09 June 2016

The Meaning of Life

Man is an animal, suspended in a web of significance he himself has spun. – Clifford Geertz

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In the year 2016, during the Age of Pisces in the Anthropocene Chron and the Subtlantic Stage of the Holocene Epoch in the Quartenary Period of the Cenozoic Era during Phanerozoic Eon of the Current Supereon in Galactic Year (GY) 20, on Planet Terra (Earth) of the Solar Planetary System in Orion’s Spur of the Milky Way Galaxy in the Local Galaxy Group of the Virgo Cluster in the Laniakea Supercluster, Jews believe that Yahuweh speaks Hebrew, Muslims that Allah speaks Arabic, American evangelical Christians that Almighty God speaks Elizabethan English, Roman Catholics that Dominus Dei speaks Latin, Eastern Orthodox that Kyrios speaks Greek, Hindus that Brahman speaks Sanskrit, Zoroastrians that Ormazd speaks Avestan, Buddhists that Adibuddha speaks Pali, Shintoists that Amaterasu speaks Japanese, and religious Daoists that Tai Di speaks Mandarin Chinese.  Each of these groups, and each subgroup and splinter and cult and sect within each of them, believes they are the Chosen People from which will come the Anointed One to assert their rightful dominion over all Creation for all Eternity. 

That belief is absurd.

In fact, belief itself is absurd.  Belief is blasphemy.

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No philosophical or theological view vis-à-vis themselves alone, including the hypothesis that nothing exists beyond observable reality, is any more or less valid than any other, except when those propositions state they are the only ones that are correct.

To believe is to define.  To define is to limit.  To limit is to control.  To control is to corrupt.

Belief is not humble; it is aggressive.  Belief is not an sign of submission; it is an assertion of domination.  Belief makes itself superior to that in which it believes by controlling it through the very act of belief, and thus is blasphemy.  Belief is vanity.  Belief is futility.  Belief is the very antithesis of faith. 

To have faith, one must surrender control.  To surrender control, one must abandon limitation.  To abandon limitation, one must give up definition.  To give up definition, one must let go of belief.  To have faith, one must neither believe nor disbelieve; one must unbelieve.

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The Homo sapiens sapiens, the only surviving race, or subspecies, of the H. sapiens species, is the dominant race on Terra.  The others races of H. sapiens are H. sapiens idaltuH. sapiens neanderthalensisH. sapiens denisova.  Previous species of Human includes Homo naledi, H. habilis, H. erectus (of which there were nine different races/subspecies), H. rudolfensis, H. heidelbergensis, and H. floresiensis, this last being a completely isolated species which survived to 13,000 years ago. 

Given that most of these have been composed of only one species without any subspecies (as far as we know), making that one species in effect the sole “race” of that species, there have been, as far as we know, eighteen races of Human that have lived on Terra.  Since H. sapiens sapiens is the only remaining subspecies of Human left on Terra, it’s merely accurate to state that there is only one race:  the Human race.

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A single member of the race H. sapiens sapiens is, on average, 664 billionths (0.000000000664 or 6.64 x 10-11) km3 in volume, with an average lifespan of 67.2 years.  There are currently 7.3 billion (109) individuals of that race on Terra.

Terra is 1.12 trillion (1012) km3 by 4.54 billion years.  It rotates on its axis at a speed of 1674.4 km/h while hurtling through space revolving around Sol at 108 thousand (103) km/h.

Sol, our star, is 1.4 quintillion (1018) km3 by 4.56 billion years.  The Solar Planetary System is 1.7 duodecillion (1039) km3 by the same 4.56 billion years.

The Milky Way Galaxy is 8 sedecillion (1051) km3 by 13.2 billion years.  Of its 200 billion stars, 40 billion support Class-M planets, with 8-10 billion of these hosting life-forms analogous to Humans, making some 61.6 quintillion (1018) sapient beings in our galaxy.

There are 500 billion galaxies hosting 30.8 nonillion (1030) sapient beings across the Universe.

The Universe is 213 duovigintillion (1069) km3 by 13.8 billion years.  It is expanding outward at a rate increased by the like-polarity of the electromagnetic fields of different galaxy groups.

Our Universe is just one of innumerable such cosmic bodies making up the Omniverse (aka Multiverse), and is currently the only one we can measure.

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The Universe is formed of a single matrix called spacetime. 

