Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Book of Cosmism: Introduction

(Now that I have taken on the rather challenging task of creating a religion for the next billion years and beyond, I am taking the obvious first step of writing the Book of Cosmism.  Here is the introduction, to give you some idea of the Book's tone and contents.  If I don't lose my religious zeal, I hope to have the Book completed, published and available at Amazon well before our planet becomes an uninhabitable desert due to the runaway greenhouse effect.

Note: now that my mind has become totally consumed by the Cosmism meme, I will probably be posting at my new blog, The Cosmist, for the foreseeable future.  If this idea interests you, please go there and subscribe, or better yet, post your thoughts and help me develop this idea further!)




Dedicated to our incredible, improbable earthly biosphere, by whose striving we have come to know the vastness of the universe.  May we carry your progeny ever outward from our blue cradle and breathe life into the Cosmos.


Introduction:

"Teetering here on the fulcrum of destiny stands our own bemused species. The future of the universe hinges on what we do next. If we take up the sacred fire, and stride forth into space as the torchbearers of Life, this universe will be aborning. If we carry the green fire-brand from star to star, and ignite around each a conflagration of vitality, we can trigger a Universal metamorphosis. Because of us, the barren dusts of a million billion worlds will coil up into the pulsing magic forms of animate matter. Because of us, landscapes of radiation blasted waste, will be miraculously transmuted: slag will become soil, grass will sprout, flowers will bloom, and forests will spring up in once sterile places. Ice, hard as iron, will melt and trickle into pools where starfish, anemones, and seashells dwell — a whole frozen universe will thaw and transmogrify, from howling desolation to blossoming paradise. Dust into Life; the very alchemy of God." –Marshall T. Savage

This book is an attempt to found a cosmic religion for the next billion years and beyond: the religion of Cosmism.  This is not a book of dogma, but a spiritual guidebook to help us find our way in this amazing Cosmos of ten billion trillion suns for as long as we, and it, may last.

I truly believe that the Cosmist perspective I will describe in these pages is necessary for our continued survival and well-being as a species.  For we are living at a critical moment in human history, when mankind is finally emerging from ancestral ignorance into the light of a global scientific civilization.  It is an extremely perilous passage, and the outcome is very much in doubt.  Modernity is beset by powerful forces of religious, tribal, cultural and biological conservatism which threaten to plunge our planet into a new dark age.  If Cosmists do not prevail against these backward-lookers, our species will likely fail its one shot at becoming progenitors of life throughout the Cosmos.  We will face a long descent back to our cradle in the Olduvai, followed by extinction.

We who look to the future with infinite dreams must therefore be strong in our convictions in these perilous times.  I offer this book in hopes of strengthening those convictions and inspiring readers to take up arms in this great holy war for the future of humanity.  I suspect we will know the outcome of this epochal struggle by the end of the current century – perhaps within most of our lifetimes.  The fate of intelligent life on this planet, and perhaps in our entire galaxy and beyond, depends powerfully on what the next few generations of human beings choose to believe about our place in the Cosmos.

My initial inspiration for Cosmism came to me in early 2011, while I was watching an episode of the television series “Cosmos” on YouTube.  The words of the late, great Carl Sagan affected me deeply, and I had what could only be described as a religious revelation.  It suddenly dawned on me, listening to the words of this great and visionary man, that this was the perspective human beings would need to adopt if our civilization was to continue to progress and prosper indefinitely into the future.  In the days and weeks that followed, I took Sagan’s teachings a step further, incorporated ideas of other cosmic visionaries, along with a few of my own, and before long had arrived at Cosmism.

It may be said that Cosmism has a god, a creation myth, prophets and commandments; it contains visions of apocalypse, the millenium, transcendence and ultimate destiny.  Yet for all that, Cosmism has no supernatural element, no appeals to miracles, divine entities, souls, heaven or hell.  Cosmism is a rational religion which will appeal even (or perhaps especially) to the scientific atheist.

In recent centuries our scientific understanding of the universe has expanded far beyond anything imagined by previous civilizations.  Yet somehow our dominant religions remain those of pre-scientific Iron Age tribes whose horizons in space and time were microscopic compared to our own.  The Book of Cosmism is an attempt to bring religion into the modern world by establishing a new cosmic worldview consistent with the awesome scale and scope of our scientific knowledge.  Cosmism aims to be a religion not for this millenium or this planet alone, but for the untold billions of years and trillions of worlds yet to be explored.

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