Love, science and the re-enchantment of the world

by Jeremy W. Hayward


    The prevailing scientific view of the world today teaches us that the natural world around us consists of dead matter. We no longer understand it as animate and animated, but as an accumulation of substances and chemical processes whose mechanisms we try to fathom in order to make use of them. We often deny that it has a profoundly living dimension. And this despite the fact that not only all religions and primitive peoples, but also modern evolutionary cosmology assume a completely different experience: a world in which matter and life are not contradictory. In "Letters to Vanessa", Jeremy Hayward, himself a physicist and molecular biologist, shows his daughter a way out of the life-threatening limitations of our materialistic world view by presenting the latest findings of neurology, cognitive science, new biology and new physics in an accessible and easy-to-understand way, just as Jostein Gaarder did for philosophy. This is an important and vivid book at a time when our understanding of science and values is undergoing radical change. In a playful way, it makes it clear that the natural sciences today are in the process of saying goodbye to the model of a "dead world" and finding their way back to an understanding of a cosmos permeated by consciousness right down to the supposedly inanimate matter.

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