Everything in the Universe not of the matrix of spacetime is composed of energy.  Energy can be neither created nor destroyed but only change forms.  All matter that exists is but alternate forms of energy. 

Spacetime and energy are thus the fundamental building blocks of the Universe and everything in it, the emanations from which all that is evolves.

There are four basic dimensions—height, length, width, time—which define the point in the spacetime matrix at which we are at any given moment.  Energy flows to and from that single point in spacetime—forward and backward, up and down, left and right, past and future—along each of these dimensions.

The force of gravity provides the cohesion for the Universe in a relationship with the dimension of time that is correlative if not causal.  Without gravity, there would be no time; without time, there would be no gravity.

From our perspective, time is linear.  But from a cosmic perspective, time is a sphere, like the Universe; time, after all, is but one dimension of the spacetime fabric from which the Universe is made.  To a cosmic observer, the future has already happened, and the past is yet to be, and the moment where we are now is the beginning, and the end, and every moment in between.

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Life is a function of energy, of thermodynamics.  Given appropriate conditions, life is inevitable, because energy in the form of matter will spontaneously self-organize through abiogenesis.

Once manifest, life evolves into more complex forms which themselves evolve further, with those most adaptable being the best able to survive, reproduce, and flourish.

Life has existed on Terra for 4.1 billion years, and in the Universe since 10-17 million years after the Big Bang.

The essence of life, of all existence, is change and evolution, growth and decay.  Nothing that is static is living.  In fact, nothing of the Universe is static, for of it stasis is impossible.  Stasis is a nonexistence beyond even death.  Stasis is only possible in the void beyond.

For individual organisms, birth and death define the boundaries of life.  Without death, life has no meaning.  Whether or not there is another form of existence once the organic shell has been shed in death and life on this plane ends does not matter; Humans debating those questions are like fetuses discussing questions on life after birth.

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The H. sapiens sapiens race is currently 30 thousand (103) years old.  The H. sapiens species has been around 200 thousand years.  The Homo genus has existed 2.8 million (106) years.  The three other known races of the species H. sapiens and the six other known species of the genus Homo are extinct, leaving just the One Human Race. 

By 5 million years, the H. sapiens sapiens race, and along with it the H. sapiens species and the Homo genus, will be extinct due to degradation of the Y-chromosome, if we have not already destroyed ourselves and/or our biosphere or suffered a mass extinction.

By 800 million years, multi-cellular lifeforms will have vanished from Terra.

By 1.3 billion years, eukaryotes will be extinct and life on Terra reduced to prokaryotes due to CO2 starvation caused by chemical disruption from Sol’s increasing luminescence.

In 2.4 billion years, the Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy will collide and merge into one Milkomeda Galaxy, altering the structure of everything in them, though most stars and planetary systems will remain intact.

In 5.4 billion years, Sol will enter its red giant phase, incinerating Mercury, Venus, and possibly Terra, destroying any remaining life on Terra if not.  The habitable zone will move out to Mars, and Saturn’s moon Titan may become habitable.

In 8 billion years, Sol will collapse into a white dwarf, expelling half its mass into the interstellar medium, making elements available for nucleosynthesis and forming an emission nebula.  Any remaining planetary bodies will be stolen by passing stars, leaving the Solar Nebula.

In 14.4 billion years, Sol will be a totally dead black dwarf star.

The Universe will eventually end in the next Big Bounce (a Big Crunch facilitating another Big Bang) in about 60 trillion years, dying so another can be born anew as it was formed before.

All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again, and again, and again.

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Even in the very rare instances in which Humans have perceived the Ultimate Reality as something genuinely Other, they have then proceeded to append to that insight intermediary realities to connect it to our own in order to believe, define, limit, and control, sometimes reducing fairly advanced concepts to mere ideological dogma.

Every form of Ultimate Reality conceived and believed by religion or philosophy, all of which are geocentric and anthropomorphic, is too small for our Universe.  There is no Divine Creator, no One True God, no Ruler of the Universe, no Supreme Being created by Humans or members of any other sapient species in their own image; all these are nothing but a myth. 

And if there is Something that was before all Time, is now, and will be even after the end of Time, with Time being defined as the lifespan of the current Universe—and to hypothesize such a thing exists is not unreasonable—Something that is the origin of the Universe and all that is in it, of spacetime and energy and life, that Something is beyond personhood, beyond being, even beyond effability.  It has no name and no need of one, for there is nothing else Other from which to distinguish itself, but for the sake of this hypothesis, let’s call it The Way.

