We live at an extraordinary moment

in the natural history of our planet

and the cultural evolution of our species.

 

Services

Applied Big History

 Explore new services, training, and marketing ideas through the lens of Big History.

Catalytics

Strategy by design. Align vision and pragmatism. Define and achieve goals.

Archetypes

 Insight, healing, and transformation through the power of mythic drama.

Science Chaplaincy

 Supporting scientists in research and industry. Exploring science as a spiritual quest.

Recreating the conditions of matter-energy in the early Universe

Atlas, LHC, Cern 2010.06.11

About

Grassie, W 2005.5

William Grassie is an interdisciplinary scholar, nonprofit entrepreneur, social activist, accomplished author, and organizational consultant. He loves the creative side and intellectual challenges of strategic planning and applied technology, branding and storytelling, advertising and marketing, event staging and project management. He reads, he listens, he writes, he speaks, he computes. Whether at a F500 company, an academic conference, a living room salon, or an interfaith gathering, Billy will engage with your audience with surprising insights at the intersections of multiple perspectives, diverse expertise, and illuminating stories. William Grassie is author of The New Sciences of Religion: Exploring Spirituality from the Outside In and Bottom Up (2010) and a collection of essays, Politics by Other Means: Science and Religion in the 21st Century (2010). William travels widely to speak at conferences, and enjoys many sports, including hiking, skiing, sailing, scuba, tennis, yoga, and dance.

William Grassie received a bachelor degree in political science from Middlebury College, and then worked for ten years on nuclear disarmament, citizen diplomacy, community organizing, and sustainability issues in Washington, D.C, Jerusalem, Philadelphia, and West Berlin. He completed a Ph.D. in Religion from Temple University, where he wrote a dissertation titled Reinventing Nature: Science Narratives as Myths for an Endangered Planet (1994). He has taught at Temple University, as well as at Swarthmore College, Pendle Hill, and the University of Pennsylvania. A recipient of academic awards and grants from the American Friends Service Committee, the Roothbert Fellowship, and the John Templeton Foundation, Billy served as a Senior Fulbright Fellow in the Department of Buddhist Studies at the University of Peradeniya in Kandy, Sri Lanka in 2007–2008. He was the founding director of the Metanexus Institute, which promotes scientifically rigorous and philosophically open-ended exploration of foundational questions. Metanexus has worked with partners at some 400 universities in 45 countries and publishes an online journal.

Large Scale Structure of the Universe

A web of billions of galaxies

Books

2010_NSoR-xi
PbOM-xi
transhumanism
Advanced Methodologies

M1 – Crab Nebula 

Remains of supernova sited by Chinese astronomers in 1054.
Birthing grounds for chemically rich solar systems.

Selected Essays

  • The Great Matrix of Being

    Understanding Natural Hierarchies Our European ancestors once understood the universe to be a Great Chain of Being. All the entities of the world — animal, vegetable, mineral — were hierarchically organized. At the bottom were metals, precious metals, and precious stones. Then came plants and trees, followed by wild animals and domesticated animals. Humans were also hierarchically ordered from children

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  • Envisioning a Civilization Recovery Plan

    Join with me in a thought experiment. Imagine a major planetary catastrophe. It could be a global nuclear war, a devastating pandemic, or perhaps rapid climate change. It could be a sleeper computer virus, wiping out all digital memory banks. In any of these scenarios, we would anticipate an economic and environmental collapse, though not necessarily in that order. The

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  • Engaging the New Metanarrative

    Science is progressive, and it tends toward consensus of necessity. Science discovers, illuminates, and crafts facts, and we rely on these complex facts in practical ways. Unlike religion, science is pretty much the same collection of complex facts in all cultures around the world. These facts are uncovered with considerable effort by peer-reviewed scientific guilds around a multitude of specializations

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  • The Neurosciences of Bar Mitzvah

    Attending a recent Bar Mitzvah ceremony, I was impressed, once again, by the wisdom of this ancient tribal initiation ceremony. The 13-year-old boy (or girl, in what’s called a Bat Mitzvah) is surrounded by family and friends as he recites the Torah portion in Hebrew and offers a short sermon about the importance of the reading. The ceremony takes place

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  • In the Heavens as It is on Earth

    The collision occurred on February 10, 2009 over Siberia at 0455 GMT at an altitude of 790 kilometers (490 miles) above the Earth. An Iridium communications satellite struck a defunct Soviet-era Cosmos 2251 communications satellite. Scientists estimate that the collision speed of the two orbital objects was 42,120 kilometer per hour (26,172 mph).1There are no fender benders at this speed.

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  • Re-reading Economics

    In Search of New Economic Metaphors for Biology  A review of Eric D. Beinhocker’s The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics, Harvard Business School Press, 2006. _______________________________________________   What if biologists were to go back and reread economics? This is the question I want to foreground. It is well-known that Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection

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  • Ha! Philosophy of Science at the Comedy Club

    Back in 1989, I fell into a doctoral program when I discovered a passion and talent for teaching. Since falling in with Metanexus, I left the tenure-career track and became an itinerant professor, teaching occasional courses here and there—UPenn, Swarthmore, Peradeniya, and CCNY. Over the years, I have found myself in exciting teaching situations in universities and lecture halls all

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  • Postdarwinism: The New, New Synthesis

    A review of Ecological Developmental Biology: Integrating Epigenetics, Medicine, and Evolution, by Scott F. Gilbert and David Epel (Sunderland, MA: Sinauer 2009). As a combatant in the evolution wars here in the United States and abroad, I have penned and processed quite a few papers on the interpretation of evolution.1 This means also reviewing the vast literature in evolutionary psychology, particularly its attempts

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  • Millennialism at the Singularity

    Reflections on the Metaphors, Meanings, and Limits of Exponential Logic Imagine billions of nanobots, tiny computerized machines smaller than your red blood cells, travelling through your body, inserted in your brain, all communicating internally with each other and externally with machines outside of your body. These nanobots could repair damaged cells in your body, destroy cancer cells, eliminate pathogens, provide

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  • Reducing your Tech Overhead

    How a Small Nonprofit Made Simple Tech Tweaks and Saved $176,000 The Chronicle of Philanthropy February 20, 2011 Like many nonprofits struggling in the economic downturn, my organization has tightened its belt. A year ago we reduced our work force from 10 to four staff members and cut our operating budget by almost two-thirds. The Metanexus Institute works to promote

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  • Leeches on the Road to Enlightenment

    No one warned me about the leeches. I arrived at Nilambe Buddhist Meditation Centre early on a Saturday morning full of trepidation. The Centre is located high up on the side of a mountain about twenty kilometers south of Kandy, Sri Lanka, where I am spending the year as a Senior Fulbright Fellow teaching comparative religion in the Department of

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  • Eating Well Together

    Donna Haraway’s Companion Species Manifesto It was a rainy fall day in Pennsylvania farm country. I was assisting the farmhand and the extension service veterinarian in separating the calves from a herd of some eighty Angus cows. The process involved herding the cattle into a pen and sending them one at a time through a shoot, where a vet inspection

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Inner Life of a Cell

Protein packing animation

 

 

Selected Projects

Amazing Light: Visions for Discovery
Local Societies Initiative
Nuclear Freeze
Germantown Protest
IH

Still to come:

  • Iran
  • Sri Lanka
  • The Two Germanys
  • Aktion Sühnezeichen
  • Science and Ultimate Reality
  • Advanced Methodologies
  • Spiritual Capital
  • ….

Emergent Properties

Burning Man 2013