I wish to share with you a story: The Story of the Universe. My Story. Your Story. A True Story – well as true as true can be. Our Story has gone through many filters: of limited human knowledge developed through our limited human senses, mental constructions, and even our “impressive” technologies. Our Story, as I tell it, will be filtered through my personal perspectives, which have developed through my own past experiences, my limited education, and the general time pressures I face in writing such a narrative.
But this story, I believe, is an important one.
All societies throughout history have had a story of origins – generally using myth – to give a sense of who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going. Science and logical deduction has now replaced myth in our mental constructs, and so our story of origins must also be a scientific one.
The Story of Our Universe is an important story because it gives us a sense of identity that is not based on difference – different nationalities, races, religions, sex, or species – but is based on our intrinsic connection to the each other and our planet.
Each individual person may be small but each one of us is a valuable piece of an awe-inspiring entity of infinitely creative expanding puzzle – call it the Soul of the Universe, personify it as God, or talk about it as a complex combination of protons and electrons – whatever terms you wish to use doesn’t really make a difference as either way we can know we are part of an incredible process.
I share this story as I journey through David Christian’s Big History course at Macquarie University whilst reading a number of fantastic (albeit challenging) books on evolution, quantum physics and process theology. I have a feeling that a trip to India in May, will enlighten my understanding in different ways, and finally as I begin some kind of MPhil/PhD in July, the story will continue.
Our Story is about evolution, and the story itself is evolving. Our Story will always be held tentative to new insights and discoveries. Our human minds shall continue to expand, engaging with the gaps in Our Story, asking questions and seeking answers. As time progresses great thinkers, scientists and gurus will make profound realisations, each which shall bring us closer to the great unknowable “Truth” – an unachievable objective that shall always be our aim.
Our Story is about adaptation. Our Story is about process not results. Our Story is about “conscientization” – awareness of self-in-context, allowing for perception and renouncing all forms of mental, social and political oppression.
Through this journey I hope to understand more about our humble unknown beginnings, the awe-inspiring process of our evolution, the incredible birth of human self-reflective consciousness, and the relevance of these three factors on our lives today and into the future.
My key reference points for now are Prof. David Christian’s two books: Maps of Time and This Fleeting World, his lecture notes, Richard Dawkin’s The Ancestor’s Tale (audio book), Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything (audio book), Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel, Garry Trompf In Search of Origins, John Polkinghorne’s Exploring Reality, and the late Charles Birch’s Biology and the Riddle of Life. Alongside another hundred or so titles from experts I’m yet to discover.
We will step through four stages: the cosmos, earth, life and humanity, each with probably fair few posts spread over a fairly long time as I learn the information, process it, and finally get around to sharing it with you. I will try to provide a rounded perspective that combines my (relatively limited) knowledge of the sciences, philosophy and religion. Please remember all “facts” remain tentative to new discoveries. The first chapter of our story – the “big bang” will be posted tomorrow 🙂
I’m not sure where I got this artwork – I found it amongst my old computer files that I believe I took from random websites – if anyone knows its source please let me know so I can credit them…