, we may discover or otherwise affirm no discrete categories at all, as the multidimensional gender universe unfolds along a continuum"), racism (were an alien to witness "our divided ways," they'd report "no sign of intelligent life"), and vegetarianism (all food "come from killing and eating other forms of life in our ecosystem"). Tyson's at his best when he explains what he sees as the unique power of science, touting the "self-regulating" nature of the scientific method and asserting that "conformity in science is anathema to progress." Unfortunately, his examples are mostly trite, and a few proclamations come across as somewhat naive—a discussion of how to unite Republicans and Democrats draws on the low-judgment, "common love of imagination" found at ComicCon, for example. This quick and somewhat glib recap of the social value of science will likely leave readers wanting.