free picture internet, NASA
Fifteen billion years ago, in a great flash, the universe flared forth into being.
In each drop of existence a primordial energy blazed with an intensity never to be equaled again. Through that power, the universe billowed out in every direction, so that the elementary particles could stabilize. Out of that process rose the first atomic beings of hydrogen and helium.
In a process of one million turbulent years after that very first beginning, the frenzied particles calmed themselves enough for the primeval fireball to dissolve into a great scattering, with all the atoms soaring away from each other into the dark cosmic skies opening up in the beginning time.
Now another billion years went by; an uninterrupted night. It was a time for the universe to prepare itself for its next macrocosmic transfiguration.
In the depth of its great silence the universe shuddered with immense creativity necessary to fashion the galaxies. And the galaxies were formed – the Andromeda galaxy, the Virgo cluster of galaxies, Pegasus, Fornax, the Magellanic Clouds, M33, the Coma cluster, Sculptor, the Hercules cluster, as well as our own Milky Way galaxy – one hundred billion galaxies in all.
These gigantic structures pinwheeled through the emptiness of space and brought together all the hydrogen and helium into self-organizing systems, and cluster of systems, and clusters of clusters of systems. Each galaxy had an unique form and had its own internal dynamic. Each brought forth from its own materials billions upon billions of primal stars.
The most brilliant stars went through transformation upon transformation and exploded in colossal supernovas – they became mother stars that matched a billion stars in luminosity and spewed stellar materials throughout the galaxy.
Out of this materials new stars were put together; again a process that took a billion years. These second -generation stars were richer in potentiality and had a more complex internal-structure, because the primal stars had created the elemental beings of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, molybdenum, calcium, magnesium, and all hundred elements. Here we find the building materials out of which all further forms of life were created in a process of ever greater complexity.
Some five billion years after the beginning of time, the star Tiamat emerged in our spiral galaxy. She was the mother star out of which our Sun was born.
When she exploded, all the materials she carried in her fiery belly were dispersed in all directions of the cosmos. Now the adventure of the creation could deepen and enter into a new phase.
Five billion years, after the universe had expanded and developed for ten billion years, our Milky Way galaxy hit a peacefully drifting cloud of Tiamat ‘s remnants. Out of this event ten thousand new stars were born. Some of these turned out to be small brown dwarf stars. Others became blue super-giants that flashed into white glowing new supernovas. Others became stable long burning yellow stars, and still others became slumbering red stars.
From this floating cloud of stars, the universe brought forth our own star, the Sun. Once granted existence, the Sun showed its own self- organizing ability. She blasted off nearly all the clouds of elements yet hovering about it. Out of the rest of the clouds, arose the bonded system of Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
The charged early planets boiled as molten and gaseous materials. On Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Pluto, chemical combinations slowly grew to become rocks and continents and planetary crust that eventually so dominated the dynamics that all significant creativity came to an end. On these planets life never developed beyond this point.
On Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus chemical creativity never advanced beyond simpler compounds and they continued to churn primarily as gases for billions of years. Only on one Planet life developed in the way we know it on our home planet Earth. This could happen because of the balance of the inner dynamics of the Earth and its position in the structure of the solar system. Matter existed as solid, liquid, and gas, and flowed from one form into another to provide an incessantly chemical womb from which Aries, the first living cell arose.
The first living cells- the prokaryotes- had the power to organize themselves, as did the stars and galaxies, but they had stunning new gifts as well. The cells could remember significant information, even including the patterns necessary to knit together another living cell. Cells also possessed a new order of creativity; the ability to catch the packets of energy hurled by the Sun at the speed of light and to use these quanta as food.
Aries and her descendants, the prokaryotes, by gathering their hydrogen from the oceans, released oxygen into the Earth’s system; the oxygen slowly saturated the land and atmosphere and seas.
Thus the prokaryotes altered the Earth’s chemistry and brought the Earth in an Extreme unstable condition because of the explosive capacity of the oxygen.
In time the prokaryote communities perished as their interiors were set ablaze by the oxygen.
Vikengla, the first eucaryotic cell, was fully capable not only to endure oxygen but of shaping oxygen’s dangerous energy for its own purposes. The eukaryotes invented meiotic sex. Sexual bonding had entered the universe as two genetically different beings could unite and fashion out of their genetic endowments a radically new being. Through this event the universe’s diversity expanded a hundredfold. The foundation for bio-diversity was born. The eukaryotes invented the habit of eating living beings; eco-systemic predator-prey relationships emerged.
