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Michael Dowd

Howdy, All!  


I sincerely apologize for not entering this conversation (and others in the DTJN) more fully. I’m on a writing retreat this summer in Ludington, Michigan (trying to complete my new book) and I am a fair bit behind schedule, with a hard deadline in mid-August.  


For me, the important question is NOT, “Is the universe conscious?” or even “Is the universe a living system?” but, rather, “How shall we relate to Nature if we hope to survive and not condemn our children, grandchildren, and countless other species to hell and high water?”  


I consider the single most important scientific discovery about religion made over the past hundred years to be: “personification”.  (See Stuart Guthrie’s masterful 1994 Oxford University Press volume: “Faces In the Clouds”): http://www.amazon.com/Faces-Clouds-New-Theory-Religion/dp/0195098919  


Our brains are inherently relational. When we attribute human characteristics to what is more than human (or non-human, or other than human), we tend to survive and thrive in ways that we just don’t when we treat Nature as an “It” to be exploited or used for our benefit.  Martin Buber spoke forcefully about this in his classic book, “I and Thou”.  


I highly recommend (in addition to reading Terry and Ursula’s excellent chapter on the Sacred Emergence of Nature), do watch a few of these short “Nature Is Speaking” videos — especially Julia Roberts (Mother Nature), Harrison Ford (The Oceans), and Kevin Spacey (The Rainforests): http://natureisspeaking.org/home.html#Films  


Our answer to the main question this forum thread is seeking to address depends on how we (and those we admire) define “universe”, “living” “living system”, “conscious”, “sentient”, “aware”, etc.     Whether humanity can re-claim a respectful and honorable relationship to Nature *without* thinking of the cosmos as alive is an interesting question.  I’m honestly not sure.  


For those interested, I get into all this in much more depth in the main message I am now preaching and evangelizing: https://youtu.be/K_1UxXV17rM

Alternate title: Reality Is Lord: A Scientific View of God (and Why This Matters on a Rapidly Overheating Planet)
Co-evolutionary love and blessings to all,  
~ Michael