118 – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? III

This is an update on my attempt to answer what I believe to be the most profound and 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, creation and dissolution, the Source unfolds into higher and higher orders of complexity and order. And because the progression of the Source is relatively measurable, its ingenuity self-evident, its self-determination palpable, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot understand; some others call it Nature, but Nature is the manifestation of the Source into myriad creations; some others call it the Big Bang, but that was merely the birth of one of many universes.

And even though the Source is thriving within us and all around us – in the pulse of primal blood in our veins, in the 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?

Infinitesimally small from the dimension of the stars and vastly immense from the dimension of the atoms, we are manifestations of the transforming Source imprinted from the moment of origin with its universal mandate to self-generate, self-organize, bond, adapt, self-regulate, transform, so its onward movement is renewed and perpetuated; and yet we are also infused with a mostly instinctive yet highly self-determined degree of freedom to choose, to act, to transform, to see beyond immediacy. And thus we are self-determined 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, at which time we begin the inexorable process of dissipation back into the ancient Source from which we initially emerged. But dissipation back into the Source is not an end but the transformation in which

what we have imagined,

what we have created,

what we have destroyed,

what we have taken,

what we have given,

what we have done, or not, to change ourselves and our world, will transcend in equal measure into higher levels of complexity and order of the self-transforming Source.

Think of the Socratic Method, still stimulating critical thinking and illuminating ideas; think of Mandela’s courage, still inspiring pacifist rebellion against the tyranny of unaccountable power; think of Einstein’s E=mc2, still challenging our understanding of reality. The deeds of these individuals live on. Their contribution to humanity transcended their lives and live with us, encouraging, challenging, transforming us.

How far into the future we will transcend, depends on the significance of what we do with our lives.

Revised April 2020   

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