• April 20, 2016
  • 7:00 pm
  • California Institute of Integral Studies
    1453 Mission Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103
Add to Calendar 04/20/2016 7:00 pm 04/20/2016 America/Los_Angeles Why Study the Universe? We humans have been astonished by our existence for a long time. Trying to make sense of it all is one of the oldest projects around, and each era seems to make some progress in this all-encompassing effort. California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
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We humans have been astonished by our existence for a long time. Trying to make sense of it all is one of the oldest projects around, and each era seems to make some progress in this all-encompassing effort. The consequences of these insights are huge, because whenever humans become convinced that their understanding goes beyond what their ancestors knew, they find themselves reinventing what it means to be human. We are always at the very beginning of this quest, profoundly stunned, even horrified, by the vastness of what we know and what we do not know. It is an important search, because we build our civilizations upon our understanding of the cosmos.

The last hundred years has seen a revolution in cosmology. No previous generation had our knowledge of a trillion galaxy universe, its quantum foundation, or its 14 billion year lifespan. Our cosmological framework has shifted. If history is any guide, this means we are entering into a deep reinvention of what it means to be a human on Earth. What will this look like?

This talk will provide a snapshot of the last 2500 years of cosmology in Western civilization, from Pythagoras to Stephen Hawking, identifying the key breakthroughs in this new quantum evolutionary complexity cosmology. We’ll follow up with speculation and conversation on the way this will impact human consciousness over the next several centuries.

Brian Thomas Swimme is a professor of cosmology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, in San Francisco. Swimme's work joins with those scientists, scholars, and visionaries who recognize that the Earth community is facing an unprecedented evolutionary challenge, the most severe degradation of life in the last 65 million years. This multifaceted crisis requires a fundamental reorientation of our civilization, one in which a compassionate humanity becomes a mutually enhancing presence within Earth's complex systems of life. Cultural historian Thomas Berry has called this task "the Great Work."

*This Lecture is part of Big Ideas at CIIS.

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