Item description for The Story of Everything: A Parable of Creation and Evolution by John Kotre...
Overview In this beautiful and wise tale John Kotre weaves together the worlds of science and religion. Today we are caught between the two- between a story of creation and design and a story of evolution and emergence. How do we find our way from one to the other? And then what? In The Story of Everything Kotre takes us on a long train of thought, through loss and isolation, through anger and guilt, and finally through longing and love. It is a journey of the heart as well as the head, with surprising turns. This engaging narrative is sure to provoke discussion and elicit fresh insight about our origins and fate. In the middle of today's culture wars, it stands unique.
Publishers Description In this beautiful and wise tale John Kotre weaves together the worlds of science and religion. Today we are caught between the two between a story of creation and design and a story of evolution and emergence. How do we find our way from one to the other? And then what? In The Story of Everything Kotre takes us on a long train of thought, through loss and isolation, through anger and guilt, and finally through longing and love. It is a journey of the heart as well as the head, with surprising turns. This engaging narrative is sure to provoke discussion and elicit fresh insight about our origins and fate. In the middle of today's culture wars, it stands unique. After you read the parable, you're invited to complete the experience at The Story of Everything."
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Studio: Rowman & Littlefield
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.54" Width: 5.82" Height: 0.45" Weight: 0.33 lbs.
Release Date May 1, 2007
Publisher Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN 156101298X ISBN13 9781561012985
Availability 0 units.
More About John Kotre
John Kotre is creator of the PBS series "Seasons of Life." He is a retired psychology professor and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
John Kotre currently resides in Ann Arbor, in the state of Michigan.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Story of Everything: A Parable of Creation and Evolution?
Thought-provoking, enduring Jun 16, 2007
The highest praise I can give a book is to say, "It made me think," and "I read it more than once." Although The Story of Everything is a parable, it is not a fairy tale, and not a simple book for children. I have read this book four times now, and continue to find new and amazing things each time I do. Even though I know the ending, I'm always in tears as the story comes to a close -- mixed tears of joy and sadness. Though told simply, written in a bare bones approach, the book is deep as the ocean, leaving the reader with plenty of questions to ponder. In my opinion, this is a book you need to own, not to simply check out of the library.
The structure of the parable begins simply enough with a grandfather who instills his own love of nature, curiousity and drive to understand in his grandson, Adam, and ultimately bequeaths the Story to him. Unfortunately the boy loses touch with the Story, and through most of the book, Adam (who soon grows to manhood) and the Story are on parallel, but separate, quests for self-definition and understanding.
I am intrigued with Kotre's use of metaphor. He bestows personhood on the Story. What other way could one so clearly explain its evolution? A parallel develops: As Adam looks for the Story, the Story is looking for its own identity and roots. The Story refuses to adapt in the face of evidence of change. The Story eventually realizes that change doesn't mean death and begins to adjust accordingly. Meanwhile, Adam progresses through his life and career, always searching, always wondering.
Taken together, Adam's search for story and the Story's search for identity and embodiment is like a crash course surveying the basics of astronomy, biology, quantum physics, archeology, paleontology, marine zoology, theology, and spirituality. One could easily become sidetracked pursuing further learning on these topics, as Adam did. But to me, the value of the book is in the synthesis of the ideas and the way Kotre pulls it all together.
This story may appeal so strongly to me because I've always been a seeker myself, perhaps seeking this sort of story that synthesizes matter and spirit, science and theology. Indeed, I've always wondered about The Story of Everything, without it having a name. As previously stated, I've read this book four times, and I'll probably read it at least four more, using it as a touchstone to consolidate new material I continue to discover. It will head the list of gifts to buy later in the year.
Creative, mind-stretching Jun 5, 2007
This short novel celebrates science and relates its emerging message to a deeper wisdom. And what a wonderfully broad reading of science it reveals, interwoven with its spiritual message of the quest to understand the significance of the cosmos and our part in it. The Story of Everything stands at the nexus of science, philosophy, and religion.
