By Bob Etier
December 6, 2011
In simply explaining the complexities of the creation of the universe, the composition of our planet, and the intricacies of evolution and life, Brian Thomas Swimme, on-screen narrator of Journey of the Universe, sells the concept of miracles. Every element of every explanation requires an explanation, and each explanation reveals miraculous events. So what is a miracle? Taken out of the spiritual realm, isn’t it just something that can’t be explained? It seems that traveling the reverse path of creation and being, from complex organism back to one-celled organisms and beyond, we arrive at the point where “something happened,” that unexplained (unexplainable?) something, that miracle that set everything in motion.
Journey of the Universe explores the creation of the universe and the planet Earth, focusing on how man’s consciousness created the world we now live in—a world where man has affected climate, water, air, and all that man touches. Essentially, this planet is not the same planet that resulted from a “big bang” billions of years ago; it is a planet reshaped by humans and human arrogance. Swimme describes the various aspects of Earth’s evolution with the gee-whiz enthusiasm of a true believer. There is no talk of miracles, but the awe is palpable.
Journey of the Universe is being shown on PBS stations in December (check local listings), and is also available on DVD. It’s not about miracles but it is about mysteries. It is “a sweeping and expansive film that re-imagines the universe story and translates the human connection to the cosmos.” It is thoroughly absorbing, moving quickly among the many things that led up to today, leaving little time for the viewer to dwell on some particularly enigmatic event before introducing another. By the end of the program we are on a journey of our own—a journey of research and discovery, seeking the answers to the many questions Journey of the Universe inspires.