- Quotes and media
- Source 2
- Scientific understanding will aid this a lot
- Every square inch
- A new scientific era
- Robert Frost
- We dance around in a ring and suppose;
- But the Secret sits in the middle - and knows.
- Rising above simply reporting on things, as is the main thrust of Discover Earth, is a major conclusion that I have drawn from the unsettled science of big history as a result of putting the largest pieces of the puzzle together.
- Between our senses and our instruments, and particularly with our accumulated wealth of scientific knowledge, we can see far into the universe.
- But despite our ability to see and perceive ever further, human beings appear to be no more wise, sure, or enlightened than what they have ever been throughout history. Our actions seem to be largely the same that they ever have. (This isn't true. This must be one of the most peaceful times in history. We are no more in touch with the *ultimate* though.)
- I believe that the lack of any effect despite the vast wealth of new information available to us is because our brain instinctively filters out the vast majority of information it receives from the senses, and prohibits true *feeling* of what we have learned about our environment as we walk through it. Instead, we are left with a shallow impression of the universe, satisfactory for living, while other areas of our mind, preoccupied with day to day survival and decision making dominate.
- Robertson Davies
- The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend
- It's not our knowledge that connects us with the universe. It's our emotions.
- These limitations seem to have three dimensions. The first two are indisputable scientific truths, the last is speculation.
- Size. The upper and lower limits of the size of the universe, if they exist at all, are unknown. We seem to occupy a 'middle world', and we recognise its patterns and the emergent rules that appear to govern it. But we are a single frame of a vast continuum, from the whirring demon planets of atoms to the filaments of the observable universe.
- See http://zoomquilt.org/ or http://zoomquilt2.com/
- Detail. Each patch of ground contains an empire of microscopic single celled organisms that only the careful scientist perceives. The level of complexity in everything, from how your car was made, to the evolutionary history of a single species, to how a single skin cell functions, is mind-crushing.
- Multiverse. It may be the case that there are up to twelve 'dimensions' of space and time. This would mean that every possibility of action in the entire universe has taken place in its own universe, in an infinite spread of everything that could ever exist and everything that could ever happen.
Quotes and media
All achievement is futile if you can't appreciate how incredible it is to simply be.
Awe and joy must be the most enlightened energy in the universe.
Henry David Thoreau
It's not what you look at that matters. It's what you see.
[What are you afraid of?]
Christine Finn, Archaeologist
That we will literally lose touch with the physical world
We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.
If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.
Julian Huxley, Transhumanism in New Bottles for New Wine
As a result of a thousand million years of evolution, the universe is becoming conscious of itself, able to understand something of its past history and its possible future. This cosmic self-awareness is being realized in one tiny fragment of the universe — in a few of us human beings. Perhaps it has been realized elsewhere too, through the evolution of conscious living creatures on the planets of other stars. But on this our planet, it has never happened before.
Julian Huxley, Transhumanism in New Bottles for New Wine
The new understanding of the universe has come about through the new knowledge amassed in the last hundred years — by psychologists, biologists, and other scientists, by archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians. It has defined man's responsibility and destiny — to be an agent for the rest of the world in the job of realizing its inherent potentialities as fully as possible.
Will Durant, Transition
I felt more keenly than before the need of a philosophy that would do justice to the infinite vitality of nature. In the inexhaustible activity of the atom, in the endless resourcefulness of plants, in the teeming fertility of animals, in the hunger and movement of infants, in the laughter and play of children, in the love and devotion of youth, in the restless ambition of fathers and the lifelong sacrifice of mothers, in the undiscourageable researches of scientists and the sufferings of genius, in the crucifixion of prophets and the martyrdom of saints — in all things I saw the passion of life for growth and greatness, the drama of everlasting creation. I came to think of myself, not as a dance and chaos of molecules, but as a brief and minute portion of that majestic process.
Theodore Roosevelt, African Game Trails
There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm.
To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.
Those who are awake live in a state of constant amazement.
("I've seen it cited as being by Buddha, but I've never been able to find anywhere in the sutras where it exists. I've never once seen any citation other than the vague claim that it is by Buddha." "Not the Buddha, Jack Kornfield." Link.)
"The proper response to reality is astonishment."
