Father Thomas Berry’s Principles for the universe

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12 Principles of Ecology

  1. Universe, our solar system, and planet Earth in themselves and in their evolutionary emergence constitute for the human community the primary revelation of Ultimate Mystery whence all things emerge into being.
  2. Universe is a unity, an interacting and intrinsically related community of beings bound together in an inseparable relationship in space and time. The unity of planet Earth is especially clear; each being of the planet is profoundly implicated in the existence and functioning of every other being of the planet.
  3. From its beginning Universe is a spiritual (meaningful) as well as a physical reality.
  4. Universe has a violent as well as a harmonious aspect: but it is consistently creative in the larger arc of its development.
  5. The three basic laws of Universe or Cosmogenetic Principles, at all levels of reality are: differentiation, autopoiesis or subjectivity, and communion.
  6. The emergent process of Universe is irreversible and non-repeatable. The movement from non-life to life on planet Earth is a one-time event, so too the movement from life to the human form of consciousness.
  7. Earth, within the solar system, is a self-emergent, self-nourishing, self-governing, self-healing, self-educating community. All particular life systems in their being, their nourishment, their governing, their healing, and their education, must integrate their functioning within this larger complex of mutually dependent Earth systems.
  8. The genetic coding process is a process through which the world of the living evolves, educates, and rules itself. At the human level genetic coding mandates a further trans-genetic cultural coding by which specifically human qualities find expression.  Cultural coding is carried on by educational processes. 
  9. Earth is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.
  10. The human is that being in whom Universe attains reflexive consciousness of itself.
  11. Earth is primary; the human is derivative.
  12. The present human situation can be described in three sentences:
    1. In the twentieth century the glory of the human has become the desolation of Earth.
    2. The desolation of Earth is becoming the destiny of the human.
    3. All human institutions, professions, programs, and activities must now be judged primarily by the extent to which they inhibit, ignore, or foster a mutually-enhancing human-Earth relationship.


In light of these statements it is proposed that the historical mission of our times is:
To reinvent the human: at the species level with critical reflection within the community of life systems in a time-developmental (timely!) context