Emergence describes the appearance of totally new properties in new levels of complexity that do not exist at lower levels. It follows that systems, especially living systems (beings) cannot be understood by analysis, by taking them apart, but only within the context of a larger whole. Quantum physics has shown us that what we experience as parts, are patterns in inseparable webs of relationships.1  The unceasing creativity of the Universe, the inexorable process we call cosmogenesis, is an “unfolding toward greater levels of complexity, diversity, self-organization, and communion.”2  This creative movement toward greater beauty, relationship, unpredictable and ever new possibility, has been present in our expanding Universe from the beginning, and for 13.8 billion years until this moment.

(1) ‘The Web of Life’-Capra
(2) The Tao of Liberation’-Hathaway/Boff

The Emergent Universe Oratorio (EUO) is an hour and half long choral and orchestral composition which is often co-presented with a series of dynamic paintings created by the visual artist, Cameron Davis. It was conceived in response to the current scientific cosmology as presented in the 2011 documentary Journey of the Universe (www.journeyoftheuniverse.org).  The EUO was deeply inspired by the work Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim from the Yale University, Forum on Religion and Ecology. These seminal thinkers have endeavored to lead us to a new understanding of the place of humans in the Universe.  The film Journey of the Universe inspired this artistic musical expression built on the themes of the documentary—to provide a way to enter in and directly experience this new cosmology, deepening our evolving understanding of and response to the ‘new story’.

“The great discovery of contemporary science is that the universe is not simply a place, but a story – a story in which we are immersed, to which we belong, and out of which we arose.” (Swimme/Tucker) The EUO music and lyrics will express this new story, endeavoring to evoke reverence and responsibility. The Emergent Universe Oratorio is also a call to inspire humanity to participate in Earth’s transition toward a mutually enhancing Earth-human relationship.

The work will include lyrics and texts of visionary poets, scientists, writers — Thomas Berry, G.M. Hopkins, Rainer Maria Rilke, Wendell Berry, Brian Swimme, John Elder, and Mary Evelyn Tucker. The Oratorio’s intent is to provide a pathway through art and music to a “total commitment to (all) life” (Thomas Berry) which arises from the deep awareness, awe, and reverence for our absolute unity with the Universe.