Book Review: The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars

The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars by Jo Marchant

Jo Marchant has written a fascinating and thought provoking tour of humankind’s relationship with the cosmos. Covering history, philosophy, religion, art and psychedelic drugs among other things, Marchant weaves together a compelling narrative. I’ve seen this book compared to Harari’s Sapiens. Both books tackle big questions and seek answers across diverse fields of thought. 

For much of our history human beings have looked to the stars. We’ve imagined our gods living among them. We’ve looked up among them for signs and predictions, both for our societies and for ourselves. Science has shown that much of life on earth has evolved internal clocks that synchronize patterns of our behavior to the rhythms of the sun and moon. But today there are few stars visible from most cities, and we humans no longer look to the heavens for answers to our problems.

The Human Cosmos helps illuminate how our relationship to the wider universe has influenced humanity, and what we may be missing out on today - from an urban view of the stars themselves to a lack of understanding of the reality of life itself.

Looking across bookish websites I see that this book was widely praised as a top science book of 2020. It is certainly among the top books I’ve read this year. Five Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ for The Human Cosmos. 

The Human Cosmos links:

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