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. Download and start listening now!