01 October 2019 Reviews

The Cosma Hypothesis: implications of the overview effect

From the author of ‘The Overview Effect’, this books represents the culmination of his “effort to develop a space philosophy”. Frank White argues that this philosophy of space exploration and settlement is more than just an intellectual exercise and he expects it to influence policy and practices “as governments and corporations talk about space tourism, asteroid mining and cities on Mars”.

The text (indeed, there are no illustrations) is split into three main parts - The Cosma Hypothesis; The Human Space Program; and Astronaut Reflections – and concludes with Appendices, Notes and a Bibliography. An important and disappointing omission is an index.

What is Cosma? The author finds what he feels is a “pretty good summary of the Cosma Hypothesis” in his notes from 1988: “The universe is a living information system, composed of interconnected information systems serving as subsystems of the whole. At each level, there is an order and organizational pattern that is different and yet common to all these ‘infosystems’”. Well, I must be missing something, because this only adds to the mystery for me!

If philosophy is your thing; or you like to stretch your imagination beyond the straightforward and towards the surreal; or you simply seek spiritual enlightenment, then this could be a book for you. But forgive me if I don’t join you on the journey.

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