This entry came from Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack. Nancy has a special gift for our readers–an MP3 of “The Fable of the Parrots” from her Alien Wisdom album.  The album is described as “Barbara Streisand meets Carl Sagan. Highly intelligent, playing with the border between science and spirit, this music is haunting, upbeat, provocative.”  Click here to listen.  Click here to download.

After thousands of years of mythological origin stories and a few centuries of scientific-sounding guesses, cosmologists are giving humanity its first picture of the universe as a whole that might actually be true.  Based on dark matter and dark energy and supported by voluminous cosmological data, it presents an enormous opportunity at a moment when our species is confronted with problems spread over such huge timescales that no one knows how to solve them, like global climate disruption or the unsustainability of economies requiring endless growth on a finite planet.  The opportunity comes through new concepts developed to describe cosmic evolution over billions of years but which also let us re-envision Earth in its cosmic context and think on large enough scales.  We can have a flourishing Earth if we begin to accept emotionally that this new universe, with its strange but well-supported laws, is real and that we are its intelligent life, possibly even the first.  People don’t change from learning facts, but they can change from discovering a big, exciting, attractive identity that is available to them.  This new identity is sharable by all, regardless of religion or nationality. It could be the foundation of an overarching vision that lifts our thinking to the level our times demand, motivates the difficult cooperation a sustainable world will require, and solidifies the bonds of humankind.

Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack are the authors of “The Epic of Cosmic Evolution,” a chapter in The Evolutionary Epic: Science’s Story and Humanity’s Response, a  Collins Foundation Press book.  They also co-authored The View from the Center of the Universe (now in paperback) and their new book just out, The New Universe and the Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World.

Nancy Ellen Abrams, an attorney, philosopher of science, and lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has worked for the Ford Foundation and the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress. Joel R. Primack, Distinguished Professor of Physics at the UC Santa Cruz, is one of the principal creators of the modern theory of the universe on the grand scale.