Metanexus is an invented word to designate a new way of thinking. “Metanexus” literally means “transcending connections” and “transformational networks.” The approach is multi-perspectival and scientifically rigorous. Implied is an epistemology, ontology, ethics, and aesthetics that understands process and relationship to be foundational.
Founder and Executive Editor
William Grassie completes his doctorate in religion at Temple University. His dissertationâ€”Reinventing Nature: Science Narratives as Myths for an Endangered Planetâ€”explored what it would mean to treat the epic of evolution as a mytho-poetic, creation story. Grassie begins teaching in Temple’s Intellectual Heritage Program, a two-semester, writing intensive, introduction to the Great Books tradition required of all undergraduates.
Grassie attends the first Templeton Science and Religion Course Program (SRCP) conference in Tallahassee. He applies and is awarded a grant to teach a course at the University of Pennsylvania.
Grassie teaches “Science and the Sacred” at the University of Pennsylvania. The course includes a number of innovations at the time, including a course website, a class listserv, and a public lecture series.
William Grassie, still teaching in the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University, launches the â€œMeta-List,â€ a moderated listserv on science and religion that begins with 600 subscribers and quickly grows to several thousand.
William Grassie and four faculty members from the University of Pennsylvaniaâ€”Andrew Newberg, Sol Katz, Peter Dodson, and Steven Dunningâ€”incorporate the Philadelphia Center on Religion and Science (PCRS).
PCRS hosts a special symposium at the University of Pennsylvania with Holmes Rolston III on the subject of his Gifford Lectures and newly released book Genes, Genesis, and God: Values and Their Origins in Natural and Human History.
PCRS is renamed the Metanexus Institute, and the Meta-List relaunches as a dynamic website with the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, Metenexus then launches the $5.1 million Local Societies Initiative (which funds 200 groups worldwide) and hosts the â€œGenetics, Bioethics, and Evolutionâ€ conference at Haverford College
Metanexus administers the $800,000 Templeton Research Lectures program (which awards grants for interdisciplinary studies and lecture series) and hosts the â€œInterpreting Evolutionâ€ conference at Haverford College.
The organization receives a $3 million expansion grant from the John Templeton Foundation and hosts three conferences: â€œInterpretation Mattersâ€ at Haverford College, â€œScience and Ultimate Realityâ€ in Princeton, New Jersey, and â€œSpiritual Transformation Researchâ€ at the University of Pennsylvania. Metanexus moves its offices to University City, Philadelphia.
Metanexus launches the $3.3 million Spiritual Transformation Scientific Research Project and hosts two conferences: â€œWorks of Love: The Science of Altruismâ€ at Villanova University and â€œSpiritual Capitalâ€ at Harvard University.
Metanexus launches the $3.75 Spiritual Capital Research Program and administers the $4.8 million renewal of the Templeton Research Lectures program. The organization also hosts the â€œScience and Religion in Contextâ€ international conference at the University of Pennsylvania
Metanexus launches the $5.79 million Templeton Advanced Research Project and hosts the â€œScience and Religion: Global Perspectivesâ€ international conference at the University of Pennsylvania.
A Metanexus delegation attends the International Conference on Science and Religion in Tehran, Iran, and the organization hosts three conferences of its own: â€œContinuity and Changeâ€ at the University of Pennsylvania, â€œAmazing Light: Visions for Discoveryâ€ (including the Young Researchers Competition) at the University of California, Berkeley, and â€œSpiritual Transformationâ€ at the University of California, Berkeley
Metanexus launches the $8.9 million Metanexus Global Network Initiative (MGNI) and hosts the â€œTransdisciplinarity and the Unity of Knowledgeâ€ international conference at the University of Pennsylvania. There are also organizational changes: Eric Weislogel is appointed the new executive director; the offices move to Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; and William Grassie leaves Metanexus to spend a year abroad as a Senior Fulbright Fellow in the Department of Buddhist Studies at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka (though he continues to serve on the Metanexus board).
The organization hosts the â€œSubject, Self, and Soulâ€ international conference in Madrid, Spain, and receives a Google Grant of $120,000 per year. Eric Weislogel resigns as executive director.
Metanxus hosts the â€œCosmos, Nature, and Cultureâ€ international conference at Arizona State University. William Grassie returns as Acting Executive Director.
Metanexus launches a book series and publishes three books: Politics by Other Means, Advanced Methodologies, and Transhumanism and Its Critics. William Grassie also writes a book, The New Sciences of Religion, which is published by Palgrave Macmillan to critical acclaim. The organization hosts David Christian for lectures on â€œBig Historyâ€ at the New York Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and Villanova University. Metanexus also receives a Salesforce Foundation grant of $15,000 per year and its offices move again, this time to Center City, Philadelphia
The board of Metanexus adopts a new mission promoting scientifically rigorous and philosophically open-ended approaches to foundational questions. The organization closes its Philadelphia office and relocates to New York. It also creates a small offshoot organization at Chestnut Hill College. Metanexus publishes a new book, Indic Visions in an Age of Science by V.V. Raman, initiates a salon series in New York City, and launches a new website.
Metanexus published a weekly e-newsletter with a circulation of approximately 9000 subscribers. Metanexus adopted the tagline â€œExploring Big History, Solving Big Problems, Debating Big Questions.â€ The website and newsletter features original essays, books, aggregated content, and digital art exhibitions. During this time frame, Metanexus also began actively using social mediaâ€”Facebook, Twitter, and Google+â€”where we have a growing readership. The website received 229,049 unique visitors and 438,716 during 2012. Metanexus hosted living room salons in New York City for Ursula Goodenough, V.V. Raman, and George Ellis.
Metanexus distributed its e-newsletter with news, views, books, art, and opportunities on a monthly basis to some 9000 subscribers. At the same time, more of our readership moved to our fan pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. During 2013 we had some 190,000 visitors to our website from 206 countries.
Our major project in 2013 was trying to launch â€œOne Day Universe: A Celebration of Big History.â€ Unfortunately due to lack of funding, we had to scale back the project. On September 21 we hosted a luncheon at the Harvard Club of New York on â€œTeaching Big History: Opportunities and Challenges.â€ Videos from that event are available on our website.
During 2014 we had 144,000 visitors to the Metanexus website and 222,000 page views. Metanexus also has a presence on Facebook with 1774 likes and 611 followers on Twitter. During his last month on staff in June 2014, Grassie finished updating the archives of postings from before the website rebuild in 2011. The Metanexus board recommitted itself to keeping the website open, updated as possible, and the organizational structure intact in order to preserve the historical record and contributions of over 500 authors totaling some 6500 essays, book reviews, videos, and digital artworks.
Grassie attended the International Congress on Religion and Sciences at Sigmund Freud University in Vienna, August 27-29, 2015. The conference was organized by Dr. Shiva Khalili with whom I collaborated with in convening conferences in Tehran in 2005 and 2006. About third of the participants were Iranian My paper was titled â€œIs your God big enough for Big History?â€ Grassie also presented at the annual research retreat of Canyon Partners in Los Angeles, in Septembe 2015. The title of his paper was â€œYour Hunter-Gatherer Brainâ€.
In March, Grassie completed an extensive literature reviewâ€”The New Narrative: Contemporary Sciences and the Possibilities for Spiritual Progressâ€”for the John Fetzer Institute. In July, Grassie presented two papers at the International Big History Association bi-annual conference in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on â€œBig Money: Finance and Economics from the Perspective of Big Historyâ€ and â€œHuman Origins, Human Natures, and the Meanings of Big Historyâ€.