REASONED SPIRITUALITY: exploring spirituality, the meaning of life, the concept of God.

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What are the ends of the spectrum of human clan behavior? On the one end is the individual, the most basic component of any group; at the other end is the human race, which is composed of all groups.

Mankind is best viewed as a living organism; all of its parts enable the whole. To illustrate: a human is made up of cells, each living out its life as one tiny part of a complete entity. A cell exists, reproduces (divides), and dies within a biological community of cells; each one obeying natural laws governing its purpose, life span, and reproduction. Flawed genetic programming or outside influences can cause a cell to divide indiscriminately, and to ignore its preset life span; the result is cancer. The effects of this group of rogue cells often leads to the destruction of the entire life form. Disease or injury can kill more cells than the body can cope with, and result in a situation where numbers have been diminished to the point where recovery is impossible. Transplanted organ rejection occurs when the cellular community detects other cells that are different from themselves and attack the newcomers, even though this action will eventually cause their own demise.

Let's take this further. Every cell is composed of molecules, which maintain a balance that permits them to exist in a stable form, enabling life. In turn, molecules are made up of atoms; and atoms consist of electrons, protons, and neutrons. Subatomic particles can be divided into smaller and smaller groups. How much smaller? Logically, no matter how small you divide something, this "tiniest" particle can still be cut in half, leaving a smaller piece; science will reach a point where our measuring devices can no longer detect a particle, but reason dictates infinite regression.

Analyzing the principle from the other perspective, we can see that it works in the same manner. Every human is a part of the human race. Humanity is then part of the animal kingdom, and subsequently, all living things on Earth. The Earth is part of the solar system; which is part of our galaxy, which is part of the universe. We may even speculate that, as atoms are relative to man, galaxies are relative to a larger form; all things components of infinitely larger structures. This, of course, would be impossible to detect, for observation only reveals the parts that make up the whole, and our perspective prevents us from being aware of anything more. An imaginary scenario may make this clearer. Imagine the Earth is actually one of nine electrons orbiting a nucleus, which is the Sun. Our atom, the solar system, is then part of a molecule which, together with all the other atoms and molecules in our galaxy, make up an object. Across the void are an infinite number of objects (galaxies). Even with the ability to travel between galaxies, we would still only see the parts, and never know what the parts create. The distance between particles seems incredible to us, but distance is relative to size. The amount of time that these stellar objects exist seems an eternity from our perspective; but once again, everything is relative.

People have contemplated the aforementioned possibility for generations; but let's add a twist to the idea, simply to inspire thought. What if our particles form, not just an object, but a sentient being. Would this be God? Certainly, such a being would be considered omnipotent, omnipresent, and our reason for existence. Are we the cancer that will afflict God?

Flights of fancy aside, we must entertain the possibility that the universe may be infinite in scale, as well as in scope. Currently, science is once again attempting to apply limits to the universe; this is cyclical, and man alternates between the infinite, and the confined. Placing limits on the universe is very much a reflection of human attitude. Man, being a finite creature, applies human perception to all things; and contemporary theories are more a demonstration of human arrogance, than logic.

Stephen Hawking leads the proponents of the "Big Bang" theory, suggesting the universe exploded from nothing, with no pre-existing mass or energy, and without cause. There are three main principles behind this theory. The first is the Hawking mathematical formula, which purports to prove the date of the beginning of the universe. Unfortunately for Mr. Hawking, this formula has had to change numerous times, to account for the fact that we keep discovering things that are older than the alleged age of the universe. The original formula was a complex method of arriving at incorrect answers; the new formula can be summarized in much simpler terms: x + 1 = the age of the universe; where x = the oldest thing we are aware of (I'll take my Nobel Prize now, thank you).

The second main principle is based on the theory of Quantum physics; more aptly termed anti-physics. The elements used from Quantum physics establish that all known laws of physics do not apply to a given theory. Cause and effect; matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed; an object will remain at rest unless acted upon; an object will remain in motion unless acted upon. These are some of the physical laws that must be compromised to allow for the "Big Bang" theory. The theory must also incorporate the concept that time, as we know it, did not exist prior to the universe; which creates a paradox: if there is no passage of time, how does an event occur?

The third major point used to support this theory is that the universe is expanding away from a central point. Detecting motion is relatively easy to do, but determining accurate details of said motion, on a universal scale, is quite a different process. Observing the path of an object from a minuscule point of reference, at a distance of millions, or billions, of light years, makes it impossible to establish whether you are attempting to measure a straight line, or an arc. To illustrate: take two sticks tied to the ends of the longest piece of string you can find. Go to a beach and imbed one stick in the sand, pull the string taut, and draw a circle with the other stick, around the first. Erase all but one centimeter of the circle, and place a ruler next to it: the line appears straight, although you know it is actually a curve. Move a kilometer away from your line, and consider how you could determine anything about it; now imagine this illustration on a stellar scale.