The Way was before Time, is now, and will remain after the end of Time.  Time begins and ends along with the Universe and its other three dimensions. 

The Way is a paradox; perpetual yet ever-changing, transcendent yet immanent, metacosmic yet omnipresent, eternal yet omnitemporal, everything yet nothing. 

The Way permeates the Universe.  It is the Source emanating all that is, the Course shaping its procession, and the Force energizing its manifestation.  From our perspective, these are different things, but in reality they are One.

The Way is One; it is neither male nor female, and from it emanate light and dark, good and evil, order and chaos, yin and yang, life and death, bounty and dearth, integrity and entropy, creation and destruction. 

The Way favors none; there is no Anointed One, no Chosen People, no Exceptional Nation, no Elect Species; not on Terra, not in the Milky Way, not in the entire Universe.

The Way neither rewards good deeds nor punishes ill, nor does it exact karmic retribution for imagined imperfection. 

The Way animates without claiming possession; bolsters without requiring gratitude; stewards without exercising authority. 

The Way does not demand our submission, obedience, penitence, worship, adoration, praise, prayer, confession, thanksgiving, supplication, benediction, love, respect, or even belief. 

The Way does not need us nor want anything from us; individual beings are too infinitesimal and ephemeral within the Universe for it to take much note.

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So what is the meaning of life, the reason for our existence?  To quote the great philosopher Procul Harum, “There is no reason, and the truth is plain to see”.

To paraphrase Geertz, the One Human Race is a sapient animal species mired in self-created webs of delusion called belief.  The same is probably true for every sapient species across the Universe, past, present, and future.

There is no payback for good deeds or ill.  Do not worry about the future, for the future will take care of itself.  The only moment that matters is the now.  The only beings that matter are those that are here in the now.

The only thing for an individual to do is try to be a good person.  The way to be a good person is to love every other person as you love yourself, both on Earth and across the vast expanse of extraterrestrial spacetime, and do not do to any other person, any other being, what you would not want them to do to you.

Make a better life not just for yourself but for those around you, and, better yet, all those in your nation, and in the world, and in worlds around you when that time comes. 

Remember that Humans will be around for thousands and even millions of years, and that they and members of others species and lifeforms will need the planet too.

All lifeforms—floral and faunal—are sentient and deserve to be respected.  Do not take the life of any form except out of necessity.

Synthetic lifeforms, whether of organic or artificial make, deserve the same inherent rights as lifeforms that naturally occur, for the energy which animates them is the same, and if sapient, they deserve all the rights of natural sapient beings.

All lifeforms, floral, faunal, synthetic, exist in the same Universe that, no matter how vast, is ultimately as finite as they.

Love each other person as yourself, both on Terra and across the vast expanse of extraterrestrial spacetime, and do not do to another what you would not done to you.  Try to be happy.  That is all you need.

Belief…any and all belief…in anything…by anyone anywhere…is an illusion. 

The only way to really love, the only way to actually know, the only way to truly live, the only way to keep the faith, is to give up belief completely.  To unbelieve.

* * * * *

I am a Terran, a child of the Universe and a citizen of Earth.  The whole world is my home, and all its people my brothers, sisters, and cousins, whether of the One Human Race or of other sapient races across the Galaxy and throughout the Universe, regardless of organic or synthetic origin.  We are all equally children of the Cosmos.

May I serve the Cosmos with all my will; may I love each other person as myself; and may I not do to any other what I would not want done to me. 

Let me bring love where there is hatred; pardon where there is injury; union where there is discord; trust where there is doubt; hope where there is despair; light where there is darkness; joy where there is sadness.  

May I seek to console more than to be consoled; to understand more than to be understood; to love more than to be loved.  

May I have what is sufficient for my needs; may I be forgiven my debts, as I forgive those indebted to me; and may I not do what I shouldn’t and do what I should.

May the sick find ease; the weary rest; the dying closure; the suffering relief; the afflicted pity; the vulnerable safety; the hungry sustenance; the homeless shelter; the captive freedom; the distressed rescue; the wavering encouragement; the poor a hand up; the refugee safety; the alien welcome.

In the name of the Way which is the Source, and the Course, and the Force of all that is.

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(Most of the above has been posted in previous blog entries, and this is but the latest fine-tuned version.  It will probably not be the last.)

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