113: The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos by Brian Swimme

by Gerard


113: Swimme, Brian. The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos: Humanity and the New Story. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996. 112 pp. ISBN 1-57075-281-8.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 100: Philosophy and Psychology
  • 110: Metaphysics
  • 113: Cosmology (Philosophy of nature)

Brian Swimme’s The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos is one of the weirdest books I’ve read in a long time. In one fell swoop, he declares capitalism the new cult of our age and urges parents to replace evangelist doctrine with teachings of astronomy, science, and cosmology. His main invective is against the constant barrage of advertisements, product placement, and consumer behavior that gets ingrained into children, thereby teaching them that the meaning of life is in things and not ideas. While this is not an entirely crazy notion, his hippy-dippy awe of the universe sometime gets in the way of his message.

Swimme truly believes science has better lessons to teach than anything else. It has rules, champions rationality, and gives understanding (when it can). He believes that if people truly understood the workings of nature and the universe around them, then they would devote more of their lives to understanding more. He does a pretty good job of illustrating how earlier scientific revolutions played a large part in bettering society and how a new revolution is just what we need, but the purple prose surrounding the awe and majesty of the universe can be a little much. It’s a quick read, but it will leave your head swimming (sorry about the pun) in an odd philosophical fog.