From Earth to Earth via Heaven? A history of human hubris

The Lit & Phil Philosophy Forum

philosophy forum time lapse style image of night sky with silhouette of figure and tress in the foreground
This is a past event
Date and time
25 April 2024
7.00 pm
From £3 (non-members)


Ancient humans seemed to see themselves as deeply embedded in nature and this was reflected later in widespread Paganism.  But humanity subsequently lost its humility.  In their human origin myths, monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) granted a divine spark to our lowly formation from dust, supposedly giving us ‘dominion’ over the rest of creation.

Our exalted status carried over into the early Renaissance. But the growth of modern science, especially medicine, while reinforcing that control over nature, also demanded a much more down-to-Earth physical view of ourselves.  Darwin’s demonstration of our true genealogical origins decidedly pulled us off our spiritual pedestal.

Professor Çiğdem Balim takes us through this historical arc of human hubris from Earth via Heaven and back down to Earth again.  How do we see ourselves today?  Are we just animals crawling over the Earth?  Or are we still special in some way?


Good to know: We take pride in putting the fun back into serious philosophy through our friendly and respectful discussions involving different levels of experience of philosophy.  The Lit & Phil Philosophy Forum is all about collectively exploring interesting and exciting ideas from different viewpoints … not winning arguments!

The focus paper, written by Çiğdem and for reading in advance of the session, can be downloaded here.

We are usually oversubscribed, so if you book but find out later that you cannot attend, please cancel your ticket to free up a place for someone else. Thank you.

professor cigdem balim

Professor Çiğdem Balim

Çiğdem (Anglicised pronunciation ‘cheedam’) is a Distinguished Senior Scholar at Indiana University’s Center for the Study of the Middle East. She has also worked at the University of Manchester and in Turkey.

She has degrees in English Literature and Language, Education, Linguistics, and Anthropology. Now retired from teaching, Çiğdem continues with her research, graduate student supervision and role as a senior examiner for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

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