Quotes by Ursula Goodenough

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It seems far simpler to go ahead and say that the epic is a fantastic myth, that happens to be true of the material Universe, that other myths are true in terms of their cultural meaning, and that there's absolutely no problem with holding more than one story, just as there's no problem with viewing the sunset in terms of planetary rotation and spectra and nuclear fusions one moment and as visual splendor the next. more...

The evolution of the cosmos invokes in me a sense of mystery; the increase in biodiversity invokes the response of humility; and an understanding of the evolution of death offers me helpful ways to think about my own death. more...

Human memory, they say, is like a coat closet: The most enduring outcome of a formal education is that it creates rows of coat hooks so that later on, when you come upon a new piece of information, you have a hook to hang it on. Without a hook, the new information falls on the floor. more...

Life from nonlife, like wine from water, has long been considered a miracle wrought by gods or God. Now it is seen to be the near-inevitable consequence of our thermal and chemical circumstances. more...

The religious naturalist is provisioned with tales of natural emergence that are, to my mind, far more magical than traditional miracles. Emergence is inherent in everything that is alive, allowing our yearning for supernatural miracles to be subsumed by our joy in the countless miracles that surround us. more...

The biochemistry and biophysics are the notes required for life; they conspire, collectively, to generate the real unit of life, the organism. The intermediate level, the chords and tempos, has to do with how the biochemistry and biophysics are organized, arranged, played out in space and time to produce a creature who grows and divides and is. more...

I have come to understand that the self, my self, is inherently sacred. By virtue of its own improbability, its own miracle, its own emergence ... And so I lift up my head, and I bear my own witness, with affection and tenderness and respect. And in so doing, I sanctify myself with my own grace. more...

We are embedded in the great evolutionary story of planet Earth, the spare, elegant process of mutation and selection and bricolage. And this means that we are anything but alone. more...

Early humans, bursting with questions about Nature but with limited understanding of its dynamics, explained things in terms of supernatural persons and person-animals who delivered the droughts and floods and plagues. . . . more...

It is as we respond to the understandings and feelings inherent in . . . art that we acquire much of our truth, much of our nobility and grace, and much of our pleasure. more...

The concept of an independent spiritual realm does not augment, for me, the magic of the mystical dimension, whereas to think of this dimension as emergent from our minds makes it all the more wondrous to be a human. more...

Human consensus does not generate reality. Were it able to do so, the Sun would have taken to orbiting the Earth some time ago. more...

Perhaps we should all settle down and think about what's good in the world and what we want to do here. If we find this planet and its history and its story to be sacred, let's preserve and nourish it, and then we can go home at night and say whatever prayers we choose. more...

The most reliable joy is to be out of doors, to be a creature among other creatures. I find it very restful. more...

When the responses elicited by the Epic of Evolution are gathered together several religious principles emerge that I can believe, serve as a framework for a global Ethos. more...

The Big Bang, the formation of sars and planets, the origin and evolution of life on this planet, the advent of human consciousness and the resultant evolution of cultures - this is the story, the one story, that has the potential to unite us, because it happens to be true. more...

The Big Bang, the formation of stars and planets, the origin and evolution of life on this planet, the advent of human consciousness and the resultant evolution of cultures - this is the story, the one story, that has the potential to unite us, because it happens to be true. more...

Reverence is the sense that there is something larger than the self, larger even than the human, to which one accords respect and awe and assent. more...

The word religion goes back to the Latin ligere, to bind. So religion means to bind together again. I think we should develop religions that allow us to do that. more...

Law is necessary, but in a more functional culture, it would presumably be less necessary than it is now, because people would know what to do. more...

There are two kinds of power. Power over is very problematical. Power within is very exciting. You can tell the difference by whether you are messing with other people or not. more...

What scares me? The way the world is going. People seem to think that development is more important than sustainability. That fundamentalism is more important than openness. That racial differences should dictate political decisions. That a person's sexuality is somebody else's business. more...

I like mindful people. Fear prevents mindfulness, and then greed marches in because you are fearful, so you feel like you have to shore everything up. more...

You can't have thought without emotion, and one emotion is fear, and making an important decision on the basis of fear is not a good idea. So develop your courage. more...

Naturalism has been defined by many people. It's just a world view that does not include the supernatural so it's everything else. more...

There are all sorts of transcendent response on offer but they to my mind are not necessary to call oneself religious. And obviously this is ... semantics as much as anything else. But I do go ahead and consider myself a religious person. more...

The Senegalese conservationist Baba Dioum can summarize: "In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." more...


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