The finale of the new Cosmos series filled my heart with the purest sense of the numinous. Out there, in the gaseous clouds and the cosmic background radiation, among the billion billion chunks of ice and rock and the equally enormous numbers of other worlds, exists the wide universe. We are just toddlers come onto the scene, grasping at low hanging fruit-learning about the basics of what constitutes the here and now. Given enough time we will learn even more about it and us…where we came from, what forces led to our evolution…what was here before the everything burst into being.
For me the answers we seek are more important than anything in a religious text or a pop-psychology self help book. In my mind, our meager preconceptions of what “god” is fall as flat as a shadow over what science has so far been used to show us. It is a tool, the best tool we have for understanding. We, the human species, are stuck on this beautiful blue rock orbiting a middle aged, humdrum star far from the center of our own average size galaxy. In time, sadly I fear long after I am gone, the old dogmas and the old gods will have passed into the studies of mythology we now hold for the Greeks and the Romans.
One day, standing on a world much like this one, some young woman will look up and strain to find the point of blue-green light that is Earth. She will think of what it is and realize what it was- the cradle of the species. And like all cradles, it had allowed its children to grow in safety and eventually to walk, eventually to run; even to fly to other worlds around other stars.
She will find it there in the night sky embedded in some strange constellation and be proud, proud beyond measure that she came from there, that little world in a vast universe. She will have no fear, no knowledge of judgement or sin or primitive visions of an eye in the sky. She will have crossed oceans of space to become part of the cosmos, a little piece of the titanic forces that allowed life to exist come out to explore it.
What wonders will be found, what questions unknown to be answered? My life is all about wanting to know, wanting to understand. The search will never end for me, the pleasure I find in it sometimes overwhelms me. I dedicate myself to the pursuit of that knowledge.
I embrace the numinous cosmos!