My son, Bill, gifted me with a book a week or two ago, and it was as if I had been given an introduction to parts of Ethel I hadn’t even known existed. Yeah, almost every page had some thought that opened new doors, and very few pages didn’t spark my mind into new ways of thinking. I understood only about one-tenth of it, and yet that tenth, was so compelling, so thought provoking, that here I am, trying to share it with you. Sometimes I think I should stop reading. But, it’s a habit I inherited from my Dad, Carl Ohlin, and couldn’t shake it, even if I ever got foolish enough to want to. Thanks, Dad.
The book is: Living The Secular Life, by Phil Zuckerman and the following words are from his book.
Life, this world, and our very existence—are all surreal, awesome, scary, yet pleasantly mind-blowing mysteries.
The depths and breadth of the Infinite, the Source of all Being, the Causes of the Universe, and the Beginnings or Ends of Time and Space – — when it comes right down to such matters, we don’t have a shred of a clue, And perhaps we never will.
What a funny and strange situation we find ourselves in.
We’re the only ‘animals’ in existence with the simultaneous awareness and knowing, that one day we won’t exist. The only creatures that ponder and argue about the nature of our very own essence and purposes.
We’re the only carbon-based life-form with the ability to produce Abstract Art and then hang it in a large building that also contains a cafe that offers hot dogs, colas, sweet rolls and a gift shop that sells cute little books, if you can imagine, on the Philosophy of Abstract Art.
And with all our admirable scientific advances that save lives, and ease suffering, and improve communication, and increase mobility, and able to harness energy, and also expand knowledge, and yet, with that scope of our attainments, we still have no sense of what it is all about.
We don’t know if there was anything, or, if so, what was here to begin with. Or how it is all actually possible. And, we never will. “Humanity’s Destiny”, by philosopher Andre Comte Sponville, acknowledges that all the imponderables are “irreducible unknowingness.”
Sure, we still can hear the reverberating echoes of the Big Bang. Yet that cosmic vibration tells us nothing about what was here before the Big Bang, or what was before that, or how or why there even was a Bang to be Binged.
This mostly wet Ball we call Earth, full of TV commercials, freeways, hamburgers, ponytails, oceans filled with our own plastic garbage, and poverty, is floating in Space among a billion other Balls, and there are galaxies swirling and there is a universe expanding, which itself may actually just be an undulating freckle on the cusp of something we can’t even conceive of, amid an endless soup of ever more unfamiliarities.
And we find such a situation to be utterly, manifestly, psychedelically amazing–and far more spine-tingling and awe-inspiring than any story I’ve ever read in the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Upanishads, Dianetcs, the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
So, why not take time to smell and taste your sack of tangerines, or nimbly hammer away on your dulcimer, or pluck a chicken, or listen to your conscience, or master a new algorithm, or walk to work, go biking in the park, or hitch a ride to the next town.
Might just as well, because we’re here. And we will never, never know who or exactly how all this came about. Like it or not, that’s the situation we’re in. Deal with it. Accept it. And marvel over it, but the mystery remains.
The Unknowable. Some call it God, or Allah, or Buddha, others The Force. Still it remains and so do we.