Then finally, at the end of the period of life on Earth in which the eukaryotes were the most advanced organism in the Earth System, the eukaryotes took the daring step of submerging themselves into a larger mind as trillions of them gathered together and evoked Argos, the first multicellular animal.
Six hundred million years ago, multicellular organisms arose in great variety of qualitatively distinct body plans; they included corals, worms, insects, clams. starfish, sponges, vertebrates, leeches and other forms that went extinct.
Life in the meso-cosmos had begun. Worms sprouted wings to guide them through the oceans and invented the tooth when another creature invented the shell. Ocean seas left plants stranded on the hot rocks; unable to crawl home they instead invented the wood cell and learned to stand up as Iycopod trees that lived along the shores of oceans and rivers and that in turn transformed themselves in gymnosperm trees capable of covering whole continents.
The animals followed the plants to the land and soon the continents that had been floating lifelesly on Earth’s mantle for two billion years heaved with amphibians and reptiles and insects and the great dinosaurs appeared.
AII of this creativity taking place within the Earth depended on many different stabilities, including the Sun’s stable burning of hydrogen. Also the Earth’s stable revolutions about the Sun and the stability of many chemical bonds throughout the Earth’s system.
But disasters visited the Earth as well, most poignantly when other heavenly bodies collided with Earth and its delicate fabric of life.
Sixty seven million years ago astronomical collisions so changed Earth’s atmosphere and climate that nearly all forms of animal life perished or had to reinvent themselves to be able to survive. Mass extinctions occurred and the dinosaurs and many of her animals disappeared forever. Such destruction however has opened new possibilities; now came the time for the birds and the mammals to develop.
Two hundred million years ago the mammals entered the Earth’s life. They developed emotional sensitivity, a new capacity in their nervous system to feel the universe. During the last sixty seven million years of the Cenozoic period the Earth has moved into its most Iyrical period. Beauty and diversity developed as never before. The deep mother -infant bond grew in mammals. The deep sensitivity in mammaIs paved the way for a next step in neural capability; the dawn of humankind with its conscious self-awareness
picture Dana Lynn Anderson
Four million years ago in Africa, humans stood up on just two limbs. And again two million years later they began to use their free hands to shape the Earth’s materials.
One and a half million years ago they were controlling fire, shaping the Sun’s energy that had been stored in sticks, to advance their own projects.
Thirty five thousand years ago, humans began to express their astonishment about existence by making cave paintings and developing rituals and celebrations.
Twenty thousand years ago Earth, through the humans, entered conscious self-awareness in the patterns of seeds, seasons and the primordial rhythms of the universe. Humans began to domesticate plants and animals -wheat and barley and goats in the Middle East, rice and pigs in Asia, corn and beans and the alpaca in the Americas. A secure food supply enabled populations to grow. The first Neolithic villages to sustain human groups of more than thousand people emerged.
Soon all the world Neolithic villages arose as the bulk of humanity moved from its hunting and gathering mode of life into that of the settled villages. This was the most radical social transformation ever to occur in the human venture. Pottery, weaving, architecture were developed, calendars articulating the cosmic rhythm appeared and shrines to the Mother God deity were elaborated and replaced the totemic animals of the Paleolithic. This was also the time that languages were developed.
Five thousand years ago the human venture brought forth a new form of life, the urban civilization. Intensified social interactions would give rise to new power centers within the human process; Babylon,Paris, Persepolis, Banaras, Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Sian, Athens, Bagdad, Tikal of the Maya, Cairo, Mecca, Delhi, Tenochtitlan of the Aztec, London, Cuzco, the Inca City of the Sun.
The invention of the bureaucratic system with its hierarchical authority relations (and its emphasis on specialization made possible vast transformations of the human and natural processes. Rivers became irrigation systems for agriculture. Caravans criss -crossed the world and forest was changed in shipping enterprises. Population and wealth soared, pyramids rose up along with elaborate temples, lavish palaces and cathedrals. To protect all of these concentrations of wealth and power military establishments came forth and a process of chronic warring had begun.
