Journey of the Universe


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Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker

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An epic story of the emergence of the universe and of the community of life, with a new vision for how we might bring forth a vibrant Earth Community

Today we know what no previous generation knew: the history of the universe and of the unfolding of life on Earth. Through the astonishing combined achievements of natural scientists worldwide, we now have a detailed account of how galaxies and stars, planets and living organisms, human beings and human consciousness came to be. And yet . . . we thirst for answers to questions that have haunted humanity from the very beginning. What is our place in the 14-billion-year history of the universe? What roles do we play in Earth's history? How do we connect with the intricate web of life on Earth?

In Journey of the Universe Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker tell the epic story of the universe from an inspired new perspective, weaving the findings of modern science together with enduring wisdom found in the humanistic traditions of the West, China, India, and indigenous peoples. The authors explore cosmic evolution as a profoundly wondrous process based on creativity, connection, and interdependence, and they envision an unprecedented opportunity for the world's people to address the daunting ecological and social challenges of our times.

Journey of the Universe transforms how we understand our origins and envision our future. Though a little book, it tells a big story—one that inspires hope for a way in which Earth and its human civilizations could flourish together.

This book is part of a larger project that includes a documentary film, an educational DVD series, and a website. For more information, please consult the website,

Brian Thomas Swimme is a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Mary Evelyn Tucker is senior lecturer and research scholar at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale Divinity School. She is co-founder and co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale.

"An expanded look into the evolution of our own consciousness. I cannot imagine a more urgent book to read as we enter this revolutionary moment on the planet. It is an illuminated manuscript, a prayer book of wonder and awe for our time."—Terry Tempest Williams, author of Finding Beauty in a Broken World

"What’s most striking about Swimme and Tucker’s work is a simple but beautiful assumption: a cosmological orientation opens the human mind to wonder, gratitude, humility, and creativity."—Mitchell Thomashow, Orion

"Strikingly, . . . the co-authors managed to fit 14 billion years of grandeur along with humanity’s most fundamental questions into small spaces. . . . Perfectly tailored for classroom use . . . offering a common ground for discussion among people of myriad points of view."—Julianne Lutz Warren, Journal of Environmental Studies and Science

"For those of us enmeshed in symbolic consciousness, this is just the story we need to hear, loud and clear. It helps us understand how we happened to be here, and, more important, why."—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet and The End of Nature

"This is a wonderful, highly readable account of the history of the universe from the Big Bang through the present moment. . . . There is blockbuster potential in Journey of the Universe, and I recommend it with great enthusiasm."—Thomas Lovejoy, University Professor in Environmental Science and Policy,

George Mason University

"Journey of the Universe is eloquent, accessible, and powerful, and conveys a sense of wonder ranging from the cosmos to the microcosm—in itself a considerable achievement. This is one of the most compelling and inspiring works I've read in a long time."—David W. Orr, Oberlin College

"A compelling approach to the scientific, aesthetic, and religious dimensions of our cosmic setting, inviting us to live lives that reflect the amazing creativity that has produced us."—George Fisher, Johns Hopkins University

"This project will be ground-breaking."—Christopher Key Chapple, Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions

"A classic . . . a 'cosmic page-turner,' a story I couldn’t put down . . . we stand in such desperate need of a new worldview that is not only consistent with science, but energized and empowered (made miraculous) by the unfolding story."— Kathleen Dean Moore, co-editor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril

"A classic text that will address, educate, and delight a vast readership at all educational levels."—Brian Edward Brown, author of Religion, Law, and the Land: Native Americans and the Judicial Interpretation of Sacred Land

"My reason for reading the entire manuscript in one sitting was simply that I was enthralled, and couldn't stop; my reasons for jealousy were the beauty of the literary style, the clarity of the lessons taught, and THE ultimate lesson toward which the book is so brilliantly and effectively directed. You have accomplished something as truly beautiful as it is true, a work that should be read by all the world. Your book will teach so many of us, as it has me, to wonder at the universe in ways of which we had not previously conceived."—Sherwin Nuland, author of The Way We Die

"This cosmic saga offers a compelling vision of the grand adventure in which we humans are taking part."—Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Conservationist Manifesto

"Journey of the Universe is beautifully written and makes it's point superbly. In the history of our School the sweep of its vision ranks with that of Aldo Leopold - think like a mountain meets think like an atom!"—Dean Peter Crane, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

"This story of the universe has the potential to change our civilization."—James Gustave Speth, author of Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment and The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability

"In their new book, Journey of the Universe, Brian Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker invite us into the scientific story of the Universe, imbuing it with all the passion and purpose of a great religious myth. Their 'invitation into grandeur' carries us into the heart of a story that Homer would have loved to tell—the story of how life began, evolved, and turned into you and me."—Carter Phipps, EnlightenNext

"The book is simply written and easy to read—more like Kipling's Just So Stories than Being and Time—and you may or may not be convinced by Swimme and Tucker's interpretations of modern cosmology and evolutionary history. But it's a fascinating game to play. More theology of physics, please!"—Josh Rothman, Boston Globe (Brainiac blog)

"This highly descriptive text is a poetic expression of the authors’ view of biological and physical sciences."—Choice

"The sense of deep time and space that Journey of the Universe establishes is the greatly needed context for students, who do not always appreciate the present predicament and the role of humanity in the world. It puts us in perspective—and conveys wonder that Earth and life are here in the first place and how amazing it is to be in what is apparently one of the most creative nooks in the universe. Also wonderful is the scientific narrative spine and to ask over and over—ok, what does it mean for us?"—Julianne Lutz Warren, author of Aldo Leopold’s Odyssey

Journey of the Universe (the film) has been nominated for an Emmy for the West Coast (winner will be announced 9 June)
ISBN: 9780300171907
Publication Date: June 28, 2011
192 pages, 5 x 7 3/4

An online Yale course on Journey of the Universe is available through Coursera.