174 – Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? VI

Update on my ongoing quest to answer what I believe are the most profound questions posed to the human mind. These questions are the title of one of Paul Gauguin’s most beautiful and enigmatic paintings.

Where do we come from?

As cells in our bodies, we emerge out of a living, self-organizing, self-generating, self-transforming phenomenon whose unfolding we call Evolution. But Evolution is the process through which this phenomenon progresses amid trial and error, creation and destruction, toward higher levels of complexity and order – from clouds of ice and dust into solar systems, from cells into human beings, from stars into galaxies, from nervous systems into the wonder of the mind. And because the progression of this phenomenon is measurable, tangible, self-evident yet remains incomprehensible to the human mind, some of us call it God, but we tend to call God what we cannot comprehend.

And although the unfolding of this phenomenon is the archetype of our genesis – the coming together of elements into our self-organizing organisms; the flow of ancient instincts in our blood; our primal urge to bond and re-generate; our boundless ingenuity in adaptation, our reflective contemplation of self-reflection – what this phenomenon is, how it might have been engendered, what its purpose might be, we cannot yet comprehend … perhaps we never will.

What are we?

I do not know. But what I do know is that we are complex and beautiful manifestations of the living phenomenon; that we are insignificant in the scheme of the Universe and significant in the scheme of the atomic elements; that we are participants in the renewal and perpetuation of its onward movement; that we are promoters of its universal mandate to Become, Self-organize, Bond, Re-generate, Self-regulate, Adapt, Self-perpetuate, Transform.

And even though our actions are limited by physical laws that regulate our internal and external environments, we nonetheless have a degree of freedom to transform ourselves and our world; 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 in transformation, we forge ahead until we no longer can, at which point we face the inexorable return to the source from which we emerged and the re-emergence into another form of existence. But re-emergence is equivalent to

what we have imagined,

what we have created,

what we have destroyed,

what we have taken,

what we have given to the world.

Think of Einstein – how he lives among us as his ideas open new visions and challenge our understanding of reality. Think of Darwin – how he lives among us as his theory stimulates exploration into the origins of Life. Think of Mandela or Gandhi – how they live among us inspiring pacifist rebellion against the destructive tyranny of unaccountable power. Think of Socrates – how he lives among us stimulating the awakening of the intellect. Think about Gauguin – how he lives among us in the profound questions he asks in his painting. Changing us, challenging us, transforming us, these individuals live among us in equivalent measure to the significance of their lives.

WHERE DO WE COME FROM? We emerge out of a self-generating, self-organizing, self-transforming Being.

WHAT ARE WE? We are sources of transformation.

WHERE ARE WE GOING? We transcend into the Future in equal measure to the significance of our lives.

Imagine how different our world will be when these manifest Facts become the foundation of what we teach our children.


Revised January 2021   

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