This multimedia project presents an epic story of cosmic, Earth, and human evolution. It consists of an Emmy Award-winning film, a book, a series of conversations available as podcasts or videos, curricular materials, and a series of online courses (MOOCs). Drawing on the discoveries of modern science and the wisdom of the world’s cultures, Journey of the Universe tells a compelling story that reveals our deep connection to the web of life.
Journey narrates the 14 billion-year story of the universe’s development, from the great flaring forth at the universe’s inception, to the emergence of simple molecules and atoms, to the evolution of galaxies, stars, solar systems, and planetary life of greater complexity and consciousness. This is a story that inspires wonder as we begin to understand such complexity through science and appreciate such beauty through poetry, art, history, philosophy, and religion. It also awakens us to the dynamic processes of evolution that are chaotic and destructive, as well as creative and life-generating. Journey is a cosmological story of the unfolding of the universe and Earth in which life and humans emerge. This story is told in a poetic manner while relying on our best knowledge from modern science. Scientific facts and poetic metaphors are interwoven so that viewers of the film or readers of the book can understand how they arose from these creative processes and participate in them.
Such a cosmological perspective is both ancient and modern—embedded in certain aspects of world philosophies and religions and revealed anew in the scientific story of the universe. Thus, science along with philosophy and religion help us to recognize ourselves as participating in a larger integrated whole. Humans are the microcosm of the macrocosm—they are the mind and heart of the vast evolving universe.
We are living in times of immense challenge on every front—socially, politically, ecologically, and spiritually. As Thomas Berry suggested, we need a new story to reorient and ground ourselves to meet these challenges. This story—an epic of evolution—has the potential to bring together the best of modern science and the humanities. This more unified perspective can give us a sense of where we have come from and how we belong. Indeed, a comprehensive story of Universe, Earth, and humans can inspire the Great Work of transformation in our times. and move us toward the creative flourishing of the Earth community.
Film (2011, 56 minutes)
Winner of a 2012 Emmy® Award for best documentary, the film, narrated by Brian Thomas Swimme, weaves an engaging story of the unfolding universe and humanity’s evolving place in it. Available from Amazon..
Book (2011, 175 pages; Yale University Press 2014)
The Journey of the Universe book, authored by Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker, is published by Yale University Press. It integrates the perspectives of the sciences and the humanities into a lyrical telling of our 13.8 billion-year story. Translations of the book are currently available in French, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, Korean, and Chinese.
Conversations (2011, 20 interviews available in podcast and videos)
This series consists of 20 conversations with scientists, historians, environmentalists, and educators. These interviews deepen understanding of evolutionary processes and illustrate engaged environmental work inspired by a universe story perspective.
The Journey of the Universe website has articles and bibliographies for teaching. A curriculum designed for use in undergraduate and high school classrooms, learning centers, places of worship, and conferences is available.
Forum founders and directors, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, have created several Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) at Yale through the platform, Coursera. This is featured under the theme of “Journey of the Universe: A Story for Our Times.” The courses are:
- Journey of the Universe: The Unfolding of Life
- Journey of the Universe: Weaving Knowledge and Action
- The Worldview of Thomas Berry: The Flourishing of the Earth Community
These six-week courses may be audited free of charge. They are also now available in Chinese.
Header photo: Milky Way galaxy using infrared light and X-ray light to see through the obscuring dust and reveal the intense activity near the galactic core; Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/CXC/STScI