Not convincing May 21, 2007
Reviewed by John Cartwright for Reader Views (5/07)
John Kotre, the author of "Adam and the Story of Everything," takes three chapters to tell the reader that this is going to be a parable and to explain what a parable is in some of the most condescending, patronizing verbiage you will see anywhere. This is a short gift-shaped book, you know the little square ones that children and grandchildren of all ages pick up at Borders while they're waiting on line for a cup of latte, the ones they would never read themselves but think perfect for granny. If granny is in a home, this book is ideal because it is a convenient shape and size for use as a coaster.
Of course, the novel has the obligatory wise old Grandfather who sits on an oak stump and relates the tale of creation and evolution to little Adam who spends every waking moment AND his dreams analyzing rocks, bones and constellations. No T.V. No soccer. No little league. No MacDonald's. No Transformers. No Spider-Man. Well, the author did explain it was a parable although I think it might rightly have been called a fairy-tale except we'd be insulting the Brothers Grimm and Aesop.
This attempted explanation at reconciling creationism and evolution, so divisive an issue in the United States for the past 70 years since the Scopes Monkey trial, will only convince people who think greeting cards are great poetry and Richard Bach's Jonathon Livingston Seagull is a classic. Anyone who can make it through the first 50 pages without a visit to the dentist or the diabetes specialist deserves better. But it is not forthcoming. I was content with the thought that this book was for children aged 7-12 despite the fact that there is no such warning anywhere on the cover until the protagonist, Adam, makes it all the way through high school and college without once thinking about sex and only when he is safely in grad school does he finally indulge. So while I was imagining someone reading it to little Emily or Jason at bedtime, Adam is suddenly "entering her." I said, "Well, it's about time," but I don't think Emily or Jason would be quite ready for that part. The author claims that Adam's sexual liaison with Elise was like standing knee deep in water. Where's Freud when you need him? I don't quite know what to say about this simile so I will leave it to you.
While we are expected to see Adam infinitely curious about everything on the planet and the rest of the universe, he never seems to wonder what is going on with women. Given the fact that 80% of high school students acknowledge engaging in sex and 97% in college, we are now truly in the land of make-believe. Perhaps the author is really preaching to the choir, a very small choir no doubt, who believe children who have access to MTV, rap music and the internet are really wondering about whether the earth or the sun or neither is the center of the universe. Right. This choir will really be unhappy when it discovers on page 46 that Elise is pregnant and she and Adam decide to keep the child but not get married. Kotre cannot be blamed for trying to please everyone and introducing extraneous matter to make his parable relevant, but it fails because when we try to please everyone, we end up pleasing no one.
Kotre's contention with this parable is that reason will lead you to reconcile faith and science. William Blake addressed this issue in his epic poem, Urizen, two-hundred years ago and essentially said that no reconciliation is necessary, that each stands quite nicely on its own and both work without the need for a "Adam and the Story of Everything" to reconcile the two. He goes further and says that reason is a sure-fire way to NEVER reach an understanding of God. I think most modern theologians agree. Current thinking simply states that there is no reason to believe that God is not the origin of the process of evolution. It is not an "either/or" anymore and I just stated in a sentence what will ultimately be the only reconciliation of the two possible. I'm no philosopher but I can assure you that, for example, those who spend their time looking for the remains of Noah's Ark will convince only believers that there was a Flood, once found. Non-believers will ascribe to a hoax theory and nothing will come of it. Someone should tell Kotre that faith is not something one can be convinced of. Either you have it, get it at some point or remain a skeptic. The "Education of Little Tree" addresses these matters as well, even down to the grandfather and grandson learning from each other and letting the poetry of the good writing carry the reader along to his own conclusion, a much stronger parable, even if the author did turn out not to be a real "Indian."
Mid-book, "Adam and the Story of Everything" (whose name is capitalized throughout except in the dedication (?) becomes anthropomorphisized into a character. The Story analyzes himself (it is masculine) and ultimately Googles his own name. I wish I could say this left me speechless -- not because it is not imaginative but because its absurdity transcends what Aristotle called "the impossible made probable." The Googling episode, an impotent attempt at making the "parable" relevant, makes the impossible seem ridiculous.
"Adam and the Story of Everything," in its final chapter suggests going to a website if you don't fully get the meaning of the book. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I imagined for the briefest moment William Faulkner writing the last paragraph of "The Sound and the Fury" telling the reader, [...]