Here are a few more points to contemplate. An infinite arc will appear as a straight line from any perspective other than an infinite one. All methods used to determine interstellar values are only theories because there is no way to physically verify data; we only assume all properties of light, energy, and matter, remain constant over millions of light years of time and space. If you argue that the universe is finite, what is beyond it, and, if it is "nothingness", is this empty void infinite? If the paths of galaxies are actually orbits intertwined on a universal scale, would humans ever be able to fathom it, let alone detect it?

Mankind is within the flow of the infinite. Humans evolved, exist, and will eventually become extinct, within the eternal passage of time. Man is part of endless substance; a piece of all that is. A person is made up of matter and energy that has always existed, and will always exist, in one form or another. The chromosomes you received from your parents have been passed down through generations; your genetic programming can be traced back to the beginning of humanity, and to creatures that lived prior to man's evolution. These chromosomes will persist in living things for the duration of life on this planet. Over the infinite span of time, the atoms and the energy that constitute a human being have been part of stars, planets, galaxies, other life forms; everything imaginable. When you die, all that you are will eventually return to a state of shared existence: forever.

Being truly aware that one has, is, and will be eternally a part of all; can make minor human divisions seem rather inconsequential: but instinct requires a pack mentality. The simplest compromise is to adopt the human race as the "pack". That which is best for mankind is also best for the individual members of mankind. A person, as a physical entity, exists for only a moment in the dynamic organism that is humanity; but as a part of human existence, you are a conduit through which all that has been, flows toward all that will be. Your actions, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you, contribute toward determining the destiny of mankind; you alone decide whether your influence is positive or negative.

Humans are already endowed with instinctive knowledge relating to a species identity; just as many other living things are. Ground squirrels use a high pitched squeak to warn all neighboring squirrels of an approaching predator. A self-serving response would be to keep quiet, and allow the predator to take one of the others, rather than make a noise that will draw its attention. To say that the ground squirrel does this because it relies on the others to do the same for it, is first of all, acknowledging that these creatures are capable of reasoning. Also, just because the first squirrel also stands to benefit from an amiable act, it does not alter the principle; if you risk your life to pull someone from a burning building, and subsequently gain feelings of accomplishment, joy, and self worth, it is no less of an act of heroism.

An injured rabbit loudly cries out in pain for an extended period of time. Does the animal expect others to come to its aid? Of course not; the other rabbits do just the opposite, and "go to ground", while the cries attract predators. Crying out in pain is natural? Of course it is: in nature, sounds of distress have a negative result for the individual, but benefit the other members of a species. Pain serves a purpose: to alert a creature to personal physical damage. Announcing that pain to everything within earshot can only serve the purpose of warning others. Only humans have medical technology, and are actually able to assist others.

Bees are an excellent example of species awareness. Every bee fulfills a role in ensuring the survival of the species, and no individual can survive without the others. Any bee will sacrifice its life, without hesitation, in order to protect the hive. This commitment is evident in many insects; and is why they will likely become the next dominant life form on this planet if man becomes extinct.

Species awareness provides for the ultimate in clan behavior. All lesser groups are merely insignificant components of the whole. To accept all people as part of the only grouping of humans that truly matters, mankind, is to take the first step on the path to gaining a greater purpose in life. The self-contained, self-centered life led by the majority of people, ends without meaning. They face death with fear, and a sense of emptiness; and look back on their journey and question: is that all there is?

Site map indexHomeComments?Links to other interesting sites
Part 1:  IntroductionPart 2:  BalancePart 3:  DivisionsPart 4:  Unitypart 5:  Concept of GodPart 6:  Defining GodPart 7:  SexualityPart 8:  Instinctive MoralityPart 9:  Moral Compromise - ReproductionPart 10:  Moral Obligation - ReproductionPart 11:  DeterminismPart 12:  Determining Our DestinyPart 13: Good and EvilPart 14:  Crime and PunishmentPart 15:  Belief - fact and faithPart 16: MaterialismPart 17: AppreciationPart 18: Abstract PerceptionPart 19:  RelationshipsRelationships (conclusion)Part 21:  DeathPart 22:  KnowledgePart 23: Knowledge - geneticsPart 24: Knowledge (conclusion)Part 25: Meaning of LifePart 26: Meaning of Life (continued)Part 27: Meaning of Life (conclusion)

Copyright 1998 B.W.Holmes - all rights reserved (unless noted otherwise). Quotes from ancient literary works do not carry a copyright.