The Hostile Universe

The Hostile Universe

We live on the surface of a gigantic speck of complex compound elements hurtling through an incomprehensibly vast universe that is utterly hostile to the all we know as life. Struggling to survive between the centrifugal force that would rocket us from the surface into the vastness of life extinguishing space and the overwhelming gravitational force that would pull us down and reclaim every element that composes or bodies, we ride in compound motions that rival any carnival ride ever devised. Alternating between the deadly heat and radiation of a star and the freezing stillness of outer space, we have worked for many centuries to establish for ourselves a home where we can manage to replenish our corporal form in sleep sufficient to awaken and tend the biological imperatives all living things must manage. We are all here together in a small area endeavoring to live in the midst of relentless deadly forces and circumstances.

We are not very different. From the smallest microbe to the largest Giant Sequoia, we all cope with the same hostility to existence. We are many combinations of the same complex elements that make up everything we have been able to detect. Billions of galaxies careen through the unfathomable void of space interacting responsively to the same forces that compel our gigantic speck around its star. That star orbits around the center of one of the billions of Galaxies composed of billions of other stars, planets, and other things. All that, and as far as we can tell everything, including all living things, is made up of atoms that resemble galaxies and solar systems. If we could see it all at once, from the immenseness of the macro-universe to the infinitesimal micro-universe, it would look like one heck of a lot of the same stuff swirling in so many directions all that the same time it defies consciousness.

Everything is in motion. Noting is solid. Nothing is permanent. (We postulate and theorize that energy and matter are permanent, and then argue and fight over their origins, but that is a subject for another time.) Form is utterly and completely in flux at all times. What we consider our existence is nothing but the stuff of the universe put together in a “form.” Maybe that is why we are called a “form of life.” Seems like a good way to put it, doesn’t it? Life forms abound. The diversity is extensive and the multitudinous diversity of life forms that have gone before us is hard to conceive. Amongst all the forces that work to change the form of any and every material thing including life forms, life continues through what we call “time,” to exist despite all the forces that work against its existence.

At this point in that time, we can see into the distance further than ever. The instruments we have invented have revealed the macro and the micro infinity better than we could relatively recently, and still we have not found life anywhere. We might someday, but so far, we have not. Life seems to be very rare indeed.

The hostility of the universe to life is something we all share. None are exempt and life is only burgeoning. It is in its nascence. From our relative perspective, life appears to have been around a long time, but that relativity is a simple human consciousness phenomenon. Compared to the universe, we are so new we have only just begun to exist.

The struggle to continue to exist has become something much different today. We are not coping with only the hostility of the universe itself. We are being forced to cope with the hostility of forces and circumstances we have created ourselves. Our power and our accumulated legacy has become a threat to life itself. We can extinguish it all with our nuclear power and our nuclear waste products. As if the volatility of the earth and the solar system is not enough to cope with, we have heaped upon our backs survival problems that are actually likely to cause the burgeoning of life in a dead solar system to end up being just a brief spark that made a flash and died before it could manage to find a way to sustain itself.

It is not too late. In fact, the time has only just come when we can  establish life in the hostile dead universe in something like permanence. We will have to hurry. The momentum is powerful, but we are strong enough to divert it. We can direct the flow of forces and elements within ourselves and in our little area of the universe. It will not be easy. We will have to join together world-wide. We will have to recognize the imperatives and leave the optional for another time. We must stop the killing and the fighting. We must establish peace on earth. Regardless of our differences, which can be discerned only by those accustomed to and well acquainted with this thing we call life, we must join together to resist the forces that constantly work to bring about our dissolution.

The human species has progressed very far. The other species have too, but we are the only ones who have grabbed the forces and the elements and created things that threaten all life. But the very things that are now a threat to life are the things we can use to establish life as something more than a “flash in the pan.”

[This came to me last night at about three o’clock in the morning. I have a lot more to add, but no time to add it right now. Please, stay tuned.]


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