What Can We Do?

It’s an old refrain in the face of the great problems of the world and, of course, the standard answer is to do what you can. Every little helps. Something that takes a strong will and dedication to purpose. And getting organised to make political changes is not always that easy either, and the changes take decades because there is nothing more conservative or desiring of the status quo than economics.

There is a mind game you can play. If all the world vanished and all that was left was you, how much of the culture, history and thoughts of the human race would exist? You have a brain that is more complex than the patterns of the galaxies in the cosmos and one would assume you could have most of it squirreled away in your brain.

At least the highlights. And if you have those and live by them, the world would already be better than it is.

What Is Real Anymore?

We make up gods, we look for miracles, we believe anything said about ourselves that magnifies our brilliance from being chosen, special to the most intelligent to perhaps being the only life in the Universe. We believe in adverts which should tell you all you need to know about gullibility.

Yet this gullible self,obsessed animal that we are slaughters without cease. Everything and everyone we can.

This is the animal we will take into space with us – this tribal, the follower who gets into psychological difficulties if we are not loved, if we are left out of the group, if we feel unheard. Human beings are far from sane.

Fearing Banality

I think the universe is far more interesting than we are. It is also true to say that, as far as we are aware, the Earth has the only self-aware animals that exist. If the Universe is self aware in some form we have yet to discover how or in what manner. Though in all honesty, we don’t have  a very clear description of self-awareness anyway.

That said we have tried with religion, nationhood, philosophy and time keeping to gain a foothold on who we are and as far as I can tell, we have utterly failed. The foundation stones are all set incorrectly. Just as we can understand more of the universe by investigating ourselves and restricting all theories to those that result in life, so, too, by only looking at ourselves we will never get the better picture.

Religious people suppose that a universe without a god is impersonal and indifferent. Their gods are banal and impossible but they blind themselves to this fact. However, we don’t know for sure what the universe is, so why assume?

The variety of possibilities is exhilarating.

Ancient And Modern

We live in interesting times. A sentiment that can be justifiably expressed by every human being all over the world throughout history. As if we are impressed that anything should be happening whilst we are alive. But we are all living history and not just in the political and nation-state senses.

Physicists test out their theories on how the cosmos works by seeing if the equations create the universe as we see it, because if it creates everything but the grass turns out to be blue then it’s wrong somewhere and likewise, although we could not easily divine it from this fact, we are the secret of how it works because we are here and all that we are necessarily flows from how the cosmos works.

And if you still want to know more about merely human history you can see from our brains and our DNA all that we have come from, where we branched off to evolve differently and how we are still ruled by instincts that served our progenitors well but sometimes leave us flawed and exposed.  The search for companionship, the settling of communities, the division of labour are all part of our non-thinking selves that we try to believe are a part of our intellects.

Ultimately in the field of essences these things cannot define every human being because they are not part of every human experience. A human without love is non-the-less human, a hermit is human, a self-interested person is still human. The essence of humanity is not an equation or an expectation and most definitely not a theory.

Language Is Not Always Meaning

Of course the creation of languages by animals is one of the immense evolutionary steps in the development of the earth-bound brain. I recall reading a bit about what it is for a sentence to be ‘true’ (correct) and how truth and meaning go hand-in-hand and have noted where people think we limit our understanding by using words – that somehow words get fixed and connotation hinders a wider appreciation of meaning. To this extent language actually stops us thinking because we can never exactly convey exactly what we mean to another person by using it. The more we learn maybe we can get close approximations but there is a translation process going on in the other brain(s) that we have no control over.

But we also tend to think that ‘language’ is, so to speak, the only language. But not only is it not the only language animals use, it is most certainly not the language of the Cosmos. The language we have used to open up the Cosmos to our brains is mathematics, but the language it uses itself is almost unknown to us. It might be one of energy, or even of chromatography, or an amalgam of several different forms of communication or it might be that the Cosmos as such cannot communicate with living creatures directly.

Or it may be that one of those other languages, the language of feelings perhaps, would be a better gauge of communication with the creative energy around us than any other.

Reaching Out

When I was eleven we lived in a village that had a seriously lovely, if small, beach. Strewn with coloured shells that still today glisten on the shell box my mother made. It was whilst there that I went swimming in the sea for the first time and letting go of a rock kicked out towards a small boat bobbing in the tiny bay. It looked far away but probably wasn’t much further away that twenty yards.

And that defined achievement, striving to do something one has never done, going to a place one has never been; my first open sea adventure. What I didn’t do was do it again, and again until the technique from letting go of the rock to touching a boat that didn’t belong to me and swimming back was improved and less splashy. Because what I didn’t know about achievement in those days it is also striving to perfect one’s abilities.

But what I did know then, was that achievement is not a race to be better than someone else. I knew I was in contention with other children for something, but not the important things. No one else in the world could ever be me, and no other children (but me and my sister) in the world belonged to my mother.

What I have come to realise is that achievement is also recognising our individual and collective humanity. There are no prizes, no medals and no score cards in the Cosmos, just us and infinity.

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February 2019
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