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The Seven Mysteries of Life: An Exploration in Science and Philosophy Paperback – May 14, 1981

64 customer reviews

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Paperback, May 14, 1981
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Guy Murchie, the author of Song of the Sky, Music of the Spheres, and The Soul School, won the John Burroughs Medal.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 690 pages
  • Publisher: Houton Mifflin (May 14, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395305373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395305379
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Gunkel on February 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Guy Murchie was an amazing man and "The Seven Mysteries ofLife" was his most astonishing and magnificent book. It presentshis comprehensive, systematic, and brilliant vision of the worlds of matter, life, mind, and spirit in extraordinarily beautiful, simple, poetic, and apt language, with an endless series of absorbing and inspired illustrations that are mostly drawn, with noble erudition, from the scientific literature. It is a work of genius - a masterpiece of ideonomy - and I feel little hesitation in declaring it one of the 200 greatest books that have ever been written.
- Patrick Gunkel
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By AlexO on May 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you don't believe that the real physical world we live in is incredibly fascinating, complex, and heart-breakingly beautiful, you need to read this book.
When I was a kid and believed in god and heaven and all that, I used to imagine that heaven was this beautiful, quiet, sunny library filled with books that clearly explained the mysteries of the universe. When I read Seven Mysteries of Life, I felt that this was a book that I would have found in the library of heaven.
Imagine a book that could explain practically everything in the natural world- how the various senses work, how sand is deposited on beaches, how sonar in bats works, how closely related we all are to other humans, to chimpanzees, to everything, how different creatures reproduce, how a tree is constructed, what a muscle is made out of, why the moon appears the way it does on the horizon- and yet somehow be an incredibly fascinating page turner of a book at the same time. That is this book.
You may not agree with everything Murchie writes (some of the mystic argument-from-design stuff toward the end doesn't work for me), but you can't help but feel that you've somehow fallen in love with the world after reading this book.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By John V. Hilberg on April 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
...is what Guy Murchie's Seven Mysteries of Life has been to me. Avid, ardent reader forever. Almost 20 years ago, happened upon Murchie after my father died. You need a supple mind - not a brilliant one - to take in what Murchie says; a sustained spell of selective sci-fi, cosmology, or alternate-history reading might help. This book is science. But it is true knowledge that you have not previously seen marshalled this way. I have never been able to discredit any of the amazing assertions of fact that this remarkable polymath makes. Now, having also read Murchie's autobiography i understand the care with which Seven Mysteries was composed. By the end of the long, easy, pleasant book, you may have forgotten an enormous amount of detail, but you'll be left with an impression of awe at the organization of nature.
For me, this single mind-opening experience began a journey of intellectual and spiritual discovery which has transformed my life. Heretofore out of print, i have bought a half-dozen or so used copies for very careful giving to family and friends whose curiosity, openness, and capacity seem to make them good candidates for reading Murchie - including both a Jesuit priest and a seminary drop-out now a professing agnostic.
I've been wondering whether this only review i have put online was inspired as a thank-you to Guy Murchie. Maybe. But mostly i take the time to do so in the hope, and even confident expectation, that if you read and reflect on this book you may breathe up your own thank-you to its author.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By P. K. Paraskevopoulos on March 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of book that can transform your outlook on life. Murchie, in his thorough analysis of life and his amazing insights, challenges the deep-seated notions of the average person. Firstly, you are led to realise that your concept of life is too narrow and prevents you from realising that life pervades everything - from particles and atoms to complex organisms - and that the Earth itself is a complex live organism. Then you see that all life is interrelated. For example, you realise that the most distant relationship among people is, approximately, 50th cousinhood, which means that all people are related and gives a new meaning to concept of `the brotherhood of man'. Next you are made to see that life acquires meaning through the principle of polarity. For example, life would be inconceivable without death and the same goes for binary oppositions such as good/evil, male/female, predator/prey and so on. Even the Creator need createes and creation in general to be defined since a creator without having created anything is meaningless. Another important principle underlining life is that life has been evolving through transcendence. For instance, the cell transcends itself through division, groups of cells transcend themselves to create organs and eventually organisms. The same goes with human beings who transcend themselves in terms of space, time and self. For example, concerning space, your initial world is your cot, then you become conscious of the room, the house, the neighbourhood, the city and so on until you eventually become conscious of the immensity of the universe.

Finally, perhaps the most important gift of the book for me was that a careful, sensitive, insightful examination of life can lead to spirituality free of religious dogma and which can, hopefully, make you a better person.
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