"Everything's amazing and nobody's happy"
'The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory'
Leonardo da Vinci
"I awoke, only to find that the rest of the world is still asleep"
To see the moon that cannot be seen, turn your eyes inward and look at yourself, in silence.
Daylight, full of small dancing particles and the one great turning, our souls are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
The stars are like letters that inscribe themselves at every moment in the sky. Everything in the world is full of signs. All events are coordinated. All things depend on each other. Everything breathes together.
"Nature is not mute. It is man who is asleep."
What you are basically, deep, deep down, far, far in, is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself.
How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.
There's music in the sighing of a reed;
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
There's music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.
It is in man's heart that the life of nature's spectacle exists; to see it, one must feel it.
When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.
In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Anyone in whom the troublemaking self has died,
sun and cloud obey.
If you wish to shine like day,
burn up the night of self-existence.
Dissolve in the Being who is everything.
Stop this day and night with me
And you shall possess the origin of all poems
True piety lies in the power to contemplate the universe with a quiet mind.
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things
Ask a cloud: What is your date of birth? Before you were born, where were you?
Thich Nhat Hanh
The web of life is a beautiful and meaningless dance. The web of life is a process with a moving goal. The web of life is a perfectly finished work of art right where I am sitting now.
Robert Anton Wilson
If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.
We may be in the universe as dogs and cats are in our libraries, seeing the books and hearing the conversation, but having no inkling of the meaning of it all.
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
Nobody sees the obvious, nobody observes the ordinary. There are more miracles in a square yard of earth than in all the fables of the Church.
Robert Anton Wilson
I can worship Nature, and that fulfills my need for miracles and beauty. Art gives a spiritual depth to existence - I can find worlds bigger and deeper than my own in music, paintings, and books. And from my friends and family I receive the highest benediction, emotional contact, and personal affirmation. I can bow before the works of Man, from buildings to babies, and that fulfills my need for wonder. I can believe in the sanctity of Life, and that becomes the Revealed Word, to live my life as I believe it should be, not as I'm told to by self-appointed guides.
Neil Peart, The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa
The longer one is alone, the easier it is to hear the song of the earth.
Robert Anton Wilson
Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it. Whoever has polished it more sees more — more unseen forms become manifest to him.
Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.
I am so happy, I cannot be contained in the world;
But like a spirit, I am hidden from the eyes of the world.
If the foot of the trees were not tied to earth, they would be pursuing me;
For I have blossomed so much, I am the envy of the gardens.
- Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.**
The great Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky suffered from epilepsy. Just before a seizure, he would experience a moment of intense ecstasy, which he described as a feeling of being suddenly flooded with reality, a momentary vision of the world exactly as it is.
Robert Greene, 33 Strategies of War
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.
Underneath this reality in which we live and have our being, another and altogether different reality lies concealed.
Camille Flammarion, 1888
In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge.
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.
All that is, is holy.
We have a new story of the universe. Science has given us a new revelatory experience. It is now giving us a new intimacy with the earth.
Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth
The evolutionary epic is probably the best myth we will ever have.
E.O. Wilson, On Human Nature
When you realise how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.
– Attributed to a Buddhist saying
You will look back along the star's rays and see that even
The poor doll humanity has a place under heaven.
...but now you are free, even to become human.
But born of the rock and the air, not of a woman.
Robinson Jeffers, Signpost
What does man actually know about himself? Is he, indeed, ever able to perceive himself completely, as if laid out in a lighted display case? Does nature not conceal most things from him — even concerning his own body — in order to confine and lock him within a proud, deceptive consciousness, aloof from the coils of the bowels, the rapid flow of the blood stream, and the intricate quivering of the fibers! She threw away the key.
Science is never finished because the human mind only uses a small portion of its capacity, and man's exploration of his world is also limited. If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune, and the piper who plays this melody from an inscrutable distance—whatever name we give him—Creative Force, or God—escapes all book knowledge.
Albert Einstein, Einstein and the Poet
He says, "There’s nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!
The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.
Completely become hearing and ear, and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.
There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.
George Bernard Shaw
If we could understand the order of the universe well enough, we would find that surpasses all the wishes of the wisest people, and that it is impossible to make it better than it is - not merely of the whole in general, but of ourselves in particular.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
The universe is in a glass of wine.
Every object and being in the universe is
a jar overflowing with wisdom and beauty,
a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained
by any skin. Every jarful spills and makes the earth
more shining, as though covered in satin.
