Journey 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

If we ever do meet another civilization out among the stars
perhaps they will forgive our bad minkey behavior if we show them our music.
Even more than speech, music may be the key to how we think - and feel.

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 ? 


We learned that we think, feel and belong -
 our thoughts that we think about, how we feel about them and how they connect us
       how we belong, to and with each other. 

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 and belonging - belonging to each other, our families and ultimately 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 learned that we are temporary. Each of us is just one of life's faces, faces flowing through this universe in a river of stars and flowers. You and me - and indeed everything here - children, flowers, even stars and galaxies - is temporary.  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 genetics - social things like religion, culture and language. 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 - 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 organized religion will never tell you about?  

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


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 could 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 might be saved by a contrivance of our own If our computers get smarter than us soon enough to rescue us.

A generation ago our grandparents 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 know about atoms and their parts: protons, neutrons and electrons. 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? Have you ever been shocked to learn something which should have been obvious to you? - something you then cannot imagine not knowing?  
Everything about: - life, love, feelings, - math, science, physics, - thinking, talking, computing -
  It's all right here,  right in front of our feeble little monkey brains, . - If we could only see. . . .  
     . . . If we could only see. . . .


Let's gather our thoughts and feelings as we prepare for our final lesson:

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)

"I am a deeply religious nonbeliever. This is a somewhat new kind of religion."

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 my own favorite quote:___________________________________________

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.


Next: Now we are ready for >>>> The Lesson

© Gareth Harris 2019                                      Email:                  See also: