Is the Universe Enough? Can It Suffice as a Basis for Worldviews?

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Mark Lupisella

Abstract

The modern scientific cosmic perspective is unique and compelling, but it is not for everyone.  Modern cosmology can be humbling and awe-inspiring, even motivating  It can also be overwhelming, even scary.  The extent to which the universe we know today can form the basis of satisfactory worldviews rests largely on human psychology, preferences, and needs, as well as on what we mean by “worldview”.  This essay will explore some ways to think about worldviews and the universe, with an emphasis on exploring relationships between cosmic evolution and cultural evolution (Dick and Lupisella), including what might be called “cosmocultural evolution” – the coevolution of cosmos and culture (Lupisella 2009).  We will touch on a few cosmocultural evolutionary perspectives as well as broader underlying “cosmological theories of value”.  With an eye toward psychology, we will consider if and how such perspectives might inform, or possibly suffice as worldviews, suggesting generally that the universe may suffice for some people some of the time, but probably not for most people most of the time.

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Author Biography

Mark Lupisella, Horizons Project, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Mark Lupisella is Co-founder of the Horizons Project, addressing challenges of human long-term survival and development.  Mark is also the Exploration Research and Development Manager at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center where he focuses on research and development associated with human exploration systems and architectures. He’s authored over 35 published works ranging from technical space topics to ethics and philosophy and the search for extraterrestrial life, including co-editing the NASA book, Cosmos and Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context.  Mark has a B.S in Physics, a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, and Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology (dissertation on modeling microbial contamination from a human Mars mission).