We need to appreciate what we are and what we are parts of
by Eugene Troxell
In my mind Nature is not static. I like to try to imagine the impossible scenario of a large group of scientists observing the Big Bang at a time frame of about a million years of Big Bang time to one minute of human time. Even in a million years of Big Bang time there would have been some change in the energy of the Big Bang, but not much even for a human’s day worth of observation.
Then I like to imagine one of the scientists saying to another: “You know, eventually that stuff will understand what it is doing and become capable of appreciating what it is.” The imaginary scenario has the scientist apparently figuring this out simply from observation of the hydrogen the energy had become by that time.
I posit this ridiculous scenario to call attention to how far the energy of the Big Bang has so far evolved. Today this energy, which we call nature, contains millions of characteristics and manners of behaving that not only were not part of the original, they would have been unimaginable to any thinking being with no awareness of what has happened since the Big Bang.
Nature, in my way of thinking, has all the capabilities of the God of any Theist, provided that God is devoid of any anthropomorphic characteristics. Saying God is devoid of anthropomorphic characteristics is not in any sense limiting what God/Nature can be. The limitations here are upon the necessary characteristics for the proper application of the anthropomorphic qualities. The anthropomorphic qualities can make sense only when they are applied to limited beings. If Nature/God has any limits, we are in no position to understand what they may be.
I am not in any way belittling Science and what it has discovered about Nature/God. What science has so far discovered I regard as quite accurate. That is how we have learned how much Nature has changed since the Big Bang. The manner in which I seem to differ from many scientists is that I do not think nature has stopped evolving. I don’t mean evolving as we think of the evolution of life occurring on this planet. I mean evolution in terms what that primordial hydrogen has become. I see no reason whatsoever to think the inner capabilities of that extraordinarily creative hydrogen, or energy, have been exhausted. I believe that a billion years from now whatever intelligent beings there may be will see Nature as exhibiting thousands of qualities that are beyond the capacity of our present imaginations. These new qualities will have manners of behaving that we would regard as impossible at this time, just as “understanding what it is doing” would have been beyond the capacities of those imaginary (and impossible) intelligent beings in the scenario I imagined as occurring shortly after the Big Bang.
From my point of view, dualism in the traditional sense makes no sense. There are millions/billions of different qualities in this world as it has so far evolved. It has no need of some additional “supernatural” being. We think in terms of a supernatural being simply because we are beings with self concepts. So we think there must be some other being out there that acts basically the same way we do, but with infinite powers. That great superpowerful human type being must have created all this! Of course, if a separate god created it we would need to posit some other creator to make sense of how God came into being!
Regarding Nature as continually changing in such fundamental ways as changing from hydrogen to living, thinking, active beings makes Nature “alive” for lack of a better word. In my opinion this Creative Cosmos is in the process of fundamentally changing at this very moment, just as it has been throughout all of its existence. It is a magnificently creative being surrounded in mystery. How it came into being is as mysterious as asking how God came into being. How it came to have the qualities and capabilities it has are as mysterious as wondering why God is the way God is.
We know it has the capacity to become intelligent self-conscious beings. We are small features of what it has become. We are separate from it only in our minds.
With the emergence of each new quality the creative whole acquires the necessary conditions for the existence of radically different qualities and entities than it had before. Just as having the qualities of life give it the capacity to manifest vast new capabilities, having the qualities of understanding, planning, appreciating bring about the capacity to reveal ever more fantastic manifestations of itself. Those new beings, in turn, would supply more capacities to become even more.
I think that if we can completely regard ourselves as integral features of this creative whole, we can begin to appreciate the special capacities that we bring to it. With our emergence this magnificently creative being acquires capacities for completely new ways of manifesting itself, at least on this planet. We have our “faults” or “problems.” There is a very real possibility (probability) that this particular manifestation (humans) will ultimately become an “experiment” that did not work. But whether beings with human characteristics continue to be part of the constant creativity much longer, we know that this fantastic creative energy has the power to create/become beings with these types of characteristics. This, in itself, shows that it has the capabilities that we could imagine in a God.
That, in my mind, makes it worthy of worship. The worshipping becomes in large part worshipping our true selves. The worshipping is a type of appreciation of the incredibly creative reality that we are part of. It is primarily a way of making us much more clearly aware of the types of beings we truly are. We provide qualities to the magnificent creative whole enabling it to proceed into entirely new ways of being. We can use our special capacities for planning, for appreciation, along with other human capabilities to bring about new qualities that are actually chosen because of their special beauty and other wondrous qualities.
I believe that if we devised special procedures (religious practices) for reminding ourselves of what we are we would acquire a purpose to guide our lives and regard the human types of creativity we add to God/Nature as providing an intelligent basis for human values. We no longer need to imagine an unearthly heaven with no challenges. We need to appreciate what we are and what we are parts of.