Something’s Not Right

Picture 2

[Inspired by Sarah]

Something’s not right when most rooms of adults consist of individuals glued to their cell phone screens.
Something’s not right when the children of earth are more interested in their iPhones than playing.
Something’s not right when wherever you go, people are quietly ignoring everyone else around them so they can focus all their mental energy on an LCD screen.
Something’s not right when so much cement and steel pervade our lives that when any nature creeps in to our concrete jungle, it disgusts us.
Something’s not right when we can no longer see the cosmos that made us because innumerable fluorescent lights are glaring.
Something’s not right when the human being can no longer stand to let his mind wander for fear of missing a post.
Something’s not right when a cell phone acts as an immense blockade to any glimmer of human connection.
Something’s not right when we don’t know how to have genuine emotional communication with, or empathy for, another human being because we’re used to using only text to communicate.
Something’s not right when words, photos, posts, and advertisements stream into our conscious worlds so continuously that there’s simply no room to imagine a world without them or beyond them.
Something’s not right when we use our electronic devices to avoid our thoughts and feelings- the things that make us human.

And there’s simply no social room to miss the latest post, photo, or text. And my god, what ever better thing could I possibly be doing with my spare moments than filling them up with the connections and uploads in my digital domain?! Sit in boredom? No way. Look out the window? What for? Watch the world go by? Nah, seen it before. Let our mind wander? Well, wander to what?

If we can’t stand to just sit and let our minds wander, then the entirety of humanity is in dire danger. And I don’t mean that with the slightest spice of exaggeration. All of humanity’s greatest advancements, inventions, and achievements began with a mind that wandered to a new thought. A mind that wandered to a new idea. A mind that wandered to something imaginary that later became a reality that changed everything. The first plane. The first pencil. The first book. The first rocket. The first wheel. The first key. These firsts, and all other firsts, all sprouted from a wandering mind. And they weren’t usually created by one great inspired insight, but by conglomerations of wandering moments that found each other in other wandering moments.

Perhaps if you had put that iPhone down for two minutes your imaginary vision could have changed the course of human history. But instead you decided to keep texting, keep tweeting, keep facebooking, keep uploading photos. You keep letting a screen absorb your consciousness entirely. And in doing so, you’ve told everyone around you that it’s ok to never let your consciousness leave that little screen. In fact, you’ve inspired them to never let their eyes leave that little screen. And consequently, you’ve turned humanity’s advancement down some very small notch. And together, all of us, eyeing our news feeds instead of the world around us, have turned humanity down one, big notch. Maybe it’s not your fault, maybe it’s just the fault of Steve Jobs. But we can’t afford another dial down in a modern world that has too many problems, too few solutions, and too big of dreams to lose the wandering minds who will save it, lead it, and take it to the stars. Indeed, all of humanity depends on each mind wandering to a place that no mind ever wandered before. So I beg you, put that cell phone, tablet, or laptop down and let your mind wander because your species, your planet, and your society depends on it.

Sacred Connectedness

Atacama storm

Sacred connectedness. What does that mean exactly? It means the atoms that are a part of you now were once in the furthest reaches of cosmic space and time. It means that the air molecules you breathe in this very moment were once breathed in by dinosaurs. It means that the electrons and protons that make up your laptop computer once resided in the fiery aftermath of the Big Bang. It means that the all the minute choices of animals and bacteria millions, even billions, of years ago have forged you into the being you are now. It means that without the magnetic sphere of hydrogen and helium in our skies, there would be no me or you. It means that the words you say today will affect other people, live in their hearts and minds, and continue on to others after you die. It means that everything you do now is impacting the people around you in ways you probably don’t even notice. It means that when you die the atoms that make up your flesh and mind will slowly dissemble and eventually become other things on planet earth.

It means that one day when the sun eats the earth and the pieces of us inside the beautiful planetary nebula that forms as the skeleton of our solar system will disintegrate and drift into the cosmos, and then the atoms that were once you may one day become the building blocks of a new intelligent civilization somewhere and somewhen in the universe. It means that all parts of our lives are ever-connecting into a small story about one way the universe existed for a brief blink in time. It means that I’m a 13.8 billion year old expression of a star. And so are you. Sacred connectedness lies a little bit beyond the pier of sheer science because we are taking the facts of science and attaching the cycle of subjective human lives to them to paint a meaningful, true story. Science may never unearth all the myriad ways to which we are connected to the cosmos, nor all the consequences of it, and belief in a connectedness far greater than what we may be able to understand is a sacred piece of our existential puzzle.

Sacred connectedness means that each moment of our lives depends on billions of past and present people and billions of past and present organisms. The words we speak and write, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the buildings we live out our lives in, the technologies we use, and the ideas in our minds, have come from, or were built up by, billions of other people and yet are manifested in this moment. The oxygen that the trees around us are producing and the microorganisms in our bodies are keeping us alive right now. Perhaps it seems like an obvious thing to say -that all the things that matter to us have come from other people and other living things- but to truly imagine the magnitude of individuals and organisms that are contributing to each moment of our lives is to have a sense of sacred connectedness and is to also gain a greater capacity to lessen the importance of the self. Indeed, in realizing sacred connectedness, we see that there really is no “you,” because “you” are a conglomeration of billions of past and present people and creatures, without which there truly can be no “you” at all.

But sacred connectedness means something even bigger. Sacred connectedness means that all existence has branched out from one point- the Big Bang. And this one point was something purely and utterly insane. It’s that somehow nothingness, or some physical state extremely close to nothingness, created an entire universe. It’s that nothingness created me. And you. Thus, the only logical deduction of this we can take is that if nothingness can create a universe, and if a human being is far more than nothingness, then a human being must be capable of creating anything.