~ PROLOGUE ~ HOW I MET THE CLIMATE ~ THE MEANING OF SCIENCE ~ THE STATE OF THE CLIMATE ~ BEGINNING
ONE CHANCE ~ TRIBES ~ SENTIENCE ~
~ AGONY ~ LETTER TO PRESIDENT REIF OF MIT
WHO IS AT FAULT ~ CRITIQUE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES ~
WORLD CLIMATE AUTHORITY ~ A BIT OF BIO ~ APOLLO 8 ~ EPILOGUE
THERE SEEMS TO BE NOTHING HARDER than to communicate our moral obligation to an anthropocentric universe.
I FEEL THIS IS TRUE from contemplation of the time-line of the universe, for the physics of its creation are such as to be smallest thing that can exist, a singularity, and it lasts for the shortest time there can be, although it contains infinite energy.
THE TIME DOESN'T MATTER. It is an instant compared to the probable age of the universe now or when and if it ceases to exist. I have reproduced "The Biggest Picture" below for convenience and a link to a larger reproduction.
THE CREATION ITSELF, the singularity, takes the shortest time possible according to the laws of physics and it is called the Planck Time after the great German physicist Max Planck. It is approximately 5 x 1044 seconds. And of course its size is the Planck size of 10-35 meters. Both are a tiny fraction of the size of fundamental particles.
I DWELL ON THIS because of what it leads to. During the singularity the laws of physics as we know them do not work, nor is it possible to answer meaningfully the question of what happened before the singularity. There are multiple ideas based on string theory and infinite multi-verses, but they feel disconnected from the problem at hand.
HOWEVER, THE INSTANT THE SINGULARITY ENDS everything that comes after follows the known laws of physics and leads inexorably to us, although others will argue with this view. Some will argue that the outcome is an accident others that it was created by god. I argue that each stage in the cosmic evolution is constrained by the laws of physic to follow the previous stage in a well-defined manner but not constrained in detail due to the Heisenberg uncertainity principle.
NEVERTHELESS THE SINGULARITY leads eventually to atoms of hydrogen and helium which combined with gravity lead to stars. Certain stars become super-novae which, when they die, become ovens for the other elements in the universe which when combined with gravity create stars which are parts of galaxies. A large number of stars have planets and we live on one of those planets. It feels miraculous to me except that another miracle follows and that is the creation of us.
FEW PEOPLE APPRECIATE the brains they are endowed with and the capability of those brains. A good example is having figured out this time-line. Another, and perhaps most important, is our ability be it to create a symphony, to raise a child, to have the insight of understanding, or to teach, which may be the greatest of all joys.
I ASSERT that the purpose of our brains is joy and since we are at the end of the creative chain of the universe, joy becomes the purpose of the universe. If this is so, then the coutless steps that lead to our minds becomes a gift, although it is a gift that few comprehend and that is the greatest tragedy. It leads, among other things, for us to fail to understand the essential roll our planet plays. And it creates, I believe, the greatest tragedy of all, our failure to protect and nourish the Earth.
JOY, WHICH COMES IN MANY FORMS, is a most unfathamable gift and because we fail too often to recognize this and we use our brains instead for the most unspeakable crimes. From my perspective joy is an assertion. There is no authority that can tell us what our purpose is. Others can assert the purpose is the worship and glorification of the god that created us. However, any god I can conceive of would not need to be worshiped and glorified. To repeat, the one great responsibility comes with our gifts and that is to be custodians of the planet we were given.