Oren Harman, "Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World" (FSG, 2018)

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“There are only two ways to live your life,” said Albert Einstein, “One is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Oren Harman clearly agrees with Einstein’s sentiments. In Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018), Harman takes scientific facts, as we know them today, and weaves them into narratives that have the tone, grace and drama of myth. Harman recognizes that despite the astounding achievements of science we are as humbled as the ancients by the existential mysteries of life. Has science revealed the secrets of fate or immortality? Has it provided protection from jealousy insight into love?

Evolutions brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe, and the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Here are the earth and the moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, and the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies.

Renee Garfinkel is a Jerusalem-based psychologist, writer, and television & radio commentator. Write her at r.garfinkel@yahoo.com or tweet @embracingwisdom.

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