Abstract – The human in the Universe
In this book, the age-old existential human questions such as ‘what is love, what is suffering, what does it mean to be alive’, are addressed anew, but this time from the larger context of the Universe story as articulated through contemporary science. The Universe story is the story of our origins as gained through modern scientific insight. It describes the evolution of developmental time from the primordial flaring forth some 13.8 billion years ago, as far as and encapsulating the birth of consciousness in the human being. It describes the processes which gave rise to Earth, the evolution of life on Earth and within it, the emergence of the human species. The Universe story contextualises the human story within the larger cosmic story.
The book deals with the implications of this story for how we live our lives and indeed for how we view our lives. It focusses on the particularities of life such as friendship, joy, love suffering, consciousness, and drawing on philosophy, the major insights emerging from cosmology and personal reflection, seeks to understand them. In the beginning chapters it outlines the Universe story and its major principles and this then sets the context as the book takes on a more reflective and philosophical bent. It uses as its foundation the author’s own experience and so is more lyrical than academic, attempting to evoke in the reader the same joy that the author felt when she first learned this story from science.
The book ends with a vision of humanity and the role of humanity which aims to re-awaken people to the simple pleasure and gift of existence and in doing so, enabling us to become a more relational, compassionate and thoughtful species.