A Copernican Moment












This statue of Nicolas Copernicus sits outside the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

To me it symbolizes what I call  a “Copernican Moment,” those moments when we, individually, or as a society, see reality differently, or perhaps as it truly is.

These are times when the rules change, forever. Some, like Copernicus, see these changes sooner and are criticized, even persecuted.

But if what they see is real, then, inevitably, society slowly moves from denial to acceptance, grieving the disappearance of comfortable and familiar constructs of reality as we would any personal loss. 

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, the author of  On Death and Dying,  in 1969   suggested that there are the five stages of grieving a loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance..

It is not surprising that old ideas and constructs would die slowly, as the beliefs and the institutions that were built upon them resist transition - change.

As a society, we are in a “Copernican Moment”.

We are grieving the old and comfortable beliefs and constructs.  Some of us are in denial; some are angry, some are bargaining, and  others are depressed, while more and more of us are accepting of the “new reality” or as we have come to call it, “the new normal.”

The most important aspect of Copernicus’ work is that it forever changed the place of man in the cosmos; no longer could man legitimately think his world the center of the universe.

We are coming to realize through an emerging collective consciousness that our relationship to our world is not what we might have once thought it to be.  We can no longer deny the truth of the convergence of population explosion, the resulting energy and resource depletion, climate change, toxic overload and the inevitable consequence of economic insecurity and decline…

In truth, we depend on the planet and its abundance. It does not depend on us.

It is a change in thinking that demands a change in being