You probably didn’t wake up this morning and consider the beginning of the universe, am I right? The first thoughts generally include coffee and some type of sustenance. Nevertheless, once you’ve fulfilled the obligations to the stomach, this does matter. It really does. Because the questions of why and how we are here inform what we do while we are sharing this beautiful, ravaged planet. I am no campaigner, too lazy, but that doesn’t preclude me from wanting to spread the word when I come across a vehicle of reason. For me, in my middle life, the world has turned and turned again. Truths I held from a child have been disproved, and realities have morphed into a different experience of the world. A lot has been driven by the introduction of super technology of course, but the matter of interest to me is how it impacts on our inner compasses of directing our personal lives. I can no longer believe in a divine purpose, or a natural justice; the personal and the political perspectives I take have to be chosen by me, and me alone. Therefore I feel the necessity to inform the arguments by listening and reading and watching all manner of clever bods, and then taking my own decisions about how I live my own choices. I won’t take my instruction from a book written generations ago for a different culture. That doesn’t make sense to me, even when some of the lessons are valuable. Humans do need guides along the way, but we have to decide which guides, and even redraw the map. This century has changed everything that went before, revealing revelations and producing revolutions. If you are eighty today, the landscape of human existence has altered more than in any lifetime in all of human history. We thought the universe was made up of one galaxy, but it isn’t. Our knowledge today reveals big numbers – more than 100 billion galaxies that can be observed. Further to that, combining understanding of different disciplines, we now understand how it is possible that life came from nothing, This affects our understanding of all endeavours that went before. There is an explanation for life without the intervention of a Creator. Big, big news. You may think that’s not so new to you, but vast swathes of the human population live their lives within an understanding that a God created them, plans for them, gives them meaning.
Facing a different reality, one where the curiosity of the child has more weight than the dogma of religion feels unstable, uncomfortable for many. But just because the fact is remarkable, doesn’t make it meaningless . It makes it different. Less coded, imagine you’re in that restaurant at the end of the universe- now you can forget the menu. You must order what you think it is reasonable the kitchen can offer, you may have to find out what’s in the larder, and which chef is working. More onus on you, but the meal will involve consideration on your part, and ultimately that’s going to satisfy way more than number seven from a worn out menu on a jaded palate.
The biologist E.O Wilson is now in his eighties, and he’s still asking himself and others to explain the great questions “Where from?,” “What?” and “Where to?” by saying we came out of biology, we are the greatest of all animals and because of our heightened social skills—our special human eusociality—we are being driven to greater cooperation and together will conquer the ills of the world. He still is prepared to court controversy amongst his scientific peers questioning previous theories on kin selection including his own, and present new, challenging models. That’s what I love about scientists when they work well – they are never afraid to refute old models when newer explanations are improvements on previously held ideas. Our knowledge evolves. That is hope. I can have faith, but faith in humanity, and in the power of reason.. If you want to understand about how life can have sprung from nothing, or if you want a great explanation of a different idea-evolution, I recommend these links. If you want to educate yourself, your children or your grandchildren, take the time. Open your mind to the vast wonder of who we are, and how we got here; it may just change the way you look on the world.