Driven by the force of love, the fragments of the universe continuously seek each other, so that the world may come into being.
(Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)
I know I should not have fallen into this. But as usual wanted to share my findings, confusion, and queries about it all. It has always been like that, must be a personality trait, this constant digging into whatever is happening, to find out how and why, and tell others. Maybe that is why in my youth, I decided to focus on science as a tool for learning.
Of course, now in this ante room called old age, waiting for my number to be called sooner rather than later, I have disengaged from most objective drives, like positioning myself vis a vis the others, chasing after my wants and wishes, or in my best moments, trying to save the world. I now devote my time, almost exclusively, to pure curiosity, trying to figure out the fabric of the journey so far taken, both outer and inner, and figuring out what is next, since there is no brochure about the next destination.
Most of the time is spent, remembering, reflecting on the past, and observing intensely the present as it unfolds. Just wondering about everything. May have a glass of wine, or two, and occasionally compare notes while walking with fellow travelers. And of course, taking advantage of modernity, fully engaging the Google window, to explore things beyond my time and space. For example, the origin and evolution of the universe.
I was always fascinated to read about the Big Bang and the estimated timeline of evolving events, that followed this non-terrorist, but nevertheless terrifying explosion, up until I became aware of it in the present. The longest journey, that you, me, and all of us have ever taken.
The Big Bang occurred, as estimated by cosmologists, 14 billion years ago. If this is rescaled to a calendar year, starting with the Bang happening at 00:00:00 hours on 1st January on this figurative year, the Sun formed on September 1st, the Earth on September 2nd, the earliest signs of life appeared on September 13, the earliest mammals on December 26, and the earliest human species, just 2 hours before the end of the year.
A very long journey as narrated by the scientific mind of man.
From the apparition of the human species, it took then more than 2 million years for us to discover fire, express artistically, and develop language, almost three million years to establish agriculture (around 12 thousand years ago), cities, writing and initiate what we call human civilization, the fully recorded expression of the self-awareness of our species.
From Big Bang to life, humans, the birth of agriculture, urban centers, empires, feudalism, nation states, the industrial revolution, the technological revolution, and our modern era. Certainly, the stuff of the universe has been evolving in an ever-increasing rhythm of complexity and awareness (sometimes with seeming backward steps), until the present era.
We are now a global humanity, interconnected like never, by fast transportation and electromagnetic instantaneous communication. We have reached, a pinnacle of scientific development and the prevalence of a materialistic, mechanistic, and rational world view.
A humanity, that this year, for example, has launched the James Webb Space Telescope that will act as a powerful time research machine – because it will capture light that’s been traveling across space for as long as 13.5 billion years, when the first stars and galaxies were formed out of the darkness of the early universe.
The telescope will help astronomers to compare the faintest, earliest galaxies to today’s grand spirals and ellipticals, helping us to understand how galaxies assembled over billions of years. This fantastic instrument will unfold itself remotely, en route and when it stations itself, to become operational, at an orbit which is four times further away than the moon!
Astronomers and cosmologists estimate that there could be 8 billion or 9 billion stars in our galaxy with Earth-like planets (which amount to about 5 percent of all stars), making the odds very high that there may be life or intelligent life elsewhere. Yet, until today no life, or evidence of it, has ever been found beyond Earth. So, the Earth and humanity, seem to be so far quite unique.
As said so beautifully by Teilhard de Chardin in his Phenomenon of Man: “The universe has just very recently started to become aware of itself, through us.”
Yet we still have Trumps, and Putin’s and Modi’s and the Bolsonaro’s playing along with the fear and impressionability of people. And people who are game to the influence of these power-hungry leaders. And yes, we also have people accumulating wealth and power and self-importance, missing perhaps the whole purpose of this long voyage. We still seem to have a journey ahead of us, because although we have unfolded the capacity of the rational mind, we still cannot control the selfishness impulses, that makes us miss the point of a unified field, that seems to be what we really are, and what is this journey all about.
We take pride ourselves on advancing beyond myth and superstition but remain deeply immersed in the myth of materialism. Yes, scientific thinking has created, and keeps creating, a modern world that we owe many good things too. But its combination with egocentrism and selfishness has led also to dreadful developments like weapons of mass destruction and excessive greenhouse gas emissions.
