Chronicles in Ordinary Time 68: We Aren’t What We Think We Are

Imagine a baseball stadium…

stadiumI’m not really a science guy, but I’m fascinated with science; I find that my generic understanding of science helps me to understand the Universe, which means that science helps me understand the nature of the Creator.

As I understand it, if an atom was the size of a baseball stadium, the nucleus would be the size of a baseball, and the electrons of a water molecule would orbit somewhere within the confines of the stadium structure. Quantum mechanics, and that concept which is sometimes, but not necessarily accurately called ‘Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle’, proposes that the act of looking for a particle actually changes the location of the particle—so I’ve indicated the Hydrogen atoms as amorphous ‘star’ like images. When you look to find them, they will most likely be somewhere else…

The rest of the volume of the stadium is empty. Electromagnetic forces and nothing solid. We are made up of zillions of atoms; consequently, we are made up of zillions of packets of empty space and a ‘few’ atoms. And yet, we believe ourselves to be made up of solid material. The apparent solidity is caused by the electromagnetic forces within the atoms.

We aren’t what we think we are.

So, what are we?

A question that has been asked for Millennia. One of the aspects of living in this cyber-era is that we have a tendency to believe we know so much more than our human counterparts of the last centuries. There are a lot of ‘factoids’ that we now know that people in the past did not know; but that doesn’t always mean we are all that much wiser…

I believe that we are eternal souls attached to bodies. Each of these bodies start with two cells, which when combined, divide and subdivide, and replicate each other; in the process creating a chain of DNA that provide all of the instructions for making an adult human being over a dozen or so years; with a certain hair coloring, a specific eye color, a particular skin color—all of the externals that give us identities. The little whorls on your fingers that are totally unique to you [at least as far as anyone has been able to determine]; the shape of the folds of the ear, which may also be unique to you. A zillion atoms, each with a unique DNA structure that can identify YOU even after death.

And the soul? People have been looking for the soul for centuries. People have tried to weigh the human body at death to see if one’s weight lessens as the soul leaves the body.

Perhaps the soul is found in all of those packets of ‘empty’ space within our atoms…

People tend to get very anthropomorphic about the nature of God—they believe that God has to look something like us, or some other created being. Torah [the Book of Genesis] states that we are made in the image of our Creator. If God was human, it would be reasonable to expect that our bodies are made in the image of the Creator. We make images based on our imaginings; these created images symbolize a larger idea.

Creatio_of_AdamDid Michelangelo really believe that the Creator was an old man with a beard, supported by a number of other beings? No. However, at this time in our history, painting the Creator as something more like E.T. wouldn’t have made sense to people. Michelangelo loved the human body, and felt that the human body could be the epitome of creation. I never took any Art History classes in college; and I don’t think in the same manner as other people think. Symbolism sort of escapes my attention unless it’s incredibly obvious. I’m not sure what attributes of the Creator Michelangelo intended to portray by portraying him as a guy with a beard. From reading The Agony and the Ecstasy, a biographical novel about the life of Michelangelo, the Pope who commissioned the painting of the Sistine Chapel was surprised by Michelangelo’s portrayal of the Creator; he expected someone more harsh and demanding.

I believe the Creator is far closer to pure energy than to human beings; that ‘created in His image’ refers to our ability to create, to imagine, to bring our imaginings into fruition. Not being of the Energy that created the Universe, we have to create using tangible or visible materials; and our creative efforts require sweat, work, and the determination to overcome obstacles. Or not.

We are never required to create; we can go through an entire lifetime never having created anything. I think I’ve met people like that—a lifetime of following instructions for the assembling of ‘pieces’ that someone else created. A lifetime on ‘the assembly line’—is this wrong? Probably not. However, I don’t believe this fulfills our potential as images of the Creator.

When I create the images I use in these mental meanderings, I’m not actually creating anything beyond an idea. Photons of light are absorbed by the retinas of your eyes; and electrical impulses travel up your Optic Nerve into your brain. Somehow [no one really knows how], these impulses get translated into a visual image.

This is the interior of your brain…

grady's brain

Microscopic webs of tissue that connect and reconnect and somehow incorporate to form an image. That bright web is a portion of a thought. Note: there are no flat screen TVs in your brain. You [ideally] have two small holes in the front of your head; they are similar in nature to the shutter in a camera. Light contacts cells in the retina—the back of your eye—and those cells send electro-chemical signals into this mass of tissue [it’s really grey] located on the top of your spinal cord. Folded layers of cells sort of like a sponge [the ocean kind of sponge]; somehow those cells present the world in your brain, as if you are looking at a flat-screen television. When I think of him, I have a ‘video’ in my brain of my Grandfather slowly dancing around the dining area of our family cabin; listening to Norwegian folk tunes on the record player. No one ever filmed this image; and yet I have a portion of the video in my ‘little grey cells’ [Inspector Poirot].

For those that are blind, a ‘picture’ of the world still forms; the image is probably more like looking at an infrared image, in black and white: objects in relationship to other objects—maybe something like a map. Some of those objects are connected to sounds; some objects are connected to smells. Texture becomes important in ways that we sighted people tend to ignore. Most of my sensory nerves are damaged; texture, taste, aroma are somewhat meaningless terms to me—my own form of ‘blindness’. Thankfully, my eyes still work, even though they don’t work like they used to.

We aren’t what we think we are.

We aren’t yet what we can become.




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