Chronicles in Ordinary Time 234: The inter-related structure of reality

Welcome to my new visitors. I appreciate your time.

Life has been chaotic here; too many things that are out of my control. Challenging for one who is obsessive/compulsive. Consequently, I haven’t written much lately.

Starting with BIG

This magnificent 360-degree panoramic image, covering the entire southern and northern celestial sphere, reveals the cosmic landscape that surrounds our tiny blue planet.

The infrared sensors on the Spitzer Space Telescope viewed wavelengths longer than optical light, which is often obscured by dust. They captured this stunning view of the center of the Milky Way, peering through much of the intervening material to uncover myriad stars.

NASA, JPL-Caltech, Susan Stolovy (SSC/Caltech) et al.

From Earth, the Milky Way appears as a band because its disk-shaped structure is viewed from within. Galileo Galilei first resolved the band of light into individual stars with his telescope in 1610. Until the early 1920s, most astronomers thought that the Milky Way contained all the stars in the Universe. Following the 1920 Great Debate between the astronomers Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, observations by Edwin Hubble showed that the Milky Way is just one of many galaxies.

The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy with an estimated visible diameter of 100,000–200,000 light-years. It is estimated to contain 100–400 billion stars and at least that number of planets. The oldest stars in the Milky Way are nearly as old as the Universe itself and thus probably formed shortly after the Dark Ages of the Big Bang.

Captain Benjamin Sisko: [This] may be the most important thing to understand about humans. It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives day by day, and we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here. Not to conquer you with weapons, or with ideas. But to coexist… and learn.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Emissary (1993)

I’m going to begin with stuff that people tend to call religious. It isn’t. It’s closer to metaphysics. I ‘march to the beat of a different drummer’—this is neither good nor bad, just different from the people involved with the creation of visible stories that can be projected on a screen. From daily scanning of the news, I feel more and more ‘out of touch’ with the current population of America—not that there is a single ‘population’.

I am a person of faith who hasn’t been in a church since the Pandemic began. A surprising thing for me to process. There are a lot of us in this country. Nearly every day I see some report of a Conservative pastor threatening his congregation if they come to church in a mask; or threatening the lives of the ‘Alphabet Community’ [I realize that there are people who believe this to be an insulting phrase. In my defense, I turn 70 next year, and suffer from Apraxia. I depend on spellcheck]. Religious people who choose to ignore the teachings of Jesus. When the time comes when it is safe to collectively share a confined space, I doubt that I will be attending the church we’ve been involved with for the last 16 years…

There are many religious people who seem to believe that God is sitting on a throne on Jupiter—a local deity who controls all that happens on Earth. People who struggle to understand how God could allow all the shit that is happening. This isn’t new; I encountered the same strange ideas when I gave my life to Creator, during my junior year at college [1973]. Having not been raised in a religious environment, their Literal acceptance of Scripture didn’t make sense. My opinion remains the same.

I came to Faith from a perspective of science and anthropology. Creator is the Creator of the entire Universe; the statement above, “100–400 billion stars and at least that number of planets” implies that there are millions of planets that have sentient Life. Not necessarily sentient life as we know it. Humans have a very limited view of sentient life.

The first intelligent life from another planet that we may meet, might look like this:.

If the story of Jesus is true, then these beings will also have a ‘Jesus story’—the story of the Creator of the Universe entering time and space and living like themselves, dying at the hands of the religious elite and rising again to new life; inviting these beings to join in on that journey.

If an understanding of Jesus as the Creator of the Universe cannot tolerate the appearance of Believers in this form, ‘in the image of their Creator’; they might need to reconsider their beliefs…

The vast majority of humans believe that the only sentient life forms on Earth are those who communicate with human speech. The fact that we do not know how to communicate with whales, dolphins, elephants, etc. does not mean that the other creatures who inhabit this Earth aren’t sentient. We may simply be stupid. There is a lot of evidence for that idea.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be…

“This is the inter-related structure of reality.”

