Book Review: ‘Everything Is Connected’

Materialism for children

‘Everything Is Connected’. By Jason Gruhl (Illustrations by Ignasi Font. Shambhala, 2019. Hardback £12.99)

As a materialist I am thrilled to see this   publication of a book for children, impressing them with the importance of openness to all life and the truth that all life is connected and all living beings part of a rich kaleidoscope. As Carl Sagan pointed out, we are all star stuff.

The publishers regularly make available works from a Buddhist perspective, and if Buddhists generally dislike what they think of as materialism, it is because the word is associated mostly with the mechanism and reductionism of traditional post-Christian western thought. Materialists, in fact, should oppose such reductionism, and be consistent – embracing the liberating realisation that all of us are the universe, that nothing is separate or outside of it, and that our atoms have made up trillions of living beings before us, and will make up trillions after us. All organisms are relatives, and the atoms that were once part of a T-Rex or a blue whale are now part of you!

For socialists too, the universe as here presented for children can help us show that physical reality can be more beautiful and wondrous than myths, and truth more colourful and resplendent than fiction.