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Journey of the Universe newsletter: May 2019
Welcome to our ongoing Journey! 

This month, the epic story of the universe turns to Life's Emergence and Learning, Living and Dying. 

How does one's life come together?  

This is a common and important question that we will regularly ask ourselves throughout our lives.  Understanding how life itself came to be, how the self-organization of matter gave birth to the first cells and multi-cellular organisms can provide powerful insights and metaphors on how we might live in a way that is resonant with the nature of the universe. 

Ideas like self-organization, awareness, adaptation, and evolution are essential in the story of the universe and of life on earth -- and they can help guide and give form to the development of our own lives as well. 

Learn more about the complexities of the emergence of the first cells and the role of awareness in life in this month's podcast on Life's Emergence with Ursula Goodenough and Terrance Deacon.
Compliment this podcast with an additional new podcast release on Learning, Living and Dying with Terrance Deacon.

In this conversation, we explore the evolution of the brain and the story of adaptation, consciousness, and responsiveness that begins with single-celled organisms and continues through the vertebrates. 

by Brian Thomas Swimme 
Image by Brian Sebastian Swimme

The world watched in horror as some of history's most beautiful works of religious art became flame, then smoke, then atmosphere. Stunned to our bones, again, by the mystery of death.

Only in the rarest places, including the poetry of our most profound mystics as well as the ravings of our saddest lunatics, is death admired. Our fear reveals our intense love of our fragile lives. Even pyramids fail as bargaining chips.

Though the universe has been creating itself for fourteen billion years, only recently has any Earthling pulled back the blanket of time to contemplate the whole. We are astounded to discover the ways the universe thrives on death. Ninety-nine percent of all the species Life has concocted have gone extinct. 

We do not have words for the fire that destroyed Notre Dame forever. We shiver when we hear St Francis call holy the burning firebrand pressed to his eye. Or the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin discovering, at the front of war, the Cosmic Christ. But they force us to wonder. Does the universe have the creativity to turn our dread into astonishment as something new, something erotic, something death-defying comes forth?

In this video, Mary Evelyn discusses the Thomas Berry Biography and Thomas' presence as a global, cross-cultural thinker and conversationalist.  Upcoming opportunities to participate in the celebration of Thomas Berry's life and the release of his new biography are also highlighted in this video.

If you enjoy the Journey of the Universe film and book, we encourage you to explore our conversation series, where the epic story of the universe is told in more detail and embodied through the great work of a wonderful cast of eco-conscious individuals.

These conversations are available as an online course on Coursera in collaboration with Yale University. 

This course leads students through 20 interviews. The first 10 interviews are with scientists and historians who deepen our understanding of the evolutionary process of universe, Earth, and humans. The second 10 interviews are with environmentalists, teachers, and artists who explore the connections between the universe story and the practices for a flourishing Earth community.
a poem by Ryan Trombly
Duke Kunshan University
"Religion & Science: Universe Story"

May 5, August 4, & November 3, 2019

2:00-3:30 pm

Scarritt Bennett Center
Kreitner Room, Laskey Building
1027 18th Avenue South 
Nashville,TN, USA

With Dr. Craig E. Philip, Dr. Keivan Stassun, 
Tamara Marshall Whiting, and Joyce Wilding 

These events are free and open to the public.

View the flyer

★ "Journey" Film Screening: Cork, Ireland

Saturday evening June 14, 2019
Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim will hold a Q&A after the screening.

At a Conference titled: "Religion/Water/Climate: Changing Cultures and Landscapes"

Sponsored by the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 

Hosted by University College Cork in Ireland on June 13-16, 2019

Event Website
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