The inter-related structure of reality. Everything that affects me, also affects you. Everything that affects you, affects me. On the order of the ‘butterfly flying on the opposite side of the world…’

Science Fiction helps me to find sanity, particularly the Star Trek franchise. However, it seems that American science fiction has to resolve problems by War. This implies that those responsible for the production of science fiction visual stories can only imagine the life of the future as being Endless War.

Those responsible for the production of science fiction visual stories have never experienced anything else. I was born in 1952. The Korean Conflict lasted for three years, ending in 1953. The United States never formally declared war on its opponents in Korea; it was ‘validated’ by the United Nations. Technically the Conflict never ended, since the Conflict was resolved by an Armistice [they agreed to stop fighting]. Thus began The Cold War, which led to the Vietnam Conflict [November 1, 1955–-April 30, 1975.] Technically, the Vietnam Conflict was the also known as the Second Indochina War, and was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Since none of the aggressors ever invaded the US, I’m not really sure how we got involved [‘fighting Communism’]. I was in the Draft Lottery as my 18th birthday approached. My biggest concern was whether I was going to buy a sound system. If I had a low Draft Number, there was no need to buy a sound system I might never hear. If I had a high Draft Number, I ‘needed’ a sound system to take to college. I bought the sound system.

[If you want to feel really depressed, go to this Wikipedia page:]

There was a seven-year period in my lifetime, within the 20th Century, in which we were not fighting in another country. Technically, we have been at ‘War’ with someone since 1982. I guess this would be an explanation as to why American Science Fiction requires war as a plot device.

Then there is The Doctor.

The centuries-old Alien, of indeterminate gender, whose only weapon is a sonic screwdriver and a TARDIS—the Doctor’s vessel for traveling through Time and Space. The ‘ship’ that is stuck having the appearance of 1960’s British Police Call Box; sometimes used as a holding cell for the Constables on Patrol [COP]. The TARDIS has a broken Chameleon Circuit—that feature by which the TARDIS can normally blend into its surroundings.

War exists in the worlds where the Doctor travels. There are beings whose intent is to inhabit the entire Universe. The Doctor will then make a comment about the impossibility of that desire—even the Time Lords, like himself, were unable to create a Universe in the way they desired.

And then the Doctor will turn the warlike efforts of the alien intruders back upon themselves. When it comes to Earth, it is Protected. By the Doctor.

Star Trek Discovery presents the idea that there is, at the quantum level [only seen by Electron Microscopes], a network of microbes that exist throughout the Universe. In the story, the Spore Drive can transport the USS Discovery to anywhere spatial coordinates exist.

“This is the inter-related structure of reality.”

“In a very real sense, we are all aliens on a strange planet. We spend most of our lives reaching out and trying to communicate. If during our whole lifetime, we could reach out and really communicate with just two people, we are indeed very fortunate.”

Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek: Discovery

The First Law of Thermodynamics states that the total energy of an isolated system is constant; energy can be transformed from one form to another, but can be neither created nor destroyed. We, each, are energy. We each can be transformed from one form of energy to another, but we cannot be destroyed. You will never die. Your body will be transformed into muck, if you are in a concrete burial box; or transformed into heat energy, if cremated; or into the landscaping, if you are planted directly into the ground.

Your non-physical self, the self that is contained within the brain, goes on. Your self does not die when your brain dies. This has yet to be proven; our medical research abilities are not yet capable of analyzing that self which is our soul.

I used a religious word.

There are a bunch of religious people who have an idea of how our ending works, and they use scripture to back up their ideas. Everything is spelled out in the first chapters of John’s Gospel: [Aramaic translation] verses 1-5  Read it literally.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… The true Light who gives Light to every [hu]man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.  

…For God did not send his Son into the world that He would condemn the world, but that He would give life to the world by Him.  John 3:17  Read it literally.

All of the male pronouns above refer to Jesus. Jesus came into our world to give it Life.

Jesus either succeeded, or Jesus failed.
I believe that Jesus succeeded; Creator gave Life to the world.

And that Light shining in the darkness is a form of energy.

The 13th Doctor

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