Journey of the Universe

Year of Living the Community: Week 28


Greg Quicke aka Space Gandalf from ABC Stargazing Live

Greg Quicke aka Space Gandalf from ABC Stargazing Live

The CCP team watched one night of the ABC Stargazing Live 3-night program this week. Sadly, we can't claim to be amongst the 10,000 viewers who discovered a new solar system when 'The show's viewers were called on to hunt exoplanets (beyond our solar system) by analysing observations of about 100,000 stars via the Zooniverse website and recently downloaded data from the NASA telescope.' A professor of astrophysics at Oxford, Chris Lintott, said the discovery will help them test how planets are made. Closer to home, experts were unimpressed (a NSW prof says,'These discoveries are common as dirt nowadays' - party pooper). Brian Cox, host of the program, thought it was significant, and that's good enough. 

Plus we were introduced to Space Gandalf.  

As for the navel gazing, CCP is checking in with Arne Naess's idea of living in a Deep Ecology way. The notion of 'tends toward' is helpful so that this doesn't become another way to beat ourselves up. How are we tending towards these things this week is vibrant reflection for 'learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.' 

Deep Ecology & Lifestyle, Arne Naess (1984) 

Deep Ecology & Lifestyle, Arne Naess (1984) 

Year of Living the Community: Week 27

everything you need to become an amateur astronomer  here

everything you need to become an amateur astronomer here

Suddenly, all that's known about the universe at this moment is going to be on TV. How cool is that? 

That's the week for CCP planned then:


Over three consecutive nights across both ABC, ABC2 and ABC iview, renowned British Professor Brian Cox and presenter Julia Zemiro are joined by a cast of Australia’s leading scientists and some familiar faces to inspire the nation to ‘look up’ and appreciate the unique wonders of space and our cosmos.

Broadcasting live from the Siding Spring Observatory, on the edge of the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran, NSW, Professor Cox and Julia will lead a breathtaking journey through space, using state-of-the-art technology and interacting live with viewers. 

Professor Cox and Julia will be joined by experts including astrophysicist Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith from the CSIRO; astronomer Greg Quicke; Indigenous Australian Michael Anderson who, as a senior Lawman and a knowledge holder, shares some of the ancient wisdoms of his Peoples' connection to the universe; and 'Citizen Science' advocate Dr Chris Lintott. Joining the experts will be familiar faces including actor comedian Josh Thomas and Gardening Australia's Costa Georgiadis as they take part in exploring space. ABC News Presenter Kumi Taguchi will also help anchor the series and take part in regular live crosses. 

There’s nowhere better in the world to cast your eyes to the heavens than the Southern Hemisphere. Here we can see more bright stars and constellations than in the Northern Hemisphere – and it’s not just because the skies are clearer. From the great southern land, we look directly out into the vast heart of the Milky Way. Siding Spring Observatory is regarded as Australia’s premier optical and infrared astronomical observatory, operated by the Australian National University, and it’s from here that viewers will be taken on a stunning ride through the universe.

With a mixture of live crosses and pre-recorded segments that will take viewers on a space odyssey, Professor Cox and Julia will look at the Milky Way (episode 1), Planets (episode 2) and Aliens(episode 3), teaching us everything we’ve always wanted to know about the Solar System. 

In their own unique style, the pair will tackle some of the most intriguing questions in astronomy, such as what happens if you were sucked into a Black Hole, and do aliens exist? Closer to home, there will also be hints and tips for getting started in stargazing and advice on navigating your way around the skies.

Following each night’s Stargazing Live broadcast on ABC will be Stargazing Live: Back To Earth, a 30-minute special on ABC2 in which viewers can use social media to put questions directly to Professor Cox and Julia, send in their favourite astronomy pictures and take part in astronomy related discussions and debates live on air.

Throughout the series, the Stargazing Live audience will be encouraged to help make scientific history as they’re invited to join an online experiment to discover a brand new planet, far outside the confines of our solar system.

Year of Living the Community: Week 11

Are you offering anything practical?

Last night, friend of CCP John Baxter screened Journey of the Universe. The movie is a great introduction to the wonder of the epic of evolution, the story of the universe that we are the first generation to know so fully. The book is more scientific, but the film brings the story to life. Two thumbs up! 

In discussion after the movie, John prompted conversation about the Community of the Cosmic Person. Someone asked, "Are you offering anything practical?"

Wonder is not just another emotion; it is rather an opening into the heart of the universe. Wonder is the pathway into what it means to be human, to taste the lusciousness of sun-ripened fruit...
— Journey of the Universe

JANA: Yes...and no.

No in the sense that CCP is intending to support a shift in consciousness about our human role as a species within the community of life on Earth.

(Ecozoic Living = learning to be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner)

Yes in the sense that a new consciousness of the place of the human within the on-going creativity of the universe offers coherent purpose to every practical thing we do. Everything we do becomes part of fulfilling our individual expression of the destiny of our species (see below).

The question of practicality used to haunt me. What can I possibly DO to stop the human devastation of the planet? No matter how short my showers, the water I save will never offset the water wasted in big agriculture, to give one discouraging example. 

My shift in thinking towards Ecozoic Living has released me from the compulsion to fix the problem and the stifling sense of incapacity to do so. I am free to participate in the flourishing of life on Earth (aka - the destiny of our species). 

My shorter shower does not have to save the world; it saves me through a sense of purpose that is celebratory, vivid, and true to the reality of interconnectedness that defines the universe itself. 

Jana didn't have the last word, though. Someone else at the event, who happened to be just about to finish Year 7, said, "Who knows? You might connect with someone who does have the capacity to make a big practical difference." Well, who knows indeed...

Year of Living the Community: Week Five

A funny thing happened on the way to figuring out next steps for the Community of the Cosmic Person: we realised that by playing to our strengths, we can create a Certificate in Ecozoic Living for ourselves and others. 

One of us has been a professor of English Lit at the Uni for 20 years (recently promoted to Associate Professor - well done, M!) 

Two of us have been writing adult education materials for 15 years.

One of us is in the midst of a Coursera specialisation "Journey of the Universe"

And so the course writing begins...

blue cornflower from the CCP HQ rooftop

blue cornflower from the CCP HQ rooftop

Year of Living the Community of the Cosmic Person: Week Two

The team watched Journey of the Universe together - it features in a Coursera course Jana is taking. 

Jana writes:
The movie made me think about 4 characteristics of the Cosmic Person

  • connectedness: it suggests a radically de-personalised sense of being part of the whole and I find this liberating
  • subjectivity: the frame of reference changes - one is a subjective part of the universe rather than (or as well as) a particular individual
  • communion: the story is about the bond of all things being based on the shared energy and material of the "great flaring forth" (aka the Big Bang)
  • differentiation: these two realities - communion and differentiation - are somehow no longer dualistic; being unique configurations of the same energy and material means that both communion and differentiation are equally and concomitantly true