The Three Principles of the Cosmos


From the beginning the universe has been shaped by and is functioning by the primordial orderings;

  1. differentiation
  2. interiority (subjectivity)
  3. communion

The very existence of the universe rests on the power of these three principles. For were there no differentiation, the universe would collapse into a homogenous smudge.

For were there no interiority (subjectivity), the universe would not know creativity and would collapse into an inert, dead extension.

For were there no communion the universe would collapse into the hell of isolated singularities of being.

The human in the universe must root itself in these three dynamics in order to live in harmony with in the whole of Creation

Universe Earth nasa 17

free picture Internet ( NASA)

This means that the impulse that comes forth from the original fireball, which is the result of the creative energy of the Divine, moves in the direction of these three principles.

  1. Differentiation

Differentiation is the impulse towards diversity. It started when in the very first phases of the emerging universe hydrogen could no longer sustain itself as hydrogen and an atomic shift occurred. Out of that helium evolved. Now there was the possibility for interactions at the atomic level and out of this interaction something new occurred. It is this interaction that made the birth of stars possible and ever since the universe continues to become through this process of differentiation. New possibilities occur when existing modes of existence take the risk to disappear in order to develop into something else.

From the beginning the universe has been on a course toward greater and greater differentiation. Had the universe remained hydrogen, it still would be hydrogen. At every stage of combination greater and greater complexity, during that whole preparatory period of history, it was all differentiation, all that complexity which was the necessary condition out of which the next stage could unfold.

Differentiation is mandated. It is the rule of the universe. It comes out of the mind of God. The Earth says, “Who am I ” in every creature, in every human that has ever existed.

Differentiation is the mode of the universe expressing itself.

All the diversity of simple organic life from the basic protoplankton at the depth of the oceans to the neurons in our brains, every bit of that diversity is essential for the working of this whole Gaia planet.

There is not such a thing as the mandate for uniformity or conformity in the Earth. It is a violation of the very principle out of which the Earth functions.

The greater the complexity, the greater the diversity, the greater the differentiation, the greater the capacity of the Earth to function in a wholesome way.

That is why the loss of bio-diversity in our present times, mainly through the way humans deal with the Earth, is such a great threat for the total functioning of the Earth as an integral system.

Every violation of differentiation violates the basic structure of the Earth.

And when the Earth finally brings forth the human, that mandate toward differentiation enters a new phase because as conscious beings, we consciously evolve and participate in the evolution of differentiation.

The differences of languages, of racial structures, of art and architecture, the differences of the ideologies and religions, political systems of the Earth; they are as much a result of the unfolding of that first explosion of hydrogen as all the differentiation that we might find in the kingdom of birds, insects, plants.

Only very late in the development of human consciousness have we come to understand that Creation was meant to be differentiated and we still grope the meaning of it all , as we still fight in wars against the differences in the human race.

Our modern world is directed toward mono- cultures and standardization, globalization.

This is the inherent direction of the industrialization. It is basically an invariant process of multiplication with no enrichment of meaning. And as such it is opposed to the direction in which cosmos and creation are meant to be and function.

What is particularly striking in the story of the story of the developing universe is that there is a lack of repetition. There is only uniqueness in the cosmos.

The universe comes to us as a totality, where each being and each moment announces its thrilling news: “I am fresh. To understand the universe, you must understand me”.

  1. Interiority (subjectivity)

The second principle of interiority means that from the very beginning, every atom had its own inner, non-material intelligible dimension and its center opens up into what we still must call ” a mystery”. Every atom is a revelation, sacred scripture of the ultimate mystery and has an inner dimension, interiority, has identity, name, and voice.

It expresses the universe in a way that is differentiated from every other atom, star, galaxy. Everything has interiority, beginning from the smallest atom.

The universe is one and its diverse expressions come from the same inner place. And the universe, at any moment of its unfolding is the sum total of those differentiated interiorities.

With such an understanding, we can see that the atom can be considered a self, for each atom is an amazing blur of self-organizing activitiy.

We can also consider the interiority of a rock. We might never have reflected on the nature of a rock. But just think about a silicon crystal. A single silicate’s existence requires incessant storms of creativity at the elementary particular level alone- each 3

instant finds innumerably many interactions and energetic transformations, including the annihilation of some particles and the creation of new particles.

That is precisely why the silicate crystal is a storm of activitiy and can it exhibit such wonders as we find the in silicon chips of electronic technologies.

Looking back at the rock one can say, that each instant of a rock is an achievement.The rock is not simply passive. Rocks and mountains are not simply stuff that exist.

With subjectivity (interiority) we wish to refer to sentience as well as to spontaneity.

We refer to the experience of the universe as universe. That humans do have souls and therefore experiences we accept and know. It is easy to imagine whales having experiences, but the ants, seaweed?

