Imagine what aliens would think about human civilization if they came to earth. Would they view us as incorrigible killers and predators, or as sentient animals trying to live above and beyond our genetic heritage?
In “Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives On Civilization,” Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explores the complex issues and interactions that societies and civilizations throughout history have dealt with, including war, power, race, gender, religion, education and more. He offers an even-handed critique and reasonable recommendations for improvement of the human condition using the scientific method and defines it simply as:
“Do whatever it takes to avoid fooling yourself into believing that something is true when it is false, or that something is false when it is true.Neil deGrasse Tyson
Not only does deGrasse Tyson examine controversial and serious subjects about us, he also injects his wonderful knowledge of astrophysics and the cosmos into the mix, weaving the mystery and vastness of the universe with the microcosm that is Earth.
And as always, humor is part of his equation. One of the funniest is his reference to a short story by sci-fi author Terry Bisson, who wrote a story in 1990 called “They’re Made Of Meat,” in which two aliens discuss their impressions of humans. A paraphrased shortened version:
Alien #1 “They’re made of meat.”
Alien #2 “Meat? That’s impossible! What about the radio signals?”
Alien #1 “The radio waves come from machines.”
Alien #2 “Who made the machines?”
Alien #1 “Meat made the machines!”
Alien #2 “Ridiculous! You’re asking me to believe in sentient meat?”
I highly recommend “Starry Messenger!” It’s thought-provoking, educational, and humorous!
Review written by: Larry Pollack
Pair It With:
Luce Red Wine: This ripe, juicy wine with the notes of berry and chocolate is perfect for filling a large glass and sitting down with a captivating book.