Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We Are All Stars

One of the my favourite things about living on this planet, is how we all have fundamental ideas about our existence, we still don't understand.  Imagine, if we had reached the point, where we had all the answers, knew what our purpose was, and knew why we were here.  Predictability, leads to chore, and the mundane. It's the randomness that leads to excitement.

None of us know why we are here.  Stephen Hawking doesn't know what my purpose in life is, or whether there is one at all.  The greatest astronomers think they know how the earth was created, but nobody can claim to know why.

The inpredictability of the unknown is what keeps us growing, and changing all the time.  We live as if each one of us is very important, and collectively we are the most important species that has ever existed. The ironic part, is nobody knows why we are here, or if we have any collective purpose at all.  Maybe we do have a collective purpose, just none of us understand what it is.

I'm not sure about any of it to be honest, so don't continue on reading, like there's going to be some great prophecy listed below.  There isn't.  I'm not sold on the fact that humans have any more of an important role, in progressing life, than the standard house fly does.  Won't the world just keep evolving, eventually with us ending up in some form of extinction?  Are we really the one species, that is more important than all the rest?

My rational mind says that we are just a cog in earth's engine.  A mere stepping stone, to another, even more advanced form of intelligence.  The real question is whether humanity by themselves, or all the species of this planet, and all future species, have any collective goal.  Are humans the key to unlocking the stars?  Are we meant to ever see what's out there, past our own galaxy?

I can make a decent case to suggest humans are special.  Unless I'm missing something, we are the first species to sit atop the food chain, using only our wits, and technology.  It's taken thousands of years, but it is difficult to imagine a future, where humans aren't on top.  I can't envision anything short of global disaster removing us from our perch now. 

You have to marvel at the incredible intelligence of humans, in groups, or as individuals. The technological advances we have made really are astounding when you think about it.  You don't see monkeys, and dolphins, building satellites, and spaceships.  We've broken into space, and returned humans back to earth, something I'm sure most assumed, impossible, just a hundred years ago.

The quest to discover life outside our planet, will either be the most important thing we do as a species, or a complete waste of time, depending on the outcome.  You see, we are either designed to explore and discover, or there was never a reason to.  It appears impossible at this point, to ever make it close to the next closest galaxy.  To put this in better perspective the moon, is 400,000 km's away.  The Sun is 150 million km's away from earth, or over 300 times as far as the moon.  The next galaxy, is 4 light years away, which is roughly 40 trillion km's, or 3200 times as far as the sun. 

Photo by nuttakit
Unless we have a break through in manipulating time, and space, it appears, we were never meant to ever explore the next closest galaxy.  We may never have a man on another planet, but Mars appears possible at this point.  Space is vast, has zero oxygen, and little sunlight.  Not exactly the ecosystem for humans to thrive.  Isn't this all just a sightseeing tour, unless we have some purpose to explore further?  Supposedly we are looking for other intelligent life.  Even if we find it, so what?  That doesn't really show a collective purpose, or help any of us know if there is a reason we exist.

Let's flip it around, and look at it from the other perspective.  Maybe we have no importance at all.  It's probably more likely that our existence has zero grandiose purpose, even over the long term.  Humans run from this type of thinking, because nobody wants to believe that this is it.  It's much easier to believe in either reincarnation, aliens, or some form of after life, rather than a complete end to your own existence, and someday, the end of existence for all Humans.

When I see humans, believing in something, that science can't prove, or where no visual evidence exists, I assume it's something they have created consciously, or subconsciously, to aid their physche.  I'll talk more about this in a future blog, but I believe it has roots in this topic.  That doesn't mean I'm right, or that I don't hold beliefs of my own in which I can't prove through science, but you can bet, I challenge each and every one of them.  You should too.

I could think about the universe, and research it, for the rest of my life, and I'll never have the answer to my fundamental questions about why the universe is, the way it is.  If we had these answers, I see it only affecting our lives in a negative way.  The unknown creates our daily excitement, and the multitude of answers to these fundamental questions, create unique people, with unique perspectives.  Never let anyone tell you that your version is the wrong one, because no one will ever have the answer.  At the same time, if you ever want to have a shot at some real answers, you better make sure the things you currently believe, aren't just crutches, you've designed to protect you from coming to grips with your own mortality, or a general lack of purpose.


  1. A most interesting perspective. Humanity will never learn everything about our universe or why it came to be although there will always be those in academic circles that will pursue their ambitions to learn out it. I am one who simply enjoys it. As an amateur astronomer and a member of this little blue planet I am sure all those who look up at a sky in the darkest places of the world will find that when they do they will be amazed with the feeling that comes with it. For some an intense feeling of loneliness of how small we really are but for me an amazing feeling of awe and wonder. My favourite movie that changed my life was "Contact" with Jodie Foster as the story seemed to mirror my life as I grew up.

    While reading your story I must say I enjoyed it. Do keep writing your ideas and posts. I will share them online.

    Malcolm Scrimger

  2. Really appreciate you taking time to read, and comment on my blog Malcolm. This entry in particular just seemed to come out correctly. I plan to release about 5 articles a month, so stay tuned.

  3. Often, I think, religion is a set of metaphors and symbols for understanding something greater than anything we could ever actually grasp. Which is the mystery of existence (and consciousness, if we want to get deep!). It is interesting how frequently different cultures come up with similar creation myths and archetypal figures and stories almost seem to be hardwired into our brains. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to respect people enough to accept their beliefs and ideas whether or not we agree with them. Wherever we come from, our similarities are greater than our differences!

  4. Very true Derek. I have an open mind myself, so open in fact, it confuses the hell out of me sometimes. The problem is I believe there to be a right answer, but have also (almost) come to grips with the fact, that I will never know what it is. So I say take my queues from Science, and Society, and formula my opinions based on what I see. However, this doesn't offer all the answers, as you can see from todays new post "The Power of Positive Thinking"

  5. I often think we are here for a reason , but never have a shot why we are here exactly ? we are unique in every bit of ourselves and we are meant to explore the universe.

  6. "It's taken thousands of years, but it [is] difficult to imagine a future where humans aren't on top."

    I can. I happen to think that Homo sapiens is on course for extinction within the next thousand years (reference: Future Imperfect).

    As to whether there is a purpose to our existence, as you say it's impossible to know, and to that extent any attempt to discover a purpose is futile, but we can all add to the sum of human knowledge, if only we are prepared to make the effort. I happen to think that there is no higher purpose, so we should make the most of this life, because it's probably the only one we have.

  7. This is legitimately all I have thought about for the past two months - so consuming once you reach the point of questioning. I believe that we do find the answer in the end, once we serve our purpose. In essence, everyone comes to their own realizations in good time, and once we come to what I consider our "ultimate" realization, our bodies can no longer contain the power of our soul.

    ...I generally try to stay away from philosophy, because it leads me to question every single thing that goes on in my own mind - which no one will ever understand. Anyways, awesome post, definitely had my mind working.