There is a certain cloud,
impregnated with a
There is my body,
in it an ocean formed of his glory,
all the creation,
all the universes,
all the galaxies,
are lost in it.
I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
When I paint a sun, I want to make people feel it revolving at a terrific rate of speed. Giving off light and heat waves of tremendous power. When I paint a cornfield, I want people to feel the atoms within the corn pushing out to their final growth and bursting. When I paint an apple, I want people to feel the juice of the apple pushing out against the skin, the seeds at the core striving outward to their own fruition! The fields that push up the corn, and the water that rushes down the ravine, the juice of the grape, and the life of a man as it flows past him, are all one and the same thing. The sole unity in life is the unity of rhythm. A rhythm to which we all dance ; men, apples, ravines, ploughed fields, carts among the corn, houses, horses and the sun. The stuff that is in you, Gauguin, will pound through a grape tomorrow, because you and a grape are one. When I paint a peasant laboring in the field, I want people to feel the peasant flowing down into the soil, just as the corn does, and the soil flowing up into the peasant. I want them to feel the sun pouring into the peasant, into the field, into corn, the plough, and the horses, just as they all pour back into the sun. When you begin to feel the universal rhythm in which everything on earth moves, you begin to understand life. That alone is God.
Vincent Van Gogh
The very dust that blows along the street
Once whispered to its love that life is sweet.
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.
You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?
What you seek is seeking you.
We sit together,
the mountain and I,
until only the mountain remains.
Knock, And He'll open the door
Vanish, And He'll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He'll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He'll turn you into everything.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
"I seem to be a brief light that flashes but once in all the aeons of time," he observes, "a rare, complicated and all-too-delicate organism on the fringe of biological evolution, where the wave of life bursts into individual sparkling, and multicolored drops that gleam for a moment only to vanish forever.
Under such conditioning it seems impossible and even absurd to realize that myself does not reside in the drop alone, but in the whole surge of energy which ranges from the galaxies to the nuclear fields in my body.
At this level of existence "I" am immeasurably old; my forms are infinite and their comings and goings are simply the pulses or vibrations of a single and eternal flow of energy."
As the ocean 'waves', so the universe 'peoples.'
My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.
To understand everything is to forgive everything.
– Attributed as a Buddhist saying
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.
There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don't you?
Rumi really saw the value and beauty of every square inch of the world.
It’s actually not too far away from this. It’s no joke! (click through to the video 'Cat Transcendence- limitless')
We should be all worried about the gaping psychological chasm separating humanity from nature
Scott Sampson, dinosaur paleontologist
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
To halt the decline of an ecosystem, it is necessary to think like an ecosystem.
Douglas P. Wheeler
Think of these images as a deliberate exaggeration. They take what is unfamiliar and awe inspiring, and map them onto the familiar. This lets us view the familiar in a new, awe inspiring way that is actually closer to the truth of what they are.
Our eyes by default disregard what we see every day as uninteresting, when it couldn't be further from the truth.
The beauty of this world is overwhelming. But sometimes you have to have the right amount of distance or perspective to see that something is beautiful.
- What is Mysticism?
- According to William James:
- In mystic states we both become one with the Absolute and we become aware of our oneness. This is the everlasting and triumphant mystical tradition, hardly altered by differences of clime or creed. In Hinduism, in Neoplatonism, in Sufism, in Christian mysticism, in Whitmanism, we find the same recurring note, so that there is about mystical utterances an eternal unanimity which ought to make a critic stop and think, and which bring it about that the mystical classics have, as been said, neither birthday not native land.[](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysticism#cite_note-FOOTNOTEHarmless200714-31)
- According to McClenon, mysticism is
- The doctrine that special mental states or events allow an understanding of ultimate truths. Although it is difficult to differentiate which forms of experience allow such understandings, mental episodes supporting belief in "other kinds of reality" are often labeled mystical [...] Mysticism tends to refer to experiences supporting belief in a cosmic unity rather than the advocation of a particular religious ideology.
- According to Blakemore and Jennett,
- Mysticism is frequently defined as an experience of direct communion with God, or union with the Absolute, but definitions of mysticism (a relatively modern term) are often imprecise and usually rely on the presuppositions of the modern study of mysticism — namely, that mystical experiences involve a set of intense and usually individual and private psychological states [...] Furthermore, mysticism is a phenomenon said to be found in all major religious traditions.
