Modern science began with the myth of the machine. In only a few centuries, this worldview completely transformed the world, empowering our species to become a geological force on par with asteroids and ice ages. If Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry are right, science, through the insights derived from its own methods, has now entirely outgrown this mechanistic image of the cosmos.
The universe, it turns out, is a green dragon—a creative process rather than a finished product. Swimme’s auto-bio-cosmological narrative is, in one sense, the exemplar of an ancient genre counting Augustine’s Confessions and Dante’s Divine Comedy among its antecedents.
Yet, in another sense, Cosmogenesis changes everything: In place of a separate creator God who designs and judges creation from afar, there is pervasive creative attraction luring the universe beyond every settled order. In place of a static hierarchy of planetary spheres, there is a nested sequence of evolutionary phases.
The human—the coming into being and continuing evolution of humans—is not the end of this stupendous process but is a crucial turning point. Conscious, self-reflective creatures now hold the fate of Earth in their hands.
Swimme’s book serves as a call to adventure to all those ready and willing to meet this moment by becoming cosmological beings.
Saturn, NASA and STSCI
* Matthew Segall, PhD, is a transdisciplinary researcher who teaches courses applying process-relational philosophy across various disciplines, including religious studies, philosophy of nature, philosophy of mind, and social and political theory. He has published on these and a wide range of other topics, including German idealism, the philosophy of time, psychedelics, theoretical biology, architecture, and media theory.