THE BREATHING CATHEDRAL by Martha Heyneman

THE BREATHING CATHEDRAL

Feeling Our Way Into a Living Cosmos
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 These ponderings on the meaning of life find theoretical concepts and notional fancies so thick on the ground that readers may wish to approach the book armed with a machete. Personal meaning and orientation, argues freelance writer Heyneman, were thrown to the wind after the Copernican revolution, the Reformation, and the discovery of the New World. God was no longer in his heaven, time and space became infinite, and we lost our cosmological guideposts. Heyneman yearns for a simple and elegant order to help us reorient ourselves, to gain ``that all- embracing communal image of the whole of things and our place and function in it.'' In her search for a new cosmology, the author combs through hundreds of worldviews; explores three-dimensional surfaces buried in four-dimensional space; details the supposed balance of things prior to the Big Bang; and wades into the deep waters of the teachings of the mystic G.I. Gurdjieff. Heyneman's new cosmology take its cues from the very latest in matter/energy- time/space theories (which, she says, have returned boundaries, and hence the possibility of symmetry, to our lives), coupled with, and informed by, her appreciation of earlier cosmographies. A sample of Heyneman's requirements for self-realization includes: a sense of our centers of spiritual and physical gravity; regeneration of the memory palace via an architectural exploration; and a balanced, grounded life. Historical echoes abound throughout, as do some extremely powerful moments--including, for instance, the guided tour Heyneman gives through the mind-scape of her own memory palace, and the disturbing return to her family's summer home. A convincing vision quest that may, however, lose readers in its mazelike abundance of references and quotes. (Thirty-three line drawings--not seen)

Pub Date: June 10th, 1993
ISBN: 0-87156-687-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993