Cosmic Commons: Spirit, Science, and Space


Cosmic Commons explores terrestrial-extraterrestrial intelligent life Contact. It uses a thought experiment to consider the ecological-economic-ethical-ecclesial impacts of Contact, analyzing incidents around the world described by credible witnesses (two of whom are interviewed for the book), including Roswell and the Hudson River Valley. It traces Earth ecological and economic injustices to the European Enlightenment and the Discovery Doctrine by which European nations rationalized invasion of distant continents, genocide, and seizure of the territories and natural goods of native peoples. It advocates a change in humans’ Earth consciousness and conduct to avoid replicating in space the policies and practices that wrought economic injustice and ecological devastation on Earth, provides an innovative cosmosocioecological praxis ethics theory and practice toward that end, and develops a Cosmic Charter, based on UN documents, to guide humankind in space and in ETI encounters. Permeated by a profound sense of the sacred, Cosmic Commons explores a positive relationship between religion and science as humankind ventures into space.  426 pages


“Whether or not you believe in the likelihood of ETI, and I do not, you’ll find Cosmic Commons fascinating. I certainly did and learned much from it. John Hart makes the case for there being life elsewhere in the universe, why humankind should search for it, and what sorts of ecological, social, and ethical interactions would likely develop between humans on earth and ETI, if ever found.” Francisco J. Ayala University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine; recipient of the National Medal of Science and the Templeton Prize

"Erudite and appealing, Cosmic Commons deserves to enrich many readers’ thirst for knowledge and spiritual awakening.” Elie Wiesel, University Professor, Boston University; 1986 Nobel Peace Laureate

"This book is unlike any you have ever read. Whether you believe there is evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence or not, Hart’s creative and thoughtful reflections . . . will widen your ethical horizons.” John F. Haught, Distinguished Research Professor of Theology, Georgetown University

“Anyone who takes seriously the possibility that there may be intelligent life beyond the solar system should read John Hart’s scholarly and detailed examination of what this might imply.” William R. Shea, Galileo Chair, Professor of History of Science, University of Padua

“Clearly, we desperately need the transformation of consciousness that Hart lays out, not only for the sake of others we might encounter in space, but for our own sakes and those of the remaining others in our world, both human and not.” Christine Gudorf, Professor of Religious Studies, Florida International University


John Hart is Professor of Christian Ethics at Boston University School of Theology. He has authored four previous books, including Sacramental Commons: Christian Ecological Ethics. He has lectured on social ethics-ecology-religion on five continents, in eight countries, and in thirty-four U.S.states.



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