David Korten: The Three Cosmologies & A Sacred Story for Our Time

Subject: Religion / Politics / Sustainability
Themes: Religion and Society Economics and Business 21st Century Journalism and Media
Age groups: High School
Resource type: Articles

In this provocative article, Religion, Science, and Spirit: A Sacred Story for Our Time, David Korten examines the potential for a cosmology that integrates science and spirituality and that would offer a narrative to guide humans to a more harmonious and sustainability residence on Earth.

From Korten's article:

David Korten Portrait by Robert ShetterlyWhy Creation Stories Matter

Our creation stories have powerful implications for our understanding of our place in the cosmos and thereby shape our most foundational values, our politics, and the distribution of power in society.

The Distant Patriarch story characterizes our earthly existence as a separation from the divine goodness and grace of heaven. Our experience in this life becomes a test of faith, a burden to be endured and ultimately left behind in an eventual ascent of the righteous to reside with the creator in paradise. This cosmology reduces the purpose of life in the present to a fear-based quest to earn credits toward a divine judgment that will determine whether our fate after death will be to join the saved or the damned. It is a perfect setup for the manipulation and exploitation of believers by demagogues.

All beings are interconnected and our fates are inextricably intertwined.

The Grand Machine story strips our existence of meaning and purpose. In so doing, it supports consumerism and an ethic of individual material gratification as a distraction from the terrifying loneliness and despair of an otherwise meaningless existence. By characterizing life as inherently competitive, it provides a pseudo-scientific justification for social Darwinism, colonial imperialism, racial domination, and the unrestrained competition of market fundamentalism. It neglects the far greater role of cooperation and synergy on which all living systems—and human society, civilization, and culture—depend.

Though sharply at odds regarding the presence or absence of a spiritual intelligence, both the Distant Patriarch and Grand Machine cosmologies affirm the self-destructive individualism and separation that lead us to behave in ways that threaten Earth's biosphere and our future as a species.

The Integral Spirit story, by contrast, infuses all we behold in this life and beyond with profound meaning. All of creation is a sacred and ultimately unified expression of an eternal and intimately present divine will. All beings are interconnected and our fates are inextricably intertwined. As participants in and contributors to the ongoing process of creation, we each bear a sacred responsibility. Our lives take on profound meaning and purpose in relationship and service to the sacred whole. READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE.