Wow. Where to start?
I am extremely fortunate to own a signed copy of this book, given to me in person by the author himself. I am even proud to say he is a friend and colleague.
Patrick has been racking his brains about The Big Questions for a lot longer than I have. He dedicated his life to searching for the answers to fundamental questions, namely one in particular: “How can even the smallest mote of dust exist?”
Starting from the convictions that there is an objective existence ‘out there’ – that it’s not all in our heads – and that it can also be rationally explained and understood, he set-out to do just that – explain it all.
As should be expected from having to work with such slippery concepts as ‘Nothing’ and ‘Existence’ and ‘Emptiness’, language itself becomes an obstacle. We’ve only got words to convey concepts – but when those words come pre-associated to the wrong concepts already, well, it’s tricky.
Yet, with great effort and care, Patrick takes us by the hand and leads us to his vision of the hows and whys of it all. If you go slowly, and really chew on each concept, carefully consider each meaning as he’s had to re-define it, you will realize that not one word he used is chosen idly. He had no choice but to be meticulous.
The first part of the book takes us step by step, making sure that we fully grasp each new concept before moving on to the next one. It is challenging, because we, human readers, have to be ever-vigilant of our old modes of thinking lest we too easily accept something Patrick has shown us. You can’t just say “Oh yeah, that’s obvious,” because it’s not! It’s only obvious if you’re still thinking in your old ways. And more often than not, you’d end-up not just wrong, but completely lost for the next bit that you’re shown.
But the workload quickly becomes less taxing as you get further and further into the first part. You’ll find yourself mesmerized and awe-struck at how brilliant the explanations are – at how beautifully they explain things. You’ll find yourself reading faster and faster, eager to see more.
The second part of the book then takes a step back, looks at how far we’ve come, and says “Hey, we’ve understood the Universe – now what?”. It shows us that, much to the contrary, the fact of understanding doesn’t ‘suck the life out of everything’ but rather explains and empowers more hope and beauty to the incredible Universe we live in. It builds upon what we’ve seen and uses that knowledge to build a new outlook, a new purpose to Humanity and Life in general – a meaning that is more harmonious with the Universe.
It took Patrick an incredible amount of effort to wrestle with old ideas and words, but he broke through to new insight. You aren’t expected to agree or even like what’s been discovered (who said you have to like Truth anyway?), but you are invited to consider things from this mind-bending perspective and certainly appreciate the view…
You can read the book online directly from the publisher, here: