This is another attempt on my quest to answer what I believe are the most profound questions posited to the human mind.* The questions are the title of Paul Gauguin’s most enigmatic painting (shown above – click on picture to enlarge). In trying to answer the questions I am reaching a deeper understanding of what we are in the scheme of Nature, a deeper understanding of the Source from which we all emerge and into which we all ultimately return.
Where do we come from?
We emerge out of a self-creative primordial Source; a self-organizing, self-generating, self-perpetuating phenomenon whose onward movement we call Evolution. But Evolution is just the progression of the Source … amid trial and error, formation and dissolution … into higher and higher orders of complexity and order. And since this progression is measurable, its creativity evident, its self-determination discernible, its power tremendous, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot understand. And since its movement can be manipulated and it can manipulate us, some of us call it Nature, but Nature is just its manifestations into diverse and myriad forms. And since we can only imagine its beginning as an explosion out of nowhere, some of us call it the Big Bang, but that was merely the birth of one of its many universes.
And although the Source thrives inside of us and all around us (in the pulse of primal blood in our veins, in our inborn urge to bond and re-generate, in the compelling instinct to adapt and survive, in the boundless creativity and ingenuity of Life, in the selective self-organization of galaxies into spirals and globular clusters, in the constant creation of solar and atomic systems out of recycled forms of energy and mass, in the self-reflective contemplation of self-reflection), what the Source is, what its purpose might be, we are not developed enough to comprehend it.
What are we?
Infinitesimally small from the dimension of the stars and enormously immense from the dimension of the atoms, we are manifestations of a primordial self-creative Source that imprints us all from the moment of creation with a universal mandate to bond, to self-organize, to re-generate, to adapt, to survive, 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, we have nonetheless evolved a conscious awareness of a degree of freedom to choose, to see beyond immediacy, to transform ourselves and our world. And so we are a most amazing creation of a primordial Source that creates life to recreate itself. We are self-conscious sources of Transformation.
Where are we going?
Pregnant with the possibilities of a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world yet limited by our internal and external environments, we forge ahead until we no longer can; at which point we begin the transformation into our inexorable dissolution and potential transcendence into higher realms of the Source from which we emerged. But transcendence is impartially measured by
what we have imagined,
what we have created,
what we have destroyed,
what we have taken,
what we have given to our world,
and so, transcendence is measured by the significance of our lives.
Think of Einstein – opening new visions and challenging our understanding of reality; think of Mandela – inspiring pacifist rebellion against the tyranny of unaccountable power; think of Socrates’ Method – stimulating critical thinking and fueling the transformation of ideas; think of Gauguin – living on in his beautiful paintings, especially the one that keeps asking his profound questions. The deeds of these individuals, to name a few, live on in us; they transcended their lives transforming into higher manifestations of our collective humanity – still challenging us, encouraging us, transforming us, inviting us – their transcendence a measure of the significance of their lives.
WHERE DO WE COME FROM? We emerge out of a self-creative primordial Source.
WHAT ARE WE? We are self-conscious sources of Transformation.
WHERE ARE WE GOING? We transcend into the future in equal measure to the significance of our lives.
Transcendence is a measure of the significance of existence.
* Former attempts on Posts 78, 95 and 118.
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