By James Strauss


Our studies of the universe cause us to cower inward, as if pulling back from the cold harshness of a raging blizzard just outside.  We retreat to the warmth of our fireplaces, radiating with warmth and light.  We are not afraid of what is outside, either of the blizzard or the universe beyond.  But we are aware of the dangers ever present throughout the course of our given time to be alive. The universe out there, beyond our planet, is harsh.  It is unflinching in its nearly universal ‘zero’ applications.  Zero temperature almost everywhere.  Zero atmosphere nearly as complete.  Where heat exists it does so at extremes that challenge our ability to comprehend without study and instrumentation. Distances so vast they cannot be imagined, much less experienced.  And no social contact, structure, communication beyond a deafening silence broken only with ‘particle chatter’ and electric interference.

Our small orb of comfort rotates and moves, seemingly unaware of its special nature.  It’s tolerable extremes that allow for what we call life and for our own existence.  Until only recently we accepted our wondrous circumstance as our due.  We saw ourselves, through almost all belief systems, as the beneficiaries of a God who could never be understood or explained.  We saw ourselves as the anointed intellect of our small self-contained universe without knowing about what was out there.  Today, we are made aware of that ‘out there’ on a regular basis and we suspect that the ‘out there’ part of what we are living in and among can only begin to take more and more of our time and consideration.

We still don’t truly know if there is a God. We will never know if there is a God, by the very way in which we’ve decided to define that being, or beings, unless we believe other humans who tell us there is one.  But we do know that we are the beneficiaries of oddity.  Earth, and planets like earth that must be out there, are not great in number.  They are most likely sprinkled like faint sparkles across the cheeks of this universe we now know is much vaster than we ever considered, even though growing technology has pointed toward such a conclusion.

From this moving point upon the surface of this turning planet we have opportunity.  Quite possibly, we have opportunity not afforded to any being, collection of beings or place in the entire universe.  We have the opportunity to know, if we choose to pursue the gaining of such knowledge.  Our basal intellect is proving that we are not only capable of discovering what the universe really is and how it really works but we are also capable of creating intelligence significantly greater than our own.  Those things we cannot know by intuition or the study of scientific results we can come to know by the extension of this new intellect out into that harsh ‘out there.’  Our machines of calculation and analysis are using our own intellect for their foundation.  We are all living right at the time when these machines are becoming functional and will change the way in which we perceive this complex of matter and energy we call the universe.

Our own place in all this should be one of wonder.  We should all, as the intelligent humans we are, delight in how some bizarre good fortune has allowed us to be on planet earth to observe and participate in all this.  The wonder of our lives, as we go through perceived difficulties, can be changed by shifting our perspective.  Sickness, divorce, war, depression, loneliness and even dishonor should be savored with all the rest of what we are differentially gifted to have.  Celebration of attendance is a state that has been overlooked if not forgotten entirely.  We are all aware participants taking whatever small part we have in this grand adventure of a developing earth.  To be on this planet at all, even if in some loathsome hole or lost culture.  To be a participant with a voice, even if that voice is only to whisper to some other inmate.  To be in attendance and to be aware of that special attendance is worthy of celebration.  The perspective change in viewing our circumstance in this manner changes the universe.

If we stare into the abyss long enough the abyss will begin to stare back at us.  We are staring into this abyss of a universe right now and the abyss is taking note.  Momentous and wonderful things are coming in the short and long distance and you readers and this writer are fully in attendance.

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