Yale University Press, 2011, 175pp, Hardback
Reviewed by Ian Mowll
This book is about the unfolding of the Universe from the big bang 13.7 billion years ago, through the creation of the stars, galaxies, planet Earth and the evolution of life on Earth.
Not only does the book explain the science, it also picks out meaningful ideas and metaphors that relate to our human condition and our spiritual journey on this Earth.
I am a huge fan of Brian Swimme and I have read ‘The Universe Story’ by Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry – for me a life changing book. So, this book is more like a sequel than a quantum leap forward. Many of the scientific ideas I knew already. However science moves on and there is some useful information on new scientific understanding. For instance, scientists now think that galaxies were formed much earlier than was previously thought.
If you are new to the Universe Story and its relevance for our time, this book is a real gem – in fact a ‘must read’. Packed with good information it also inspires. And it is short enough to be easily digestible – not too much information to be mesmerized by. The last chapter is particularly inspiring and something that I will refer to in the future. For instance, the exposition of the impact of humans on our planet, that the impact is now more culturally driven than driven by our DNA. This is a new phase of evolution – all non human lifeforms do not have the choices that we, as humans have. And it is the use of our choices, grounded in the civilisations that we create, which can allow both humans and the planet to flourish. There is so much to be hopeful for. The book ends on this hopeful note:
“It is in the nature of the universe to move forward between great tensions, between dynamic opposing forces. If the creative energies in the heart of the universe succeeded so brilliantly in the past, we have reason to hope that such creativity will inspire us and guide us into the future. In this way, our own generativity becomes woven into the vibrant communities that constitute the vast symphony of the universe”.
This book is part of a larger project that includes a documentary film, an educational DVD series, and a website. For more information, please consult the website, journeyoftheuniverse.org.