by Jack Semura
For a flourishing Earth, we are called upon to integrate our current environmental ethics into an even larger cosmological ethics – one that possesses a strong sense of stewardship over a tiny self-aware part of the evolving universe. Even if low level life is common, it’s possible that higher consciousness is uncommon, and that Earth is a rare outpost. Whether or not this is the case, being a small piece of a universe becoming aware of itself means that we are challenged by deep questions of stewardship and responsibility toward our place in an evolving cosmos.
A new cosmological ethics also requires reclaiming an authentic and non-manipulated response to the cosmic – a kind of cosmological empowerment. The cosmos has always engendered a sense of awe and inspiration. However the role of cosmology in history reveals the extent to which cosmological symbols have been co-opted and used in the service of class and power. For a flourishing Earth, we need to become conscious of this use of symbols. We need to reclaim our own authentic relationship with the source of awe and inspiration.
Jack Semura is a theoretical physicist studying information at the foundational levels of physics and of the universe. He is professor emeritus of physics at Portland State University.