Third Story

"There are really only two ways, it seems to me, in which we can think about our existence here on Earth.  We either agree with Macbeth that life is nothing more than a ‘tale told by an idiot,’ a purposeless emergence of life-forms including the clever, greedy, selfish, and unfortunate species that we call homo sapiens – the ‘evolutionary goof.’  Or we believe that, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin put it, ‘There is something afoot in the universe, something that looks like gestation and birth.’ In other words, a plan, a purpose to it all." [1]
[1] Jane Goodall, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey. New York: Warner Books, 1999: xi-xii.
- Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute.
National Geographic


Currently in development, academic partners with Human Energy are developing a theory comparing historical worldviews and proposing a "Third Story of the Universe" -- renewing the sense of purpose many older spiritual and indigenous traditions bring, through a deeper understanding of the evidence-based scientific method and evolutionary theory.

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 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 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 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. For our readers who want to go even deeper, here are detailed logical maps of the first and second stories combined, and the third story that we're developing at Human Energy.
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