- Wikipedia, Mysticism
- Perhaps Terrence Mckenna, Alan Watts, EO Wilson, Buddha or Shiva, some Christian mystics, or some of the 'established explanations'
- Narcissus. He saw his reflection in the water and knew what he truly was.
- This could be your figure in myth: a philosopher who sits cross legged staring into a mirror, where he truly sees what he is. A different narcissus.
Scientific understanding will aid this a lot
- If any of the great mystics of history saw the mysteries that science has uncovered about the universe they would be beside themselves with awe.
- They already have the emotional sensitivity, and our knowledge now would be both familiar and immensely alien to them.
- They would have a profound experience.
Every square inch
- Every square inch of the world is an object of infinite beauty. It has been this way for as long as the human species has existed, and long, long before that. Poets, mystics, priests, and philosophers have commented on it and framed it in their own way, according to their own limits and what they assumed to be true.
- Science has expanded the limits of our vision immensely, and what we have found the universe to be surpassed what could be called stupendous probably in 1920, when it was discovered our galaxy, enormous and complex beyond the scope of human comprehension, was but one of a seemingly limitless number of similar galaxies suspended in a colossal void, a single fleck of dust in a dark continent.
- The discoveries of science are the steps in a winding staircase up a proverbial mountain. This 'understanding' is like the view from the top. And what you are looking at is your immediate environment, from a new, incredible perspective, and truly appreciating it for its complexity. Scientific discoveries are the key, the steps - they show us just how complex it is. They have revealed it to us. We just have to open our eyes.
- What is the *Absolute*, or the *ultimate?*
- When it sinks in that we are stupendously complex groups of molecules that originated in a chemical pool, and have been built through 4 billion years of relentless creativity, rivalry, suffering, conflict, triumph and death; as has every other living organism on Earth. And we are part of an incredible nursery: how many of the atoms in the objects around and that comprise us have lived past lives in previous beings?
- And that we, as a product of the universe, can turn back to look at it and understand at least a fragment of its sublimity, violence, beauty, and scope; not least of which includes the natural world, and our own bodies.
- We may be the only ones that can do so, or the same thing may have happened on a trillion planets beyond our own that we will never know existed.
- I am a small twig in the universal tree.
- The Understanding is like reaching a higher dimension. It is all knowledge, simultaneously. It is like going through a tunnel of data, realizing how amazing the universe is at each second. The tunnel is your life in the present - right now - and what you see around you. And you fly through it, understanding how you are here, and how all of the things around you got there too. This is a very big deal. You understand how all of these things, in this small little pocket of the universe, came to be here. All of the seemingly unrelated findings of physics, geology, biology, and human history converge like broken fragments and make you aware of what it took to create this small corner of the universe. Evolution is particularly awesome. You have 'broken through to the other side.' The sounds that you hear are part of it, too.
- You look up at the stars then down at the molecules of dirt at your feet and you realize that there is an entire universe in both directions. And a very interesting sidestep is what's going on below your skin, and how such a machine as you came to be.
- I think that true Nirvana, or escaping the wheel - the ultimate mental state, lies not in the removal of suffering but in the complete understanding of the significance of the environment and yourself. The comprehension of how complex and 'impossible' you are, and the awe that this comprehension gives you.
- This allows you to 'see' the wheel (evolution, and how far you have some to get this awareness, and the amount of suffering that it required).
- In truly appreciating reality, we become the universe seeing for itself how fantastically complex it is. We have become as a god, not a god of creation (for we are children of the universe, not its creator), but a god of understanding.
- It is the end. It is everything. It is what lies at the long road of science, which is actually the process of discovery and understanding.
- You have to realise that all the sciences that we can see is just a part of an evergoing circle. We see an arc of that circle. The arc keeps going through quantum physics and then straight up through the galaxies and into… something.
- Then, beyond the daemons vision, there is the next level up again. It's the realisation that all of that story of life is connected with each other. That it all echoes with the great song. That all of the animal calls reflect their own origins. That the whole universe trembles at the thought of its own sound. It's in awe with itself.
- Things are vast. Unimaginably vast. That is the true nature of it. And it's all determined by simple rules that have created stupendous variety, particularly with the creation of a self replicating molecule that has become incredibly hardy and has since coated the entire planet. Sometimes things gets violent, like in the slight variations of charge that cause lightening storms.
