In which I review “Why Does the World Exist: An Existential Detective Story” using upgoer5

This is the book I’m talking about. And this explains the words I’m using (and not using). Why am I doing this? Because this is my writing place!

Why is the world here? Why is there something instead of nothing? We’ve talked about this before. In this book, a man goes around talking to men (they are all men) who have thought a lot about this question. They all have different ideas.

Some people believe that God made everything. But then who made God? Where did God come from? Is God just “there”? Where is “there”? And why is God the way He is and not some other way?

Some people think that something just pops out of nothing. But if this is possible, why is it possible? Why is the way things are exactly this way and not some other way?

Some people believe there are many, many worlds — many “everythings” — and each one may have a different way that things are. Maybe everything that could be, is. But why? Why isn’t there just nothing, which is the most simple way for things to be?

Some people think this has something to do with us, and the way we can think. Maybe there is something instead of nothing just so we can be here. Some other people think this idea is really stupid.

The man writes about what these people look like and where they live. He eats with many of them and he talks about what they eat. Most of them know each other; none of them agree with each other.

In the book, he also talks about his dog dying and then his mother dying. This makes him sad and it made me sad, but I’m not sure what this has to do with why there is something instead of nothing.

In the end, I don’t think he knows the answer to this question. And we don’t, either. Probably we will never know. Should that make us sad?

7 thoughts on “In which I review “Why Does the World Exist: An Existential Detective Story” using upgoer5

  1. Amazon reviewers seem to like the book a lot. But two of them said that Holt talked about his dog dying, not his cat. I wonder, is this an example of multiple universes?

    I also note that the book is half again more expensive in the Nook edition than it is in the Kindle edition. (Hardly fair to those of us who would prefer to use our BN gift card balances.)


  2. I write this from an admittedly biased perspective, but it is a biased perspective I believe is poetic, beautiful, and true.

    There is a verse in the Bible that says, “If for this life only we have hoped, we are a people most to be pitied.”

    As modern thinkers (both within and beyond Christianity) replace the true God with Reason, Science, Experience, Sex, Politics, or Nothing-at-All, these alternative gods have very little to offer and we do wind up with nothing much to live for.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post.


  3. Pingback: The best books I read in 2013 | richard bowker

  4. Pingback: Randall Munroe goes all Up Goer 5 on us | Richard Bowker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.