An assemblage of twenty-nine short essays on the recent genetic and molecular biologic revolution, presenting a holistic vision of nature: the earth as a superorganism of species, societies as superorganisms of individuals, man as the superorganism of organelles, and so on. Thomas, a pathologist at N.Y.U., has a quasi-religious faith in the ultimate power of genetic coding and the mysteries of probability and possibility. He proposes that the in-born template for human behavior is a capacity for grammatical construction. As the purpose of a termite community is nest-building, correspondingly human beings are under genetic instructions to order information into language. The scientists are ready to get in touch with interested celestial bodies for a little extraterrestrial conversation, and Thomas votes for Bach as emissary -- "all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again." He's something of a cosmic dreamer, but romance is no doubt a prerequisite for this kind of laboratory research.