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Download The Meaning of Human Existence Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Meaning of Human Existence, by Edward  O. Wilson Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edward O. Wilson Narrator: Jonathan Hogan Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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How did humanity originate and why does a species like ours exist on this planet? Do we have a special place, even a destiny in the universe? Where are we going, and perhaps, the most difficult question of all, why?

In The Meaning of Human Existence, his most philosophical work to date, Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson grapples with these and other existential questions, examining what makes human beings supremely different from all other species. Searching for meaning in what Nietzsche once called “the rainbow colors” around the outer edges of knowledge and imagination, Wilson takes his readers on a journey, in the process bridging science and philosophy to create a twenty-first-century treatise on human existence—from our earliest inception to a provocative look at what the future of mankind portends.

Continuing his groundbreaking examination of our “Anthropocene Epoch,” which he began with The Social Conquest of Earth, described by the New York Times as “a sweeping account of the human rise to domination of the biosphere,” here Wilson posits that we, as a species, now know enough about the universe and ourselves that we can begin to approach questions about our place in the cosmos and the meaning of intelligent life in a systematic, indeed, in a testable way.

Once criticized for a purely mechanistic view of human life and an overreliance on genetic predetermination, Wilson presents in The Meaning of Human Existence his most expansive and advanced theories on the sovereignty of human life, recognizing that, even though the human and the spider evolved similarly, the poet’s sonnet is wholly different from the spider’s web. Whether attempting to explicate “The Riddle of the Human Species,” “Free Will,” or “Religion”; warning of “The Collapse of Biodiversity”; or even creating a plausible “Portrait of E.T.,” Wilson does indeed believe that humanity holds a special position in the known universe.

The human epoch that began in biological evolution and passed into pre-, then recorded, history is now, more than ever before, in our hands. Yet alarmed that we are about to abandon natural selection by redesigning biology and human nature as we wish them, Wilson soberly concludes that advances in science and technology bring us our greatest moral dilemma since God stayed the hand of Abraham.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “With remarkable clarity and a depth of insight that is absolutely unique, E. O. Wilson provides a highly readable and immensely enlightening analysis of nothing less than the meaning of human existence and the relationship of our species to the physical universe. By effortlessly merging science with philosophy, Wilson has created a masterwork that lays out his theories of our destiny. Already the world’s most distinguished evolutionary biologist, Wilson has transcended disciplinary boundaries with this book to create an invaluable analysis of who we are and the choices we now confront; it is a must-read for all.”

    Al Gore

  • “In his typically elegant style, two-time Pulitzer Prize–winner Wilson (Letters to a Young Scientist) cannily and candidly probes the nature of human existence.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “This compact volume packs a great punch—particularly in its new compelling argument that it would be the gravest of mistakes to reengineer our minds to make ourselves supermen. It understands our limited brains as the right tool for building the kind of future we require, and with this ‘existential conservatism’ gives us new reason to celebrate the wonder that is us.”

    Bill McKibben, author of Enough

  • “Jonathan Hogan’s voice is strong and his reading expressive and vigorous…[with] expressiveness, energy, and genial tone.”


  • Longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award
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About the Author

Edward O. Wilson is regarded as one of the world’s most preeminent biologists and naturalists. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Ants; he also won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his book On Human Nature. Some of his other awards include the US National Medal of Science, the International Prize for Biology, the Nierenberg Prize, and the Crafoord Prize, considered the highest award given in the field of ecology. His first fiction novel, Anthill: A Novel, was published in 2010 and is a New York Times bestseller. A sought-after consultant and expert, Wilson has served on the board of directors of the American Museum of Natural History, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund. He was named one of the twenty-five most influential Americans by Time magazine in 1995 and one of the century’s 100 leading environmentalists by Audubon magazine in 2000. Currently, he is the University Research Professor Emeritus at Harvard, and he lives in Lexington, Massachusetts with his wife.