Monday, December 8, 2014
Beating the Odds, Forgetting the Prize
Between the mad rushes to buy things, December can be a time to wax philosophical.
Here are two things to think about: stars and life.
Stars because it's dark, like it is for more of the day this time of year, we can see them better. Also because they are where we come from. I mean really and literally where we come from.
The stuff that we are made of (atoms) was forged in the furnace of stellar fusion. Nuclei of atoms fused to make the elements of the universe. The material that we are made of was once the light of fusion. Hold that thought.
Then consider the impossible. Atoms and life found each other in the immensity and hostile conditions of cold, heat, radiation, distance, and entropy.
Life then took those atoms and put them in motion, into a dynamic system, a system that defies the greatest of odds. The conditions necessary for life are more rare than gold, diamonds, winning the lottery, or finding Rosebud. But wait, there's more. Life can evolve, again, against great odds, to a form of consciousness. Nobody knows what consciousness is or where it resides, but we can agree that it exists.
We humans are lucky enough to be be able to see and appreciate the stars and world that brought us into being.
Given the enormity of space, the light years of absolute zero, the emptiness of it all, that's a big Wow!
Problem is, we forget.
Instead of wondering in awe at the gift of it all, we want more. In the process of getting more, our brothers, sisters, fellow animals, and planet take it in the shorts in the form of brutality, atrocity, violence, rip-off, exploitation, genocide.
Knowledge and image run riot but kindness and wisdom go begging.
Talk about dragging a rose in the dust....
In this, the dark and cold time of year for us in the northern hemisphere, anyway, the stars are particularly bright. And because it is cold outside, it is also quieter than summer.
How about taking a walk under to stars to marvel, wonder, and open to amazement?
How about remembering joy?
How about surprising someone with the gift of seeing in him or her the life we share? Seeing in its generosity and mystery the planet that sustains us? Waking to the moment that contains within it the secret of eternity?
Now that would be a winner.