Life, the Universe, and Awe

June 10, 2011 Leave a comment

“Reverence for life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life . . . “

Albert Schweitzer

The Known Universe from AMNH on Vimeo.

One year ago I blogged about my experience in the GeoDome, “a portable immersive environment” that allows participants to experience interactive simulations derived from scientific data provided by the likes of NASA and NOAA.  Think of it as a traveling planetarium that provides tours of our planet, solar system, and/or the universe through the lens of different observable phenomena – electromagnetic radiation, population growth, plane travel, etc. The purpose of the  GeoDome is to provide visceral ways for people to experience shifts of perspective that might support their efforts in embracing and promoting more sustainable behaviors.

Given this anniversary, it is quite appropriate that the video above come to my attention.  The Known Universe is a film based on precise, scientifically-accurate observations and research, including the Digital Universe Atlas, the world’s most complete four-dimensional map of the universe. It is also very personally significant that this film should come from the American Museum of Natural History, which I find to be one of the world’s great treasures.  On two occasions, once just prior to the birth of my first daughter, and then just a couple of weeks ago with that same daughter who is now 5 years old, I have had what I would call “spiritual” awakenings while touring that remarkable institution.  AMNH stands as an amazing testimonial to the profundity and preciousness of Life.  It demands nothing less than reverence for and curiosity about this gift we have all been given.  And it reminds us to use this gift wisely and well, and to play our part in making enhancements before passing it along.

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  • Gibrán says:

    Om Namah Shivaya. If I was wise enough, that is all I would say. AWE. TOTAL AWE. Thank you for sharing. Just this morning I had the most interesting conversation with an Australian Astronomer now at Harvard – we were taking the same bus and we were talking about the GeoDome. I never forget David’s main point that we need a new cosmology and that it always comes with a map – our maps correlate with how we walk in the world. It is time for this map.

    ps: I commit to going to the AMNH!

  • That was rad, Curtis. Wow. It gets most intense toward the end. What an experience! Thanks for sharing!

  • Curtis says:

    Christian, if you ever get a chance to experience the GeoDome I think you’ll love it. Check out –

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