Answer Involves Beliefs Present Condition Personal History Ancestry
Larry’s First Answer I am a man, husband, father. I was born in CA, chemist, traveled much. I am Irish, Welsh, English, & Cherokee.
Another’s Answer I am a child of God. A traveler among men. I seek Truth. Come from a long line of seekers back to the mists of time.
N. Scott Momaday’s Answer “I am the Story of myself.” Larry’s note: “Story” means the whole 13.7 billion year story.
A Great Work Usually Cosmology 1 + Cosmology 2 is Cosmology 1 and, oh yeah, the other one. Cosmology 1 + Cosmology 2 could be Cosmology 1 + Cosmology 2
The Great Work New Cosmology Original Cosmology (western scientific, technological, economical, industrial, & biblical) New Cosmology
Larry’s First Answer (Example of Literal Cosmology) I am a man, husband, father. I was born in CA, chemist, traveled much. I am Irish, Welsh, English, & Cherokee.
Another’s Answer (Example of Mythological Cosmology) I am a child of God. A traveler among men. I seek Truth. Come from a long line of seekers back to the mists of time.
Cosmologies (Including Creation Stories) LiteralMythological DysfunctionalEarth is flat.Witches, devils, slavery, etc FunctionalEarth is a globe.Australian Dream Time
American Cosmology is a Mixture Biblical Literalists = Creationists Scientific-Technologists-Evolutionists = no non-physical explanations Folks, probably lots of them, who don’t concern themselves much with explanations. (There must be considerable overlap.)
Dysfunctional Even though American cosmology is a mixture, with overlaps, complicated, etc, it is fundamentally dysfunctional because it carries an implicit and very powerful assumption: Earth was created for humans. This is revelation and/or common sense (law).
Embedded in our Culture When is last time we asked permission of the natural world to build a housing project? This assumption and its corollary are deep in our culture. Miriam MacGillis did. The Irish used to, not long ago.
Should be Easy to Fix; Just the Facts Humans are newcomers on Earth. No significance until recently (30 – 50 kya). Created through long process of natural selection. Alas! Not very successful. Should have known. Evolution taught in most colleges already.
Big Learning Many people find the facts sterile. They want meaning. And meaning, real meaning is best conveyed mythologically. Joseph Campbell’s quote.
Joseph Campbell Quote “I would say that all our sciences are the material that has to be mythologized. A mythology gives spiritual meaning - what one might call rather the psychological, inward meaning, of the world of nature round about us, as understood today. There's no real conflict between science and religion... What is in conflict is the science of 2000 BC... and the science of the 21th century AD.”
Need Multivalence Thomas Berry stressed that we need to educate for a new cosmology in a “multivalent” mode – levels of meaning. A few do this very well: Thomas, Brian Swimme, Miriam MacGillis, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and others. This has been effective over the last 30 years.
Thomas Berry Quote “It’s all a question of story. We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are in between stories. The old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it, is no longer effective. Yet we have not learned the new story. Our traditional story of the universe sustained us for a long period of time. It shaped our emotional attitudes, provided us with life purposes, and energized action.
It consecrated suffering and integrated knowledge. We awoke in the morning and knew where we were. We could answer the questions of our children. We could identify crime, punish transgressors. Everything was taken care of because the story was there. It did not necessarily make people good, nor did it take away the pains and stupidities of life or make for unfailing warmth in human association. It did provide a context in which life could function in a meaningful manner. My addition: “We awoke in the morning and knew where we were.” and who we were.
Slight Expansion of my Answer Gratitude is the key to a heartfelt response. Carry genes of my ancestors. So I am (part) them. Also carry results of their lifestyles and choices which were dependent on their environments.
I am Grateful I am Irish, Welsh, English, Cherokee I carry the genes of these ancestors but also some aspects of their culture, those aspects that affected their health, etc. And I am grateful that those ancestors made the choices they did that I might be alive now.
Lucy, Australopithecus afarensis, 3 mya Savanna influenced her life & choices I am Grateful.
Tiktaalik, lobed-fin fish, 375 mya walked ashore I am Grateful
Juvenile Sea Squirt, 500 mya Developed Cartilage Vertebrae I am Grateful
And so on back to the beginning 13.75 bya I am Grateful The mammalian ear so I can hear. The fish eye so I can see. Bacterial respiration so I can breathe. DNA so I can live Supernovae so we can exist Universe birth so all can exist
I am the Story of Myself The Whole Story The Story of humanity The Story of life The Story of Earth The Story of the Cosmos And I am Grateful.