- The truth is like Semele seeing Zeus. Die or go mad. It is just too, too, too good.
- You need to pursue this thing like tony stark for all that it is worth or it will be lost to you forever. Note that tony stark doesn't talk shop with laypeople.
- Things that show vastness show the true nature of the universe.
- The universe simply acts in constant flux from the past (bearing ceaselessly into the future - thanks Fitzgerald). One way that you can see it manifest itself is through the weather. You can't do anything about the weather, no more than you can stop the path of Saturn, or stop the sun from burning. However one perfectly timed act at the right place can change the face of the earth forever like the wings of a butterfly in the Amazon.
- All that life is is a self replicating molecule. For such a molecule to form the easiest way is probably with liquids as they mix up with each other more and thus complex molecules can be made. I guess that it only has to be really simple at the start, as long as there's a method of passing complexity onwards to the next generation, or otherwise it's lost. Perhaps a gas life form is possible though? What would such a thing look like?
- Our life form is a mix of solids, liquids and gasses dissolved in liquid, within a spongy skin. But we are a supremely complicated, niche version of life. So are all animals and plants. The prototypical 'life' would have to be bacteria. We are a gigantic evolution on the fringes of the categories of life.
- Mankind and the Great Song existing side by side in harmony.
- "Have you ever truly listened to birdsong?"
- I think that my last illusion is not love, but rather the perception that I am separate from the rest of the universe.
- Our separateness is an illusion.
- A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
- Albert Einstein
- I think this is what the "destruction of the ego" is all about. The discovery of the oneness of everything in the universe.
- And beyond.
- It may all be a mathematical expression. Like a Mandelbrot set. Up into multiple universes, and down into strings, and perhaps past these things?
- Maybe not purely mathematical - but rather fluctuations of energy that follow mathematical patterns.
- But you must return to reality. The understanding is crippling, all consuming, for it is the ultimate. You cant live that way. Externally, you are in a daze or trance. Internally, a God of understanding. A being who has become something else through *comprehension* of what they are and how amazing and complex the universe is.
- You cant keep it up. Or you'll live your life in a daze-like trance, unable to do anything except shiver in awe. But this reaction is to be expected, for you are experiencing the ultimate, the higher dimension. You have broken through to the other side. What else did you expect?
- The whole song is in tune with: how amazing that those energy wavelengths creates you and how amazing you are.
A new scientific era
- There are two kinds of scientific progress: the methodical experimentation and categorization which gradually extend the boundaries of knowledge, and the revolutionary leap of genius which redefines and transcends those boundaries. Acknowledging our debt to the former, we yearn, nonetheless, for the latter.
- Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
- New scientific eras come when we understand the context of great complexity.
- The first was evolution, in which we perceived the mechanism that created the complexity of organic life and the origin of our own species. This occurred soon after we had the technological capacity to travel to multiple exotic ecosystems, and document and categorise what was seen.
- At some point will see the continuity of the universe, being entirely stitched of a single thread. (This reads too metaphysical. It's a cool thing, but it takes two steps rather than one) This will emerge when we have capacity to combine the vast discoveries in many scientific disciplines, and piece them together into a single narrative of the known universe. This time is now.
- There will be the discovery of non earth life - which will not necessarily be intelligent - on another planet, which will allow us to understand what may be unique to Earth and its life, and what is not. This may happen when we have the capacity to explore the bodies of our solar system in depth, or perhaps it will be delayed until we can explore the bodies of many solar systems in depth, and document what is found. (We expand our sample size from one to two.)
- Following that is first contact with an intelligent life or civilisation outside of earth, when, like with the first discovery of non earth life, we can discover what is unique about our intelligence and civilisation, and what is not.
- And then the context of the universe itself:
- We will determine this when or if we have the capacity to investigate the fundamental fabric and construction of the universe.
- Perhaps universes also undergo a kind of evolution: but the only ones that count are those that are 'perceived'. And only those which have the capacity to create intelligent life are 'perceived'.
- But then, there are no rules against simulations. And a sufficiently advanced simulation would be indistinguishable from the 'real' thing.
- So what becomes the most 'perceived' universes are universes that have been simulated that contain intelligent life. Which in turn may simulate their own universes.