A New Cosmology

Feb. 10, 2019

Mary Evelyn Tucker from the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology is a leading contributor to the integrated academic field of spiritual ecology. She invites us to discover a new cosmology. One in which human beings are embedded in nature, the planet and the cosmos. This cosmology brings us into deep time and at the same time connects us subjectively with the places where we live. She reminds us that our ancestors and indigenous brothers respected and cared for nature, holding the nature world and the mystery and awe of the wonder of it all with reverence. It is not a unique world view to recognize the sacredness of the earth.

This contrasts with the mechanistic perspective of nature- the cosmos as a machine. As science dominated our culture, the natural world was no longer seen as sacred. Rather, our materialistic perspective is focused on the utility of natural resources. In addition, the Abrahamic religions removed the sacred from nature, lifting it up out of the world. Both science and religion have influenced a cultural perspective that has alienated us from the animated world. Add to that the hyper-sense of individualism and freedom without recognizing responsibilities and consequences and we come to the precipice of ecocide. Our economic drives are short-term and without a sense of restraint or natural limitations, something nature can teach us if we had the heart to listen.  

Tucker claims that human beings need an evolution of consciousness, alternative ways of being, to begin to address the environmental and economic issues that face us and the planet that, not only sustains our lives, but offers nourishment for re-creation, rejuvenation and fulfillment. We need to find balance in economy and ecology, diversity and interconnectedness, difference and unity, waxing and waning. Nature shows us the rhythms, patterns and principles, a path to walk to fulfill our place in the cosmos. Tucker says, “Listen to nature to sense how to be co-creators, not dominators of our planet.”

These are the values that frame the cosmological context and underlie the cosmology suggested by Dr. Tucker

  • Reverence for the earth community
  • Respect for the myriad species
  • Restraint in use of natural resources
  • Redistribution of technology and aid
  • Responsibility for the future of life
  • Restoration of ecosystems and the human spirit

“We can be inspired by this scientific view of nested interdependence- from galaxies and stars to planets and ecosystems- so that we sense how personally we are woven into the fabric of life. But this will require expanding our frame of reference and broadening our worldview. We are already in the process of doing this as we create the foundations for a sustainable future.”