Friday, July 26, 2019
It happens too often that I awaken shortly after midnight, let the dogs outside for several moments, and afterwards, can’t return to sleep. In such early mornings, wide-eyed and awake for a couple of hours, I studied during my college years. It’s a great time for absorbing and learning. Back then, while working full time and attending college, I turned time around by hitting my bed soon after arriving home from work, awakening at midnight to study for about four hours, and then, grabbing one or two quick hours of sleep before the new workday. That midnight oil worked, and especially helped me absorb statistics, my most grueling course challenge.
Now many years later, in a typical sleepless couple of hours, I found a free online course from Yale University and associated to the PBS award-winning film, “Journey of the Universe.” The teachers are Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim. They teach at Yale and both are experts, she in the fields of religion and philosophy, and he in the fields of forestry and environmental studies. They moderate this course which starts at the beginning of time (as we perceive it) and weaves in subsequent discoveries of evolutionary sciences and the humanities (history, philosophy, art, and religion).
They are exploring evolution as a creative process rather than a series of facts separated by scientific disciplines. A viewer may enroll for free and audit the course, which I did, becoming interested in the moderators, their backgrounds, expertise, and am impressed with how they handle topics.
This opportunity popped up as I scrolled through Facebook. From my years as a long time student, I typically remember scientific and sociological events as a series of facts. This course is refreshing, by putting into an easy-to-follow narrative context the timing and impact of historical new ideas.
If your Facebook page doesn’t offer a link and you’re interested in the course, try this: https://www.coursera.org/learn/journey-of-the-universe?ranMID=40328&ranEAID=SAyYsTvLiGQ&ranSiteID=SAyYsTvLiGQ-b5AfIuafu0_HKhFR3aF8IQ&siteID=SAyYsTvLiGQ-b5AfIuafu0_HKhFR3aF8IQ&utm_content=10&utm_medium=partners&utm_source=linkshare&utm_campaign=SAyYsTvLiGQ
I’ll admit these days to increasing confusion about current social and political trends, local and worldwide. What do they suggest, where might they lead? There’s something reassuring about a review of environmental and human history reminding us of where we came from, and that the world we know changes constantly. Hopefully, while listening to these experts and how they’ve knitted together history and trends, I’ll find a renewal of reassurance in Mother Nature’s “never static” march.
Dear Friends: It’s okay to tell me to keep sleeplessness and worries to myself. Diana