The Living Universe
Change is needed if we are to take greater care of the beautiful planet we live on. But what vision for humanity’s journey “has the breadth, depth and reach to enable us to look beyond our many differences and to galvanise our efforts in building a promising future?” So asks Duane Elgin in his book, The Living Universe.
The author’s answer is to see the universe as being alive – an idea that has profound implications for the way we experience life. Duane believes that if we work more closely with nature we can learn a great deal about ourselves as we study the self-organising systems found throughout the cosmos.
Duane feels that the universe is a living evolutionary and learning system and that humans are on a journey of discovery within it. We are learning to live within a living universe.
If we lose sight of this, we diminish our understanding of who we are and where we are going, the author says. His sense is that we have separated ourselves from union with nature. However, he believes we are opening a new level of connection with nature – particularly through science. We are now at the stage of discovering the universe to be a place of breathtaking immensity, astonishing subtlety and unfathomable mystery.
The streams of thought that have existed for more than 2,000 years that regard the universe to be deeply alive are also explored in this book. The major traditions – Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian and indigenous, all describe the universe and the life force that pervades it. The Living Universe shows us that world wisdoms reveal a common understanding that is in accord with the leading edge of science.
Scientists have long assumed that the visible forms of matter and energy make up the universe, and were stunned to discover that an overwhelming amount of the universe is invisible. It is scientific fact that we don’t know what 96% of the universe really is; scientists are pushing the boundaries of discovery moment by moment.
This book suggests that if we thought we were at the culmination of evolution, we need to think again. We could be discovering that we are only at the beginning.
Awakening to the living universe goes beyond nations, regions or ethnic groups. This is a vision big enough to honour our diversity but also to act as a beacon for our collective future. The immensity and immediacy of this story shatters our preoccupation with materialism and consumerism, transforming our understanding of our place in the universe.
Review by Shauna Crockett-Burrows