The Three Stories of the Universe

We have developed the framework of the Three Stories of the Universe to spell out the basic assumptions behind our project.

 

Our Three Stories framework categorizes three types of worldview:

  • First Story: Worldviews rooted in myth and ritual prevailing before the scientific revolution 
  • Second Story: Worldviews built on deterministic laws, a random universe, and the ideal of technological control from the scientific revolution to the present
  • Third Story: Worldviews combining the First Story’s sense of purpose with the universalizable applications and laws of the Second Story

 

The First Story

The First Story designates worldviews centered on mythic narrative and ritual enactment which have paid little attention to the scientific discoveries and technological developments of the last three hundred years. 

The First Story’s internal logic is represented in this diagram, the bottom row indicating positive aspects as blue boxes and negative aspects as red boxes:

An immense diversity of worldviews employs First Story logic, including most forms of today’s world religions, whose origins predate modern science and technology. 

The Second Story

The Second Story designates the worldviews that are the most thoroughly enmeshed in the natural sciences and modern technology and often presented in explicit opposition to First Story logic. 

The internal logic of the Second Story is represented in this diagram:

Second Story logic privileges above all theoretical clarity, universal applicability, and human power over the natural world. It confronts human beings with the extremes of a mechanically determined universe (Newtonian) or one that is random and utterly relative (quantum and relativity theory). These extremes either erase human agency or eliminate shared human meaning from the universe the Second Story describes.

The Third Story

The Third Story is a new attempt to envision a worldview that integrates the meaning, purpose, and ethical dimension of First Story logic with the universality, clarity of method, and applicability inherent in Second Story logic.

In this diagram of the Third Story, the bottom row aligns the positive aspects (blue boxes) of the First and Second Stories:

Worldviews participating in Third Story logic are just beginning to develop. Our project puts forward the emergence of the Noosphere as a promising and motivating Third Story vision.