Weaving the Cosmos: science, religion and ecology

by Chris Clarke

Now available from O-Books

weaving the cosmos Weaving the Cosmos traces humanity's journey from the mythical origins of religion, through the struggles to make sense of Christianity in the fourth century, and the strangely similar struggles to make sense o f quantum theory in the twentieth century, to modern quantum cosmology. What we see, both in the human mind and in the cosmos which has given birth to that mind, is a dance between rational Form and intuitive Being. This present moment of ecological crisis opens to us a unique opportunity for bringing together these two strands of our existence, represented by religion and science. As the story unfolds, the historical account is interwoven with the author's own experiences of learning the principles through which we can bring about this integration in ourselves and in society. The final chapter surveys the many changes now emerging in society which give us hope that a transformation can be achieved from our dysfunctional past to a future in which we can be truly human, in harmony with the earth.

Chapter list

  1. Evocation

    Evoke: To call (a feeling, faculty, manifestation, etc.) into being or activity. Also, To call up (a memory) from the past....

    Setting the scene: reflecting on humanity�s carelessness and on the guiding presence of the other than human world, as displayed in the Greek myth of Eros and Psyche.

  2. Weaving

    I give a preliminary account of the human faculties that we need to bring skilfully into play: �intuition�, �rationality� and �wisdom�, seen as a faculty that can unite the two. A further myth is introduced, from the “Homeric Hymn to Artemis”.

  3. Belief

    Lief: Beloved, dear, agreeable, acceptable, precious (from Aryan �leubh� � love)

    Grasping the nettle of religion, I argue that (despite ubiquitous painful evidence of the evils of religion as it is in fact practiced, now and in the past) at the core of all major religious traditions are the principles of love and unity. Religions contain within them huge human resources of wide intuitive thinking and practices for integrating the intuitive with the rational.

  4. Councils

    Council: (from Latin con- together + cal- to call) a convocation, assembly, meeting, union

    The two main parables of the book are introduced — two gatherings, one founding Christianity and the other founding quantum theory, both ending in temporary fudges: the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE and the Solvay Conference in 1927.

  5. Matter, Spirit and Being

    Matter (Latin �materia�: wood, timber ... from �mater� � mother - denoting the trunk of a tree regarded as the mother of its offshoots)
    Latin. spiritus ... breathing, breath, air, etc ... The animating or vital principle
    Be: from Sanskrit bhu-, bhaw-, Greek phy- ... The primary sense appears to have been ‘to occupy a place’

    What do these terms really mean, and why are they relevant to the flourishing of humanity in a time of crisis? The chapter ends by using the ”ouroboros of the cosmos“, introduced by Joel Primack and elaborated by Bernard Carr, to draw together these threads.

  6. Truth

    True: from Old English tr�owe, ‘having good faith’. Hence honest ... sincere ... genuine.

    I discuss what “truth” means to both our intuitive and our rational sides, and how an enlarged logic can bring these together.

  7. Physics

    Greek ‘physikos’: natural, produced or caused by nature

    The next nettle to be grasped is physics. I describe the developments in physics in the early twentieth century, indicating en route some of the parallels with the council of Nicaea. From this, the idea of an enlarged logic is further developed.

  8. Field and Inchoate

    Field: a state or situation in which a force is exerted on any objects of a particular kind (e.g. electric charges) that are present
    Inchoate: imperfect, undeveloped ... Latin � incohare (to begin)

    I now develop the vision expressed in my title “weaving the cosmos”: a new enterprise for humanity, a story and a technology that brings together the intuitive and the rational as a creative response to the environmental challenge.

  9. Humans

    Latin Homo: from root in ‘humus’, Greek ‘chamai’ � on the earth.

    I bring the insights of the previous chapters home to the central question of what it is to be, and act as, human, with the assistance of Gerard Manley Hopkins and some cognitive psychology.

  10. Ecology

    From Greek: oikos � house, dwelling + German logie (Greek: logos) � area of knowledge

    Finally I look at and beyond climate change, describing how the ecological vision that has been emerging throughout can bring to fulfilment the many signs of a new society that we see already emerging across the globe. The book ends as it started, with the message that we receive from the c ommunity of all earth beings when we step outside and open ourselves to “all our relations”