Thus One Journeys to the Stars

We shall not cease from exploration

and the end of all our exploring

will be to arrive where we started

and know the place for the first time.

                                        — T. S. Eliot


Thus one journeys to the stars - -  Virgil

If we ever do meet another civilization out among the stars
perhaps they will forgive our bad monkey behavior 
if we show them  our music.

So we  have completed our journey - and retold our story:
It is the story of the humans - you and me - and even the story of our universe.
What did we learn ? 

PoohLife

We learned how we think, feel and belong - a combination of all these things we think about, how we feel about them and how they connect us to one another - how we belong.

    Belonging by thinking and feeling is what we call love.

We learned that we seek not knowledge, but experience. We learned that we want to experience love - the experience of belonging - belonging to each other, belonging in this universe.

We learned that the meaning of life is not a secret hidden somewhere,
in a book or on some mountain. 
It comes from us. 
Each of us makes our own worldview, as unique as our fingerprints.

          The meaning comes from you, only you. 
                 Only you can assign the meaning of your life.

We learned that this new view of ourselves and the world is flexible - fluid and dynamic - no longer fixed and frozen by doctrines and dogmas of the past. We have learned that the entire universe is changing too. We only thought it was fixed in the past because of our short lives and small size. Now we can measure the long lives of giant things: galaxies and whales, and we can also measure the high speed of tiny things: atoms, molecules and cells. 

Finally, We also learned that we are temporary, flowing through this universe like stars and flowers.
You and me - and indeed everything here - children, flowers, even stars and galaxies - is temporary.
The time will come when even the stars will fade and be gone. As Achilles said to Briseis at Troy:

"I'll tell you a secret. Something they don't teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us. They envy us because we're mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again."

We surveyed modern science, but we skipped a lot in this small website - scientific things like particle physics, cosmology and calculus - social things like religion, culture and history. Like Newton’s little boy, we are distracted by shiny things on the beach, while at our feet the great ocean of truth reaches far, far beyond our ken. 

Maybe you want to explore further. How about the grand tapestry above us of the universe as a whole, where our planets, stars and galaxies - even superclusters of trillions of galaxies are mere threads? How about the processes nature uses to build structures - from atoms to humans, including weird things like language and pheromones? Or how about Jesus’ rescue from crucifixion by his friends - something institutional religion will never tell you about?  

Countless ideas and mysteries lie ahead. Amazing things are waiting to be discovered.

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Why haven’t we met others in this universe?
    Maybe there are none. Maybe they are too far away or inhabit a different time.
    OR maybe they destroyed themselves when their power exceeded their maturity.

Although we stand now at the threshold to the stars, we may also be about to wipe ourselves out, judging by our greed and violence - what I call our bad monkey behavior. We are so close and yet we may not make it to the stars! Perhaps we were better off back when we lived in the trees, squabbling over fruit. Oddly, we may be saved by a contrivance of our own If our computers get smarter than us soon enough to rescue us.

A hundred years ago we didn’t know that galaxies existed. Now our instruments show us trillions in the sky over our heads, each with billions of stars. We also did not really know about atoms a hundred years ago, their parts - protons, neutrons and electrons - and their sub parts - neutrinos, quarks, etc. Now you are using electronic devices based on their properties - leading to TV, computers, networks, GPS and cellphones.

What is next, when our footprints are on the Moon? What is right in front of our face right now, at this moment, that we can't see because of our ignorance? Perhaps the most amazing thing about our universe is that we can understand part of it, but only part. 

What is the biggest question? People sometimes ask me what my journeys through science and religion have shown. Is the biggest question: 1 - the origin of the universe; 2 - of life; 3 - of humanity ? Answer: I think one simple question embodies all this and more, showing our astonishing ignorance:

How can a 2 year old talk ?

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I leave you with a favorite Einstein quote :

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.

To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms -
- this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
  —  ( Albert Einstein - The Merging of Spirit and Science)

And a favorite Darwin quote:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity,
from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
   —  Charles Darwin - The Origin of Species

And a final quote from me:

Like fish in the ocean,
        we swim in a vast sea of information. 
Like fish discovering water,
        only now are we becoming aware of this sea.

That awareness is called consciousness.
     It will carry us deep into the waters of thought itself. 

Soon we will meet intelligence beyond our own.
    But it will come, not from the stars,
        It will come from us.

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Finally >>>> The Lesson

© Gareth Harris 2017       --------        Contact email: garethharris@mac.com        --------         see also: GarethHarris.com