“Maybe the next step in human evolution is the change in self-awareness”, Deepak Chopra wrote in a recent article. In a world that has become so aware of the interconnectedness of all systems, of the unified field of life, of a planetary ecosystem evolved through a long process, we continue to focus on an “each one to its own” mentality, on individual fragmentation. A tribal consciousness thriving in an emerging planetary civilization, trying to navigate each in our biased directions while being adrift in the same boat.
As Deepak said: “A person self-aware of this unified field of being wouldn’t go to war, stockpile nuclear weapons, harbor racial prejudice, mistreat and abuse women, and foul the environment.”
The Google oracle when asked, how many people have ever lived on Earth? Answered; 80 billion. And as to opinions of all these people, just in books alone, and even though written language appeared about 5-6 thousand years ago and Mr. Gutenberg invented the printing press 500 years ago, there have been according to Google, 134,021,533 different books published up to 2016. So, my reflective curiosity and expression of point of view, is just one perspective from the 80 billion of those turnouts of the universe aware of themselves.
Beyond scientific reasoning, empiricist observations and theoretical descriptions of the objective outside facing us as humans, there is a wealth of opinions and statements written about our interiority, about mind, feelings, the meaning of life and being, selfishness, selflessness, consciousness and so on. About the subjective inside that we are.
In addition to the scientific curiosity that captivated my attention throughout life, occasionally I also wondered about, who was this pervasive, “I am”, that was looking at the outside, and what was the purpose of it, the why?
Of course, growing up I explored religion. Subscribing to my parents’ worldviews, went to a Catholic school and sort of had ready made answers for those questions. But they did not last long. Even as a teenager I had already embraced a materialistic world view and believed in sort of a randomly emerged universe, ignoring all so called mystical, spiritual, or inner interpretations of being. However, sometimes in my youth as I looked at the sky in the Caribbean, and felt the vastness of the universe, I would feel an existential angst and realized that I really did not have the slightest idea, of what or why was existence, and my being a part of it.
Gradually, my curiosity started to grow, about the inner me that was looking at the outside. Science per se was not helpful because it was not an issue of observation and experimentation and prediction of phenomena. One could perhaps treat the body like that, but there were other aspects that constituted me, that were beyond rationality and measurement. Thus, I read, about Buddhism, the Upanishads, the Christian mystics, and became fascinated with the Sufi poets, and the life of St Francis of Assisi, and read books written by Meher Baba.
I was particularly attracted to the concept of love, the meaning of love, that universal feeling described as an attraction that went from the most superficial things, to a deep incomprehensible, most real, pervasive, and transforming reality.
I do remember the first experience of love received as a child, the cariño as they say in Spanish. And that love, that cariño, was always present in many different moments of my life, admixed perhaps sometimes with passion, or some particular interest, or identification with a group of points of view, but it was an essence that I felt somehow existed by itself, unalloyed on its own, beyond all layers. It could be an element of comfort, inspiration, delight, protection, acceptance. It could be universal, coming out in the eyes of a pet, in the countenance of a stranger, in the hands of mother, in the reading of the life of a person like St. Francis, or the lines of a poet like Hafiz or Rumi, and in the beauty and awe of a landscape of nature, or a starry night.
Meher Baba, reaffirming and expanding what had been said so many times in the history of mankind, by many of the researchers of the inner realms, such as Buddha, Christ, Zoroaster, Francis of Assisi, Lao Tzu, stated that existence is love, and that love must love. He added that there being only one existence, existence imagined the universe, so love expresses itself. Thus, the evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang to the human who realizes full self-awareness, is a flow of love. A total manifestation of cariño.
And how to reach this state of love? Replied those scientists of soul, by becoming ever more aware of the other being yourself, through more selflessness than selfishness. By not hurting others, by realizing that you, every other being and the universe that surrounds you is an integrated whole.
It is not the usual task people think they are unto, while it may be that it is the only task we are really doing so that we can get closer, that we grow to contain that cariño, that love.
The whole story of the universe, from the Big Bang to every one of those 80 billion like me being born, is magic. It just becomes more magical and meaningful, if it so happens that Love, that mysterious feeling that inspires the best in all, that is spread everywhere, that reaches unfathomable depths, that transforms everything, is the source, the play, and the finale, of this incredible journey that we all go through.
This of course is only my infinitesimal point of view while being in this waiting room, anticipating the next step, as I peek into myself and recall the information collected through my life, in and out of myself.
Every being is a point from which a start could be made toward the limitless ocean of love, bliss, knowledge, and goodness already within him.