By Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker
An Epic Story of Cosmic, Earth, and Human Transformation
A documentary film project, book, and 20-part conversation series.
Journey of the Universe is inspired by Thomas Berry’s call in 1978 for a “New Story”. It also builds on The Universe Story, which he wrote with Brian Swimme (1992).
Journey of the Universe: Providing an Integrating Story
Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University
The goal of Journey of the Universe is to tell the story of cosmic and Earth evolution drawing on the latest scientific knowledge, in a way that makes it both relevant and moving. What emerges is an intensely poetic story, which evokes emotions of awe and excitement, fear and joy, belonging and responsibility. For this is a numinous journey, filled with mystery and power.
Indeed, the universe story is a dramatic and creative one. Throughout billions of years of evolution, triumph and disaster have been only a hair’s breadth apart. Violence and creativity are pervasive. The ability of matter to organize and re-organize itself is remarkable – from the formation of the first atoms to the emergence of life. We are coming to realize that the energy released at the very beginning has finally become capable in the human of reflecting on and exploring its own journey of change. Simple hydrogen has become a vibrant living planet, with beings that now are able to investigate how this has happened and imagine a life sustaining future.
Waking up to our fundamental relationship with the cosmos will be a means of re-engagement with life as inherently valuable, thus to be cherished and fostered. The Journey of the Universe enables us to connect more deeply with the universe and the Earth of which we are a part. In doing this, we will appreciate the need for a vibrant human presence on the planet. Thus the integrating story of the origin and development of the universe, of Earth, and of humans could become an inspiring vision for our time. This is because this story is giving us a sense of common evolutionary heritage and shared genetic lineage. This new understanding of kinship of humans with each other and with all life could establish the foundations for rediscovering our shared past so as to create a flourishing planetary community.
We can be inspired by this philosophical perspective as well as by the scientific view of nested interdependence – from galaxies and stars to planets and ecosystems – so that we sense how personally we are woven into the fabric of life. We are part of this ongoing journey. From this perspective we can see that our current destructive habits towards the environment are unsustainable. In an evolutionary framework the damage we are causing is immense – indeed cataclysmic. We can thus recognize ecological, economic, and social change as not only necessary but inevitable. And this will require expanding our frame of reference and broadening our worldviews. We are already in the process of doing this as we create the foundations for a differentiated yet shared multicultural planetary civilization.