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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
A Humble Universe: Existential Questions, Brief Answers by Nachum lists what the author says are “random questions” and then, as the title says, gives brief answers, some briefer than others. The questions deal with such subjects as life’s purpose, after and before death, astrology, visitors from other planets, and even Emojis, to name a few—17 altogether. The author states his purpose is not to persuade but simply to offer some ideas. Yet though not trying to convert anyone, Nachum writes with absolute certainty. To place his answers in a category, I would say the ideas are “Eastern” or perhaps “New Age.” And they are fascinating, like all spiritual concepts—if only we could know for sure. Nachum offers no doubts whatever as to what they believe. The book is short and makes complicated ideas easy to understand through extended analogies and examples from our common experience, such as making big decisions from one’s gut.
I loved the book. It made me feel young again when I was asking all these questions. As we get older, we often succumb either to strong conviction (faith) or to the acceptance of agnosticism and focusing on our mundane daily responsibilities. I will leave Nachum’s answers for them to express, for this book is a primer, a decorative doorway for entrance to an intriguing world view. But some of the metaphors—and how else can we explain unproven views—are captivating. For instance, Nachum compares an individual life to a drop of water individualized as it evaporates from the ocean, rises in the atmosphere, and returns to the ocean (universe) again and again in its many cycles. Our purpose is to rise to a higher level with each life. Many will read Nachum’s little book, stuffed with huge ideas, and want to read more. I for one am gripped by the author’s succinct definition of astrology, the best I’ve ever read, and am now moved to investigate it more deeply. If you are asking “random questions” about spiritual matters, you will enjoy Nachum’s A Humble Universe: Existential Questions, Brief Answers.