In the midst of this turbulence, the Tao, the Brahman-Amman Heaven, Nirvana impressed themselves upon the human mind. There arose the universalist beliefs of Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, which came to pervade the planet’s centers of civilization from Europe across North Africa and India and throughout the Eurasian continent to China and Southeast Asia. Only sub-Saharan Africa, the Americas, Australia, and pockets of indigenous peoples entirely escaped the control and influence of these four civilization complexes, the Middle East, Europe, India and China.
Five hundred years ago Europeans initiated the third of humanity’s great wanderings. Europeans encountered humans wherever they went; equipped with superior technologies and bureaucratic systems. They colonized peoples all around the planet, especially the Americas and Australia. In the nineteenth century India was added as a colony and China and Japan were forced into trading patterns with the Europeans. Thus the cultural shape of humanity was altered in a radical manner as the various human communities were in contact with each other and turned to a common. destiny in a way never previously existed.
Europe’s own internal articulation of global political connections came in the form of the nation-state with its self-government. The liberal democratic movement began to spread all over the globe and had its violent beginning in the French Revolution in 1789 and the American Revolution in 1776.
Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century, the nation-state provided the integrating community, replacing the former contexts of the band, or the village, or the capital with its surrounding territory. The sacred mystic of nation-state can be found in ideals of nationalism and patriotism, progress and democratic freedoms, individual rights to private poverty and economic gain. The conflicts between nation-states took the character of holy wars over these sacred ideals end culminated in wars that engulfed the whole of humanity in the twentieth century.
Out of that came not any particular nation-state as dominant entity, but the multinational corporation. By the end of the twentieth century these new institutions direct scientific, technological, financial and bureaucratic powers towards controlling Earth process for the benefit of human economy.
The destruction left by wars between the nations was dwarfed in significance by the destruction of the natural systems by industrial plunder. In geological terms, human activities in the twentieth century ended the sixty-seven-million-year venture called the Cenozoic Era.
As industrial humans multiplied into the billions to become the most numerous of all the Earth’s complex organisms, as they decisively inserted themselves into the eco systemic communities throughout the planet, drastically reducing Earth’s diversity and channeling the Gross Earth Product into human social systems, a momentous change in human consciousness was in process.
Humans discovered that the universe as a whole is not simply a background, not simply an existing place; the universe itself is a developing community of beings. Humans discovered by empirical investigation that they were participants in this fifteen-billion-year sequence of transformations that had eventuated into the complex functioning Earth.
A sustained and even violent assault by western intelligence upon the universe, through the work of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Buffon, Lamereck, Hutton, Lyell, Darwin, Spencer, Heschel, Curie, Hubble, Planck, Einstein , and the entire modern scientific enterprise, had brought forth a radically new understanding of the universe, not simply as cosmos, but as cosmogenesis, a developing community, one with an important role for the human in the midst of process.
The future of the Earth’s community rests in significant ways upon the decisions to be made by the humans who have inserted themselves so deeply into even the genetic codes of the Earth’s process.
This future will be worked out in the tensions between those committed to the Technozoic, a future of increased exploitation of Earth as resource, all for the benefit of the humans, and those committed to the Ecozoic, a new mode of human Earth relations, one where the well-being of the entire Earth community is the primary concern.
Prologue : The Story. Page 7- 15
The Universe Story: Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry: ISBN: 978-0-06-250835-5
The Universe story told for Children
- Born with a Bang. The Universe tells our Cosmic Story. Jennifer Morgan, illustrations Dana Lynne Andersen ISBN 1-58469-032-1
- Mammals Who Morph. The Universe tells our Evolution Story. Jennifer Morgan, Illustrations by Dana Lynne Anderson ISBN – 58469- 085-2
- From Lava to Life. Our Universe Tells Our Earth Story. Jennifer Morgan. Illustrated by Dana Lynne Andersen ISBN 1-58469-042-9
You want to go deeper?
A project funded by Bill gates makes it possible that people all over the world can learn more and know the Universe Story in all depth. Why do the history classes in our schools mostly start with the arrival of humans on the planet? Do we really know our whole history, starting from where everything that is originates?
- https://school.bighistoryproject.com and https://bighistoryproject.com/curricula
- Look at video’s of Brian Swimme at YouTube :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRykk_0ovI0V 6 min Why do we need a new story?