Dance of Star Stuff

There has never been a time in human history when we had all the right answers. As we learn more about the world around us, the more we are obligated to dispense with superstitious nonsense of those who came before us, and the more we are obligated to pass on all we know to those who will come after us. In this sense, humanity, like our individual lives, is a process, not a destination.

Life is full of truths we conceal from ourselves through the intricate dance of self-deception. The most difficult of these truths is the terrifying, intimate truth that no one, from the most powerful king to the lowliest untouchable, is any more than a temporary anomaly in the infinite cosmos, and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change that.

"The truth never harmed anyone." ~Marcus Aurelius
“The truth never harmed anyone.” ~Marcus Aurelius

Part of why humans prop themselves and their emotional lives up on these deceptions is that they are largely incapable of imagining a Universe that is significantly larger than themselves. That notion can be both terrifying and wonderful. For this reason, humans have repeatedly conjured religious tales that put them and their race at the center of the Universe. This is perfectly natural, as both a primitive explanation of the machinery of the world to the urge for psychological self-preservation. Thus the silly assertions of having a “personal relationship” with a savior or deity.

For most of history, this was the way things worked. Often it was barbaric and cruel. With the Renaissance, then the industrial revolution, then the information revolution, these primitive ideas gradually gave way to rational discovery. Every one of these discoveries represented a change, however, and we can all understand fear of change, because we have all felt it. In some ways it is a brilliant instinct in the fight for survival, as it keeps us from moving out of our caves and onto cliffs, thus saving our primitive lives.

But here we are. Change is all around us, and so much of it is change from primitive beliefs to modern truths. The earth revolves around the sun. Diseases are caused by microorganisms. Men can fly.

It’s  2012. It’s time to cast off the shackles of this primitive brain and face some truths. The earth was not created in seven days. Humans are not the center of the Universe. No all-powerful being is interested in a personal relationship with you. You are star stuff. Nothing more.

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2 Comments

  1. I was thinking about this earlier this morning — coincidence?

    My anthropology classes taught me that early humans came up with the God stories to explain the unknown events around them.

    I tend to believe, however, that early human leaders came up with the God stories to ensure control over tribes/clans and early civilization. The “explaining the unknown” was a happy side effect for them.

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