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      Lawrence Edwards
      Participant

      Anyone reading this is interested in what happened in the past. There are many paths to this interest. Some were entranced by a school history course taught by a teacher who was probably also entranced by the subject. Some became interested in teaching the Montessori method and responded positively to Maria Montessori’s vision of the importance of presenting the history of the Universe to the child. Some, like myself, read Thomas Berry’s “Dream of the Earth”, watched Brian Swimme’s video series “Canticle to the Cosmos” and listened to Miriam MacGillis’ “Fate of the Earth” audiotape. Starting a few centuries ago students of geology, biology, and then astrophysics began to unravel Earth’s and then the Universe’s past through academic research. Some became involved in ecological restoration out of compassion and/or common sense. I am sure there are other lineages. I would love to hear of them.

      My point is simply that there are several well trod paths to an interest in the past and its meaning, and that each path has involved an associated vocabulary and methodological approach.

      So I am wondering if it would be useful or at least interesting to consider moving to a more common vocabulary (but not a more common methodological approach). To this end I suggest the phrase “deep history” as the subject matter and “Earth wisdom” as the goal. I like the “deep” part because it has a double sense, deep in time and deep in meaning. I like the “history” part because, well, after all it is history, however extended in time.

      But just knowing the past is not sufficient, at least not for me. The Universe Story, my path, grounded me in a radically new sense of identity, and catapulted me into a new life adventure which first and foremost involves saving the community, the whole community of Earth life. So the goal, as I see it, must refer to Earth as a whole. I am drawn to the word, wisdom, partly because of the deep insights of the many wisdom traditions, but also due to a comment that I have heard lately that “the internet has made available an enormous amount of knowledge, but little wisdom”. We need more than knowledge. We need wisdom; but knowledge must precede wisdom. We need to apply our knowledge in wise ways.

      So within this vocabulary the question we could continually ask ourselves is “Is what I am doing Earth-wise?”

    • #2417 Reply
      Jennifer Morgan
      Participant

      I love this Larry. And I was thinking something similar though hadn’t articulated it yet so clearly. “Deep History” and “Earth Wisdom” are potent terms, pointing to understanding through Deep History and to action through Earth Wisdom, as in, as you say “Is what I am doing Earth-wise? It would be interesting to see what others think, from Big History, Montessori Cosmic Education, and other lineages. I’m heading to the American Montessori Society national conference in Dallas tomorrow morning. Flurry of packing going on here!

    • #2461 Reply
      Mary Conrow Coelho
      Participant

      Thank you Lawrence Edwards for starting this forum. I too was profoundly influenced by Canticle to the Cosmos. Your idea of finding a common vocabulary is important so the community of people involved with the evolutionary epic, no matter by what pathway a person has joined it, can reflect together to develop the earth wisdom that you suggest is the goal. I do not know well what the vocabularly issues are although one is certainly whether to use words that arise from a particular religious tradition, even assuming the words and assumptions are carefully explained within our new context. Would the common vocabulary you seek include a new language for spiritual understanding and experience within the context of the new story?
      One bit of wisdom from the story that is important to me is the recognition of the creativity of the earth and universe. This is a profound basis of hope. It is antidote to the “nothing new under the sun” pessimism and the parade of very difficult new stories that we hear daily. It is an antidote to what John Haught calls “the dire news of scintific inevitability.” It is a source of confidence in the possibility of a viable future as we trust that we can find creative directions and solutions rising within beings, human beings, who are earth beings. This promise of creativity and novelty within the context of our new story can add considerable deep seated strength to the voices seeking a sustainable way of life, because it evokes a personal participation, a deep belonging as we now know we are a form of a creative earth and cosmos. We can celebrate that there are already creative solutions and more can and will arise.
      I have found Steve McIntosh’s book Evolution’s Purpose very heartening. He writes that we are allured toward truth, beauty and goodness. This seems very wise as it also evokes hope because of the strenth of being allured and it is also a way of thinking in the context of the new story that touches the heart. This is a good way it seems of trying to talk about directionality avoiding only randomness and also avoiding the Christocentric language of Teilhard de Chardin. Christocentric language might be appropriately used by the new story community but with a careful understanding of such language in the context of our new origin story. This is certainly a worthy topic but not at all an easy task since the evolutionary epic arose out of science.

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