Thus One Journeys to the Stars

per aspera ad astra
through adversity to the stars

Thus one journeys to the stars   — Virgil

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


What are our limits?

Pianists are fond of complaining about the size of their hands, wishing their hands had the reach of Rachmaninoff’s famous hands. Instead, we should look at these tiny young hands and quit making excuses.

Is our limit in the size of our bodies, or our brains, … or our hearts?

_____________________________________________________________

So, ... we - you and I - have completed our journey - and retold our story:

- the story of the humans - you and me - and even the story of our universe. 

PoohLife

We learned that 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 through 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 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. 

We also learned that we are temporary - faces on the waves of atoms and stars !! 
We - you and me - and indeed everything here - children, flowers, even stars and galaxies - is temporary. The time will come when even the stars are gone.

"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."

             —  Brad Pitt as Achilles to Briseis in Homer's Iliad via Troy the movie

______________________________________

We surveyed modern science, but we skipped a lot - 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 the great ocean at our feet reaches towards infinity and far, far beyond our ken. 

Maybe you want to explore further. How about the grand tapestry above us of the universe as a whole, of which our planets, stars and galaxies - even superclusters 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?  
Many wonderful ideas and mysteries - lie ahead, waiting to be discovered.

Now we know, about ourselves and about this universe:

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

____________________________________________________

In closing, I leave you with two of my favorite Einstein quotes :

A human being is a part of the whole called by us the universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience our self, our thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. …


Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self.

  —  (Albert Einstein, 1954)

The birds fly in, like all life here, all the way from the stars.
Finally, from 2:07 on:
One Great Bird steps down onto the water, … truly a spaceship coming in  from the stars.

The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. 

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)

______________________________

                             Be humble, for you are made of earth.

                             Be noble, for you are made of stars.    — Serbian Proverb

______________________________

______________________________

Two Great Postludes follow: 

Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony using Walt Whitman’s words:

O my brave soul ! O farther, farther sail !

followed by Constance Demby’s famous Novus Magnificat

—  the end  — 

As we part: May you live every day of your life - Gareth+

© Gareth Harris 2016       --------        Contact email: garethharris@mac.com        --------         see also: GarethHarris.com