Relativity of Man

The language of a grown man,

to the cosmic powers,

sounds like babytalk to men.

To a god the wisdom

of the wisest man

sounds apish.  Beauty

in a human face

looks apish too.

In everything

we have attained

the excellence of apes.

Fragments from Heraclitus — 6th Century B.C.  

Harmony of tensions

The cosmos works

by harmony of tensions,

like the lyre and bow

Heraclitus (6th century B.C.) — Fragment 56

This fragment eases many recurring burdens that plague my thoughts.  My Utopian impulse is naïve — an illness, an obstacle preventing me from moving forward in my thought and actions.  The cosmos, the universe, mankind, according to Heraclitus, unfolds continuously “by harmony of tensions”…like the beauty mankind can produce with his hands via music, juxtaposed to the terror and ugliness mankind can produce with his hands via war.

A towering volcano can destroy everything surrounding the perimeter, yet provide some of the most fertile land on the planet.  A man/woman longs or yearns for a true, deep, all-consuming Love, but when he/she finds it, longs for solitude or space.  A person enjoys wealth earned from long hours and hard work, but desires less stress and more free time.  From Fire and ice – comes clear refreshing water.

All the perpetual tensions, the ebbs and flows, result in a general harmony or explanation as to why reality is what it is.  The person that can comprehend and accept this idea will be able to better understand and embrace these tensions and perhaps experience a better sense of harmony.  So, if one drinks too much on a given night and wakes up with a screaming hangover, he/she should avoid the temptation to proclaim, “I am never going to drink alcohol again!”  During the hours of intoxication the person was experiencing a high.  It is only natural for that person to therefore experience a low.  A better morning after proclamation would be to consider a few less drinks next time around.

About Heraclitus – “When the iron hoe was a new invention, Pythagoras saw mathematical logic as a language of cosmic prophecy.  Now, when we say E=mc (squared), we are stating in mathematical terms the thought of Pythagoras’s contemporary, Heraclitus, who said that energy is the essence of matter.  Heraclitus put it in the ancient Greek this way:

All things change to fire,

And fire exhausted

Falls back into things

Einstein agreed.  For him, the earth, the sun and moon and stars, the winds and waters, everything became energy in flux, in relativity, and the world was staggered by mental shock, then by physical explosions.  But the wisdom of Heraclitus held true twenty-five hundred years after his death.

Heir to the throne in Ephesus, one of the world’s richest and most powerful cities, Heraclitus gave up the kingdom and chose, instead of the trappings of power, to seek the Word of wisdom.  His writings survived the Persian empire, dominant in his time, and then the Greek, and Roman.  For hundreds of years, great writers, Plato, Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, and others, quoted him with respect.  Then, his book, with thousands of the finest works of that world, disappeared forever.”  So all we are left with are his fragments.  I recommend reading the Penguin Classics edition translated by Brooks Haxton.

Billions of Earths in Milky Way?

A short post on an important topic — the likely chance life exists elsewhere other than Earth.  Scientists recently discovered that there might be billions of planets in our galaxy that are in the habitable zone for life relative to their life-giving suns.  Almost 80% of the stars in our galaxy are “Red Dwarfs” which are fainter and cooler than our sun, and based on a sample they have a large number of “rocky” planets orbiting habitable zones.  But you can read all the details via the link I post at the end of this short piece.  There hasn’t been a lot of media coverage on the discovery, but it has appeared here and there on the major networks to serve as a short break from all the other micro focused stories on our civilization.

If there are billions of potential planets in our galaxy that have the potential to hold water or are located at a habitable distance from their respective suns, then one can extrapolate what that means when considering there are billions of observable galaxies in our “known universe”.  It is only a matter of time before we discover that we aren’t the only show in town.  So many questions arise when contemplating this reality and what it means relative to our own progress or lack thereof here on planet Earth.  And this idea that we are not alone is one of my primary and naive child-like challenges that I pose to people here on Earth.  Combine this idea with the other idea that the universe and planet Earth is a very chaotic and violent environment that creates and destroys and creates and destroys regardless of the fact we exist — one must contemplate the value of our daily concerns and to what long-term end they serve.

Given the above realities, what are we doing here on planet Earth?  Do our daily or generational or religious or philosophical occupations take these broad realities into account?  Or, do we simply go about our business with our heads buried in the sand?  Unfortunately, I believe we adhere to the later rather than the former.  We are so far astray from an enlightened and directional race or species relative to our potential that one cannot help but classify the human experiment at this point in time as a complete and utter failure.  What new information or discoveries are required to awake the consciousness of the human species?  What events or catastrophes must occur for us to define more significant and intelligent directions?  The boundaries are truly undefined.  The only borders are those that we have imposed and continue to impose on ourselves.  We must deconstruct our current direction, beliefs, institutions, thoughts, religions, philosophies, economies, within the context of these two broad truths and undiscovered truths, in order to re-set our broad and fungible directions.  Otherwise, we will end up like the vast majority of other species on this lonely planet — merely a flash of existence and insignificant within the context of eternity and borderless space and possibilities.

Billions of potential planets