Unlike friends who wanted to grow up to be rich or others who wanted to be envied; I wanted to grow up to be aware. Life is an accident, perhaps the inevitable consequence of the conditions that came into being at the birth of the universe. Because it was an accident, it occurred only where conditions were right for it to happen. Those were unusual circumstances, but they happened because there were so many places where they could happen. The transcendent occurrence of life becoming self-aware means that it, and it alone, can do what nothing else in the universe can do; it can seek understanding and provide meaning.
If I live to be one hundred I will not have had time enough to find the answers to all of the questions raised by my limited sensory system, and the thought of what remains to be counted and measured and named and explained leaves me breathless. The staggering number of objects so dim and distant that we must hand them over to others with mirrors as wide as rivers and colossal telescopes perched on mountaintops. We must evolve or face extinction.
Our lives are changing in unpredictable ways; we need to be able to make judgments with clear eyes and an accurate picture of how the world operates. We don’t need an immovable place to stand; we need to make our peace with a universe that doesn’t care what we do, and take pride in the fact that we care anyway. Although we cannot be immortal, the world is, and every increase in our understanding of it, and in our power to sing its song, is a further, deeper experience of the deathlessness of the world.
It seems that we are not settled. We think that we are, but we are still hoping for somewhere else where something is better--where it's warmer, it's more interesting. Hope is the defining human quality. For nearly two million years we have striven to do things better, to make tools that are not only more efficient but also more beautiful, to explore not just environments but ideas, to struggle towards something not yet experienced. Ideas produce ideas and help evolve new ideas. They interact with each other and with other mental forces in the same brain, in neighboring brains and thanks to global communication, in far distant, foreign brains. And they also interact with the external surroundings to produce an explosive advance in evolution that is far beyond any of the quantum leaps on our earlier stage.
I was early separated from my children David and Julia so I didn't have the experience of seeing a developing child as nature's way of reducing the entropy of one corner of the universe. I missed watching particles in a strand of DNA flowering into an artful dodger of the second law of thermodynamics, creating order from chaos. Information on a one-way street to becoming protein using the energy of the sun. The stochastic interaction of energy with matter leading to the emergence of increasingly complex adaptive systems over time.
I no longer care as much about humankind in general, but I love certain individuals and hope that the best of what we tried to be will go on to populate other star systems. Our colonies on those stars should also possess an archive filled with information that the designers think might be useful to the colonists. Before creating this archive, a committee of men of genius and goodwill should review years of history and purge it of 'the decay products of dead religions' - not just all the holy books, but also 'the immense body of literature - fiction and nonfiction - that was based upon them'. Despite all the wealth of beauty and wisdom these works contained, they can not be allowed to re-infect virgin planets with the ancient poisons of religious hatred, belief in the supernatural, and the pious gibberish with which countless billions of men and women once comforted themselves at the cost of addling their minds.
The News button leads you to a page listing recent and evolving travel plans, the Journals button gives access to an archive of travel journals, the Books button reveals my formative books, and the Gallery button introduces galleries of images which can each be clicked to expand the thumbnail to a full size image. The Musings button introduces new traveling companions, and new speculations which are guiding me though my septuagenarian decade. These musings are in turn grouped by category in the menu at the left of each page. The accordion menus at the right side of each page index the Musings, the photo Galleries, and the Travel Journals by date.
Images of Greece 1989