… But Trailing Clouds Of Glory Do We Come, From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!” (William Wordsworth)
Apart from the obligatory nod to the prevailing local deity at the time that this was written, that is exactly where we came from – and, of course – where we still are! The cosmic womb that spawned us, and that continues to nurture us! And so let’s focus for a moment on the ongoing scientific effort to probe the heavens – our heavenly home – with the hope of finding out more about its origin and scope – such as how all of this might have come about.
And as we continue to do so – by reaching out further and further into the depths of the physical universe with VLTs (Very Large Telescopes) – whatever we want to conclude about our cosmic environment becomes less and less intelligible the further we move away from earth. And here I couldn’t agree more with what was once said by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit paleontologist, in 1923 in Letters from a Traveler “The more remote in time and space is the world we confront, the less it exists, and hence the more barren and poorer it is for our thoughts”.
Ask yourself this: how meaningful is the recent discovery of the oldest galaxy ever observed by the Hubble telescope: “It is thought the galaxy is more than 13 billion years old and existed 480 million years after the Big Bang.”
Or: “Astronomers have spotted the most distant object yet confirmed in the universe – a self-destructing star that exploded 13.1 billion light years from Earth. It detonated just 630 million years after the big bang, around the end of the cosmic “dark ages”, when the first stars and galaxies were lighting up space”.
Apart from the “wow!” factor, this kind of information says more about the technology that made these discoveries possible than the actual objects themselves. While we may be able to express these observations in a manner that suggests that we actually know what we are talking about, we have clearly no concept of what this means beyond building a theoretical model of our universe in which we appear to be just another speck of dust.
At most we can conclude is that an event is being played out here of cosmic dimensions, but also that – as unlikely as this may seem – this incredible spectacle is directly relevant to us, as it pertains to both our origin, and our destiny. Yes, gentle reader, all this cosmic commotion is about you, regardless of whether you want to accept that or not.
I want to suggest that we can talk about the cosmos in a more meaningful fashion, by accepting all of it as another dimension of ourselves. And here I am not talking about some esoteric physical and (above all) theoretical dimension requiring a succession of half-a-dozen blackboards to get spelled out, and meaningful only to some other theoretical physicist working within the same Kuhnian paradigm. With due respect, no. I want to suggest an aspect of the cosmos that connects every particle internally regardless of where it is located – or how it is configured – and constitutes its integrity as an phenomenon in all its perplexing detail.
And while we do not know or understand much or any of it, it is an intrinsic part of our own existence, meaning that the key to all its magical and mysterious secrets lies not out there in some distant and abstract corner of outer space, but within ourselves. We embody all of this within the entity that we are: its origin, its history, its present scope, and its destiny.
Much of our scientific probing of outer space reminds me of a cat that got itself locked in a closet, scratching around in the dark trying to find a way out. But we’re not trapped here, in the sense of being an isolated event in the cosmos: we are an event of the cosmos, and so we don’t need to find a way out, we’re home safe and sound!
And so I am suggesting the possibility that, on the evolutionary front, we are its leading event – with the history of all that preceded us behind us, and a future in front of us to decide and create! With the arrival of our species – Homo Faber – the spectacular creativity power inherent in the evolutionary process that brought us about is now able to work directly through us for whatever goals we set for ourselves now or in the future!
I have been led to conclude that, if the cosmos is about anything at all, its agenda is about reinventing itself as a new entity, by turning itself inside out – so to speak – through the process of evolution, and reconstituting itself as the sum of all the power and creativity that it is capable of. You could say that it is a question of “rising to the occasion”, and as participants in this process this is something that we are all challenged with on a daily basis: we all have the same agenda, namely to make something of ourselves that captures our true potential.
And so we, the simple creatures of the earth, are finding ourselves at the top of creation as defined by our emerging consciousness, to be challenged to look deeper within ourselves to enable our own advancement as a species, to be more creative, more empowered, and to be more enlightened to take on our fate as an agent of evolution. Presumably, all this to bring about a better world than the dystopia we’re stumbling around in today, preoccupied – seemingly – by the instincts of the predatory animal that once preceded us but is apparently still very much with us in terms of its exhibitions of outright savagery, limitless procreation, and boundless appetites while fouling its own nest in the process.