The Riddle of the Universe

“Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”

Alan Watts

All existence, conscious or unconscious seems to be the emanation of one being, the Absolute, the Universe. These various words, even ‘God’ are a feeble effort of the human mind to express an inexpressible idea. As people, we are ‘relative’ to the universe, and are naturally only one small piece whether we believe we have a soul or consciousness or are just a human animal, so it’s an impossibility to capture and understand the absolute’s entirety. Specifically, we can’t necessarily fully grasp the concepts of something being able to exist for absolute space, infinity, and absolute time, eternity. However, of course, we are able to do the best we can with these idealisms and make meaning with them. 

For example, we can draw a circle and recognize that the circle has no beginning and no end and therefore have some rudimentary understanding of how something could be infinite. I personally believe the ancient sacredness of the circle could tie into this inherent recognition. In regards to time being eternal, we can also recognize that outside of each present moment, we can only go forwards and backwards into space, a constant endlessness in either direction. The past has already happened and is a memory, while the future is also not guaranteed or has happened, so we are living in a constant state of presence. 

Time is arguably both meaningful and meaningless depending on our relatedness with it. It has meaning because we give it meaning just like anything else. Yet, it feels inherent to have meaning because we innately know our time in various forms is finite. One could argue our time and energy is our most valuable currency. Time is relative again because for different animals and even landforms or energies such as the sun, their lives are much longer or shorter than ours. Typically, energies that live longer than us, move more slowly. Every other life form or consciousness is arguably on a completely different time scale of existence. 

We know our ancestors genuinely found methods to tap into the Otherworld just based off of the idealism that time passed much more slowly there and to return to the human world, even after what was seemingly a few days or weeks, was hundreds of years here. (As told in various medieval Irish mythical tales as an example.) Various experts in OBE’s and NDE’s have also constantly repeated this idealism. If we are indeed able to inhabit other lifeforms, our perception of time changes each existence and in our most true state of understanding outside of all physical bodies… that time and the universe is infinite, I’d imagine us easily getting bored eventually. The temporary autonomy of new lives gives the absolute a chance at experiencing newness and excitement, even if it’s a trick on itself. What else would we expect an infinite and eternal consciousness to do with itself but break apart into countless pieces, countless forms and energy patterns out of boredom? 

I personally think the ultimate purpose of life is nothing else but to celebrate ‘life’ and the ability to manipulate matter, our ability to create and change into various forms and to live each strange existence the best we can, gleaning as much joy and love that is possible amidst various bodily containers and the challenges that come with them. As Alan Watts always said, the universe is playful. The sparks of energy we feel that move us emotionally must be in my mind, something akin to a universal life force and that possibly we’re able to tap into this more readily the more our brains develop in an empathetic direction. Our capacity for empathy is measurable and as an example, murderers don’t seem to have as active sections of that part of their brain. 

gray and black galaxy wallpaper

Time ‘speeds’ up as we age because we are experiencing the same things over and over. We become more familiar with the world and our surroundings every year and so without new and exciting experiences that break the pattern of monotony, time inevitably seems to move faster. If we choose to believe that we each have an autonomous consciousness, albeit a temporary autonomous one, our experiences and the love we feel in each life is always with us, possibly able to be retrieved or reflected upon in other realms of understanding for eternity. While it might be traumatic to imagine possibly reliving terrible events that shaped us for thousands of years, I would imagine we understand these things on a level where we are able to be very lovingly detached. Of course maybe we get to revisit the wonderful moments too.

Why do we take things here so personally and allow them to impact us so viscerally if we believe and internalize there is in actuality endless time, infinite possibilities and constant reshaping of matter? Why should we care? Why does anything matter if we all just go on and on? It just feels like it should. Well, it feels it should at least up to a certain point. Being completely apathetic is debilitating to our animal body that often craves closeness and connection. 

