I really never thought this would happen. I’ve been affected by many books in my life, many ideas. My intellectual heroes have included, among others, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Joseph Campbell, and most recently Brian Greene. But now I’ve read a book that has forever changed the way I see the world. Upon my first reading, many of the ideas made me angry – I disagreed with them vehemently. But then I thought more, and realized I didn’t disagree at all. In fact, in many cases the writer was correct, and I had been wrong all this time. Other parts I didn’t grasp completely. I’ve read or listened to every part of the book at least four times now, and I’ve gotten more and more from it each time. Of course, there is still much I haven’t grasped. I’m just at the beginning. And that’s an amazing place to be.
Did you think I was talking about the Bible? The Quran? No. The book is “The Beginning of Infinity” by David Deutsch. I was attracted to the book mostly by its subtitle, “Explanations that Transform the World.” As a science educator, I want to know about explanations. I want better explanations. I was curious to find out how they might “transform the world.” Oddly, I was also attracted by the title by the word “infinity” for exactly the opposite reason. I didn’t believe in infinity when I started reading. I didn’t see how infinity could actually exist in the world. Now I am beginning (just beginning) to grasp it. That’s only one of the transformations I went through in reading this remarkable book.
Over the next three weeks I’ll be posting my thoughts on each of the eighteen chapters of this book, around one new chapter each day. I hope the journey for you captures a bit of the wonder I experienced in my own journey through this astounding book – uplifting, frustrating, confusing, enlightening, and, ultimately, forever transforming. Enjoy!