We’ve got graduation on the mind here at Yale today. This morning, President Richard C. Levin and many other speakers addressed the crowd assembled on Yale’s Old Campus for the university’s 310th Commencement exercises, complete with mascot, Handsome Dan.
Always an occasion to reflect on past experiences and new beginnings, graduation sets us looking out towards change—how it happens, how we ourselves can effect it. This is certainly the perspective of a new book, The New Universe and the Human Future, by Nancy Abrams and Joel R. Primack, interpreting what our human place in the cosmos may mean for us and our descendants. Their incisive analysis of how far we have come in modern cosmology and biology leads to a startling conclusion: we are at a stage in both that allows for the invention of a shared creation story.
“There is a gaping hole in modern thinking that may never have existed in human society before,” the authors write, “we have no meaningful sense of how we and our fellow humans fit into the big picture.” They explore this problem as they conceive a vision of the future, with an emphasis on building a cosmic society, following the mantra that “To act wisely on the global scale, we need to think cosmically.” Within this thinking are approaches for how to solve the greater problems of our civilization and how we relate to the natural world around us. This is a lesson for all graduates today, for the book “is not about science per se. It’s about us and what we as a species need to do, now that we understand for the first time where we are in time and space.”
Be sure to check out the Cosmic Society on Facebook, and you can see a full list of YUP’s graduation gift suggestions here. Congratulations to graduates worldwide as they prepare for the challenges ahead and help us bring about the vision of tomorrow!