Embrace of the Earth 2016

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Audio File

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Recently as I was walking down a sidewalk here in the San Francisco Bay area, I happened to read the headlines of an atrocious act of war. Before my mind had a chance to think, I found myself swimming in images of a strike force that would eliminate the evil-doers. As soon as I did stop to reflect, I realized I had already become one of them. Deeply discouraged, I wished I could mark the occasion by bursting into tears. Unable to express my distress in that way, I began to wonder about my own cosmology concerning annihilation. Had I unconsciously demonized it? Had I unconsciously convinced myself annihilation needed to be eliminated? Our knowledge now extends from the BICEP-2 experiment concerning the first instants of the universe's existence all the way to EO Wilson's announcement that we are in a mass extinction event. Does this knowledge of fourteen billion years offer us insights into annihilation? Is it possible to imagine a more complex, more interesting, more scientific view of the relationship between creativity and destruction?


Brian Thomas Swimme received his Ph.D. from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Oregon in 1978 for work in gravitational dynamics. He brings the context of story to our understanding of the fourteen billion year trajectory of the universe. Such a story, he feels, will assist in the emergence of a flourishing Earth community.

Swimme is the author of The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos and The Universe is a Green Dragon. He is co-author of several books, Manifesto for a Global Civilization with Matthew Fox, The Universe Story with Thomas Berry, and The Journey of the Universe, with Mary Evelyn Tucker. Swimme is also the creator of three educational video series: "Canticle to the Cosmos," "Earth's Imagination," and "The Powers of the Universe." Most recently he hosted the 60 minute film "Journey of the Universe," broadcast on PBS television stations nationwide and winner of the Northern California regional Emmy for Best Documentary in 2011.

Swimme lectures widely and has presented at conferences sponsered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The World Bank, UNESCO, The International Montessori Society, and the American Museum of Natural History.