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Life, the Universe, and Everything

June 16, 2009 Leave a comment

This is my view of the world, of the universe, and of life. I thought it might be interesting to share my beliefs. Perhaps it will spark some interesting conversation.

“No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life within the confines of your head.” -Terry Josephson

We are living in a world full questions unanswered, and of unanswerable questions. Some among us are tortured by the vast expanse of existence that cannot be confined in the walls of our thoughts. We cannot hope to comprehend, with our one-dimensional minds, a universe that expands in eleven or more. The rest of us, either ignorant or indifferent, will never bother ourselves with such philosophical matters. Then the question is: is ignorance, in this case, bliss? If we simply live our lives and accept things for what they are, will we be missing out on something grand? Or by unlocking nature’s secrets, will we lose our appreciation for the unknown and unexplained? Perhaps then, when we turn our gaze upward to the stars, our minds will no longer burn with awe, but be filled instead with scientific laws that will reign in our imaginations and reduce everything to a few simple equations. Cold, unfeeling, diamond-hard mathematics.

So which path do we choose?

This is the struggle between religion and science, between the spiritual and the analytical. Some say that in worship of the divine, one will be humbled before the splendor and the majesty of creation, and yet feel welcome and loved in its presence. Others say that blindly following the established doctrine is not so much an act of faith as one of sheer ignorance. Oh, how polarized our society has become, and how plagued by intolerance! Can no one tread the middle ground? It is all black and white now, and anyone riding the fence either gets brainwashed by one side or the other or is shunned by all. And all this conflict prevents us from uncovering the basic truths that both sides seek. Though I am certainly not a religious person, I must say I have developed a deep reverence for all that exists, as well as for those things I will never fully understand. I respect both sides of the argument, and see that each has its merits.

So here’s one truth for you: science is not devoid of emotion, and religion is not devoid of reason.

Honestly, I believe that life has no meaning beyond that which we as humans give it. Life, to put it in the simplest of terms, just “is.” Yet each of us has decided, consciously or not that we must have a purpose, a place among the countless stars, galaxies, clusters, and whatever may lie beyond. And perhaps we do. We are as atoms in a substance, a very small component of what exists; still we are no less important that any other element of the composition. We are small, yet significant; expendable, yet essential. I think of it in terms of this analogy: if you were to remove a single molecule of water from the glass I now drink, It would make no difference to me, just as it would make no difference to the universe if I suddenly winked out of existence. But that glass of water would, well, not be a glass of water if it weren’t for all of its component molecules. So I am a molecule, suspended in the vast ocean of the universe. And though I can never hope to make any sort of large-scale impact on the universe, I am content to observe its beauty.

Fate is another creation of humanity. We find comfort in the thought that all things happen for a reason, that the pain and sorrow we struggle through is meant only to make us stronger. But the universe does not follow our line of thinking. Everything, for all we know, might be set in stone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it all happens for a reason. This brings me to an idea proposed by Einstein, which suggests that all events are occurring at once, and that our past, present, and future selves exist simultaneously. The concept of time as linear is outdated; it may be far more warped and convoluted than we originally believed.

We as humans have always struggled to create a distinction between what is “right” and what is “wrong.” The conclusions I have reached with regard to these notions of good and evil are somewhat unconventional. Some, being shocked and offended by my thoughts, might go as far as to call them heretical. But that is beside the point. What I believe is this: good and evil are purely human notions. They are more than just subjective; they have no substance at all. Now before you jump to conclusions about my morality, let me explain. Just because I do not believe in the universal concepts of good and evil does not mean that I don’t have my own convictions about what is right and what is wrong. Everyone has different views, but no one doctrine is any more correct than the other. All things are relative.

I have left the most interesting topic of discussion for last: death and the afterlife. Now, before I say anything more, I will remind you that these are just my thoughts on the subject. I believe them to be correct, just as you may believe your views to correct, so when I state them as if they are facts, remember that I mean no offense.

Now that my disclaimer has been posted, I will continue with my thoughts. I do not believe in an afterlife, just as I do not believe in a higher power. When we die, we are no longer aware of the world around us, or of any other plane of existence. Our synapses are no longer firing, and no spidery currents of information crawl through our nervous system. How could we still be conscious? Yet in spite of this, we are not lost. Nothing, no matter what it may be, is created or destroyed. Perhaps nothing was really created in the first place.* But whatever the case may be, we will never truly be “gone.” The atoms that composed our bodies will mingle once again with the earth. And from the earth new life will spring forth, nourished by the richness we left behind, recombining the scattered parts to weave a fresh structure. Death is not the end, nor the beginning. It is a most essential part of life.

*This is known as the “no boundary” proposal. It suggests that the universe is entirely self-contained, having no edges or singularities at which the laws of science would break down. I will go into no further detail here because, lacking the qualifications and expertise of a physicist, I might not convey the information properly to you. You can, however, look it up in A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It’s one of my most favorite books, and the perfect place to start if you want to expand your knowledge of physics.

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Introduction

June 9, 2009 2 comments

I am assuming that a majority of you (if not all) are friends or acquaintances of mine, so I will not waste time introducing myself. However, I will set up some parameters for the content of this blog. Posts I make will be:

-essays (typically regarding either politics or philosophy)

-poetry (regarding similar topics)

-photographs/ artwork

Basically, anything I think might spark intellectual conversation. Most people my age create “journal” blogs; basically, they post their diaries online. I personally disapprove of this, and think it’s a complete waste of time. Who would want to spend their time reading some teenage girl’s sob story? I want to post writings that are on a much higher plane of thought.

Perhaps this will go somewhere (highly unlikely), or at least give me another outlet through which I can express myself.

Categories: Introduction