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A Book That Opens Your Mind Like a Can of Peaches


Remember seventh-grade Earth Science, when you came to the abrupt concurrent realizations that 

a) Photosynthesis and Respiration are interdependent, so that we need plants as much for air as we need them for food, and that 

b) Miss Howe was actually quite beautiful, and might embody the potential for a perfect symbiosis?

Discovery, most especially of the life-expanding brand, is wealth beyond measure. In this light, it may be quite shrewd to scoop up “This Idea Is Brilliant,” John Brockman’s distillation of top scientific concepts one may not have kept up on. Discovery? Truckloads. The value of discovery to our existence? Clear as a bell. 

Brockman is an impresario of insight. He ringmasters the concept circus over at www.edge.org. If you aren’t familiar with the site, well … to call it “interesting” would be like saying chocolate and coffee are “OK.” The joint is a Science Salon, where Brockman curates the content, reaching out to the great minds of today with question-based conversational prompts.

So he’s not a guy in a diner. Interesting concepts are this guy’s bread and butter. He is also an accomplished curator, whose aim is to promote practical wisdom. 

What’s the take-away? Cerebral and emotional growth. I remember assimilating my new understanding, grounded in quantum physics, that matter itself may or may not be said to exist. I was 19. It was liberating.  Rather than fixed, solid objects, I saw that we are, in scientific terms, the very rapidly moving, energy-based stuff of dreams. We are velocity mixed with dust flung from stars, or as the Harvard School of Divinity Professor Brother Blue once said: “We are music wrapped in color.” 

Given how lost we constantly are, and the measureless impact of conceptual gems like these on our very world view, we do well to have a look, when a silver platter full of them breezes by us in mid cocktail. 

You can almost feel the expansion in your mind as you consider our universe not only as a collection of atoms and subatomic particles in an unseen dance, but also as an interrelated series of information fields, colliding and entwining within prescribed rules.

And if having your mind opened like a can of peaches isn’t your cup of interstellar gravitational pull, there is always that pragmatic drive to be just a little more of a smarty pants than the next gal. You know, her. The one who didn’t read “This Idea Is Brilliant.” 

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