Transcendence: to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits. Merriam-Webster
Update on my quest to find the answers to what I believe are the most profound questions posed to the human mind (the questions are taken from the title of Gauguin’s painting shown below [click on picture to enlarge]).
Where do we come from?
Like cells in our bodies, we emerge out of a living, creative, self-determined Being; a self-organizing, self-generating, self-transforming phenomenon whose unfolding we call Evolution. But Evolution is the progression of this phenomenon, amid trial and error, creation and destruction, towards higher levels of complexity and order … from a cloud of ice and dust to solar system, from cells to human being, from stars to galaxy … and although the progression of this phenomenon is relatively measurable, its creativity evident, its self-determination tangible, yet remains inexplicable to us, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot understand.
And although this Being thrives in us (the flow of ancient blood in our veins; the self-organization of molecules into a life-creating double helix; our universal urge to bond, to re-generate, to survive; our boundless ingenuity in adaptation, our self-reflective contemplation of Self-reflection), what this Being is, how it might have been engendered, what its purpose might be, we cannot yet comprehend – perhaps we never will.
What are we?
We are self-activated manifestations of the living Phenomenon we call Universe; promoters of its universal mandate to Become, to Self-organize, to Bond, to Re-generate, to Adapt, to Self-perpetuate, to Transform. Thus, ensuring our participation in the renewal and perpetuation of its onward movement.
And although our actions and reactions are mostly driven by primal instincts, and although we are limited by physical laws that regulate our internal and external environments, we are, as far as we know, the only manifestation of this phenomenon with the capacity of conscious self-reflection … the capacity to self-reflect upon our degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world … and so, we are sources of Transformation.
Where are we going?
Limited by our internal and external environments, yet pregnant with the possibilities of a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world, we forge ahead until we no longer can; at which point in our existence we begin the inexorable dissipation into the environment from which we emerged, yet, in equal measure to
what we have imagined,
what we have created,
what we have destroyed,
what we have taken,
what we have given to the world,
we may re-emerge, transcending the sanctioned limits of perception, into more complex manifestations of Existence.
Think of Einstein – challenging our understanding of Reality; think of Darwin – stimulating research on the origins of our ancestry; think of Mandela, or Gandhi – inspiring pacifist rebellion against the tyranny of unaccountable power; think of Gauguin – living in the haunting questions of his beautiful painting. The mental processes of these individuals live on in us changing the way we understand ourselves and our world. Humanity is different because of them: they transcended into what we are, as we can transcend into what might be.
Dressed with the attire of Ancestry, / we are called into the playground of Existence / at an appointed moment in time and space. / And what we do / or do not do / with our moment of Existence / is the measure of our Transcendence.
Transcendence is a measure of the significance of existence.
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