The universe is a single energy event; everything comes forth out of the intrinsic creativity of the universe. Rocks, water, air, just by being what they are, flower into sentient beings.

“Sentience and interiority: It are the “within of things”. Everything in the universe has its own interiority, its voice, its self-organizing ability, its psychic-spiritual dimension, its holiness, and its sacredness. Each leaf on the tree says: ” see me….I am different from every other leaf on the tree”. Everything that exists has its own within and is a word spoken by Ultimate Mystery.

The molten rock formed itself much later into you and me…with our hope and fear prayer, dance and poetry. We are an expression of the Universe. Each of us in our interior depth carries the memory of all that went before us in life’s unfolding.

We have lost our ability to hear the voices of the natural world including one another. We are urgently in need of a spirituality that will nurture a more viable relationship with Earth and that will recognize the deep mystery and existence within everything.

This mystery is rooted in the Divine. Every atom, every leaf, every animal, every human being is an interiority that carries revelation. Every being has its own unrepeatable truth that influences continuing evolution. This is the true meaning of and ground for obedience. To obey the truth in one another. To be humble in its presence.

In that sense is matter holy and deeply spiritual from its very origin and not because we look to the world and all that is in a spiritual way. That is a dualism that violates the very origin of the deep Mystery present in every atom.

Thus it is that diminishment of the Earth is fundamentally a spiritual issue.”

J.Surette SJ

  1. Communion

The third principle of communion, meaning that from the very beginning each differentiated atom and each differentiated interiority existed only because it mutually indwelled with everything else in the universe. The universe is a single event. It is not fragmented. There are no vacuums. Every atom, every blade of grass, every breath, every ether wave is connected to the whole. It is the expression of this deep center, which is not material.

The bonding in the universe is such that it is not so strong that things fuse and loose their articulation and interiority. It is not so weak that things fall apart. The rate of differentiation continues to expand; each thing having its union with the whole both inwardly and outwardly. That is how the universe works.

When the universe in the human chooses to celebrate the difference and reverence the interiority and be conscious of this in communion, then love has come. From the beginning the universe has held the potential for love, the conscious bonding of the whole.

From the beginning the universe is a community of atomic elements, galaxies.

And in the process of evolution we see the universe develop in a community with ever-greater complexity, depth and bondedness. (The web of life).

The greater the diversity of the community is, the richer its expression of its depth and therefore of the depth of communion.

The history of the universe shows us, that the natural community is the basic community. 13.7 Billion years of development and evolution of the universe as community welcomed the human into this community of life. All this was needed so that the human could find a habitat in which they could survive. If the natural community is not in tact, there will never be a human community, whatever the efforts of humans to build community.

The loss of relationship and the consequent alienation is a kind of supreme evil in the universe. In the Christian world this loss of relationship was traditionally understood as an ultimate misery. To be locked up in a private world, to be cut of from intimacy with other beings, to be incapable of entering the joy of mutual presence- such conditions were taken as the essence of damnation.

M.T.Mc Gilles


Three Principles of The Cosmos,  Thomas Berry

These governing principles of the universe have controlled the entire evolutionary process from the moment of it explosive origin some fourteen billion years ago to the shaping of the earth, the emergence of life and consciousness, are now understood by scientific reasoning, although their implications have not yet been acted upon in any effective way. The ecological age must now activate these principles in a universal context if the human venture is to continue.

These principles on which the universe functions are three:

  • differentiation,
  • subjectivity,
  • communion.

Differentiation is the primordial expression of the universe. In the fiery violence of some billion degrees of heat, the original energy dispersed itself through the vast regions of space not as some homogeneous or jellylike substance, but as radiation and as differentiated particles eventually distributed through a certain sequence of elements,manifesting an amazing variety of qualities. These were further shaped into galactic systems composed of highly individuated starry oceans of fire. Everywhere we find this differentiating processes taking place. In our own solar system, within the sequence of planets, we find planet Earth taking shape as the most highly differentiated reality we know in the entire universe. Life on planet Earth finds expression in an overwhelming variety of manifestations. These themselves change through the centuries.

The second primary principle is that of increased subjectivity. From the shaping of the hydrogen atom to the formation of the human brain, interior psychic unity has consistently increased along with a greater complexification of being. This capacity for interiority involves increased unity of function through ever more complex organic structures. Increase in subjectivity is associated with increased complexity of a central nervous system. Then comes the development of the brain.

With the nervous system and the brain comes greater freedom of control over the activity of the organism. In this manner planet Earth becomes ever more subject to the free inter-play of self-determining forces.

A third principle of the universe is the communion of each reality of the universe with every other reality of the universe. Here our scientific evidence confirms, with a magnificent overview, the awareness that we live in a universe – a single, multiform, energy event,(DE, chapter 5, page 45)

DE: Dream of the Earth, Thomas Berry, ISBN: 0-87`156-622-2

pbgeralt 6

free picture Internet


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Translate »