The Copernican Revolution constituted a paradigm shift from a view that saw Earth as stationary and at the center of the universe. This powerful pivot in human thinking began in 1543 in the Western world with Copernicus’ assertion that the Sun not the Earth is the center of the solar system. It was hotly contested for 200 years until Issac Newton brought the revolution into the mainstream with the laws of motion, universal gravitation, and the invention of infinitesimal calculus. Newton’s view jolted humans who had lived with the assumption that the most important point in the universe was their planet and that said universe was steady and fixed. The challenge to human narcissism was underway.
Now, a second wave of this revolution is upon us like a Japanese tsunami. The essence of this Neo-Copernican revolution? We humans are not the apex of the universe, nor even necessarily the most advanced consciousness. We who named ourselves homo sapiens sapiens, doubly wise, have so distanced ourselves from the flow of life with our version of “ western wisdom” that this very process of abstraction and illusory objectivity puts us at the point of destruction, along with countless other species.
It took us humans 200 years to ingest the notion that planet Earth is neither the center of the solar system nor is it fixed. Now, another quantum leap in consciousness beckons, with this new wave of the revolution, we don’t have 200 years. We have only now. This axial moment tells us that we humans are not who we thought we were.
We are not the center of the material world.
We are not over here, and Earth is over there.
We are Earth, or, at least, a tiny aspect of Earth.
We don’t walk on Earth, we are Earth walking.
We do not study Earth; we are Earth studying herself.
We are not here to be stewards of Earth; we are Earth taking care of herself.
We are not merely individuals pursuing life, liberty, and happiness;
We are a communal Earth becoming life, liberty, and happiness.
The implications of this paradigm shift are enormous.