Being too attached also feels debilitating for other reasons when we’re overly filled with anxiety and constantly paranoid of change (a certainty) every negative outcome or paranoid of the death of ourselves and loved ones. Detachment is one of the concepts I’ve read of so called ‘enlightenment’ I have struggled with the most. I am detached to most things or can be if I really put the work into it but I simply cannot and will not detach from my children or students. I can’t and won’t detach from social and moral issues that still plague our world and justice systems. It could just be that until we truly reach those higher states, we simply can’t fully understand the true scope of the meaning of detachment until we’re there. It could be that detachment is ultimately becoming so passive and detached (from a place of understanding) there is no more work for us to do here, no more lessons left to learn and so for the betterment of everyone, we move on to another realm. From this lens, enlightenment isn’t necessarily even ‘good’. It just is. It’s just another part of progression.

To thrive here, we must ultimately make peace with progression and change. I think like so many things in this world, it comes down to striking a healthy balance. Knowing that there is inevitably a part of this hugely intelligent existence in each of us, and knowing that we have evolved to a point of being able to meddle and reconstruct our world here so heavily, we gain greater responsibility within our own ‘knowing’. That is to say that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. I think the atomic bomb is right at the #1 spot on that list of things we can and could do but shouldn’t have ever done.  

‘Destruction’ is necessary for things to be able to deconstruct, to shift forms here and be reworked into something newer and possibly healthier or better adapted to survive. However, ultimately only a little destruction is needed for this to be accomplished. The pendulum has clearly swung too far and we have too much destruction occurring at our own hands in the form of technology driven by Capitalism. There is a good argument that anything we do is ‘natural’ and in reality, there are no mistakes if the absolute is present in all that is, including us. But that thinking in some respects is too close for me to the twisted thinking of ‘divine right’ or of curtailing personal and societal responsibility.

Some might go as far to say we are merely fulfilling some destructive role just as a volcano, massive flood or fire would. Even if I decide to accept that fully in order to cope, it still feels terribly unfortunate and wasteful as we (the Capitalist world half the world is all but forced into at birth) will shorten our capability to celebrate in this uniquely amazing and capable form as well as take out countless other organisms in the process. Sure, 99% of the world’s organisms have already come and gone without our presence at all causing their demise, but I don’t enjoy being or want to be the cause this go around.

I’d love to be a dolphin, deer, an eagle or any number of things but this body, this human life offers great advantages and so many more possibilities to learn. Every opportunity to be in this form as we are, is incredibly, beautifully, wonderful. Even in my darkest depths of depression when I didn’t want to exist, I thankfully could still recognize this and be grateful for another day to hold onto hope and turn things around for myself. 

milky way galaxy during nighttime

As we evolve and gain greater intelligence with supposedly greater technology, at each juncture of new developments, I think it should be tempered with genuine psychological awareness. Is this truly helpful? What are the short and long term outcomes of this technology’s development? Is it sustainable? Will it help us grow mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually? There are endless questions to ask before implementing new technologies and that’s not because I believe we should have stayed in the stone ages. There are just only so many finite ways to live in this system. The laws of this system, while relative are still what they are, possibly due to collective thought. We change and things can change, within reason but these changes occur so slowly that it’s important to tread carefully as we meddle. 

We are here, in this ‘living’ system for a reason and the point is to work with it, not fight it, try to beat it or tame it. This is old and very basic Native and Indigenous human belief of all people, that has gone far too long ignored in many circles of humanity. I think we are simply here to ask, what lessons can be learned in this world as it is? We don’t need flying cars to travel or Ai intelligence to replace us. I think we just simply need to learn how to work and live together, to love, to treat one another and other creatures as fairly as possible. That goal in itself has been complicated and challenging enough as is for hundreds of thousands of years.

I think we are just meant to get lost in something, to dance, sing, make love and celebrate each unique life for what it is, to the best of our capability, using all the available knowledge we have on any given day of our sacredly short lives. We’re here to ‘grow’ somehow, someway, amidst the mess and fear and we get ourselves and each other through the best we can. More than most years of my life (after the last few stressful years) I hope we’re collectively moving into healthier ways of being. So many of us still don’t have basic food, water and housing. Priorities. Priorities…

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