This is an update on my attempt to answer what I believe to be the most challenging questions posed to the human mind: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? These questions were immortalized by Paul Gauguin on one of his most beautiful and enigmatic paintings (The painting can be seen in the Pictures page. See posts 78 and 95 for previous attempts.).
Where do we come from?
We emerge out of a primordial and transforming Source; a self-organizing, self-reflective phenomenon whose onward movement we call Evolution. But Evolution is just the self-generating process with which … amid trial and error, formation and dissolution … the primordial Source unfolds into higher and higher orders of complexity and order. And because the progression of the Source is relatively measurable, its ingenuity evident, its self-determination palpable, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot understand; some of us call it Nature, but Nature is just its creative manifestation into myriad components; some of us call it the Big Bang, but that was merely the birth of one of many universes.
And even though the Source is thriving inside of us and around us … in the pulse of primal blood in our veins, in our inborn urge to bond and reproduce, in the compelling instinct to adapt, in the boundless creativity of Life, in the selective self-organization of galaxies into spiral and globular shapes, in the constant birth of solar and atomic systems out of recycled forms of energy and mass, in the self-reflecting contemplation of self-reflection … we are not developed enough to comprehend it – yet.
What are we?
We are manifestations of the Source (infinitesimally small from the dimension of the stars and immensely immense from the dimension of the atoms), mandated to obey from the moment of origin its universal blueprint … self-generate, self-organize, bond, adapt, reproduce … so its onward movement is renewed and perpetuated; and yet it infuses us with a certain degree of freedom … mostly instinctive but highly self-determined … to choose, to act, to transform, to see beyond immediacy. Therefore we are sources of Transformation.
Where are we going?
Driven mostly by primal instincts and limited by internal and external environments, we forge ahead, pregnant with possibilities, transforming ourselves and our world until we no longer can, to begin the inexorable process of dissolution back into the ancient Source from which we initially emerged. But this process is not an End but the Transformation in which, in equal measure to
what we have done,
what we have imagined,
what we have created,
what we have destroyed,
what we have taken,
what we have given,
how we have changed ourselves and our world … the significance of our Legacy … will, or will not transcend into higher levels of complexity, into the beginning of a new chapter in other realms of the self-organizing, the self-transforming and … since its onward movement towards complexity is evident … the self-imagining Source.
Think of the Socratic Method – still stimulating critical thinking and illuminating ideas; think of Mandela’s courage – still inspiring a pacifist rebellion against the tyranny of unaccountable power; think of Einstein’s E=mc2 – still challenging our understanding of reality. The deeds of Socrates and Mandela and Einstein live on. The measure of their contribution to Humanity transcended their lives and is with us, encouraging us, challenging us, transforming us.
How far into the future our Legacy will live depends on how significant what we do with our life is.
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