into the Universe
Humans in the ancient past discerned at most a few thousand
stars, but today science has revealed a universe of unimaginable
size and inconceivable violence. Billions upon billions of stars--like
our sun--burn with the energy of a thermo-nuclear furnace. Many
die in explosions that litter the reaches of space with gas
and dust from which new stars and planets are born.
If I was a super-alien the universe would look the same from
every angle. I would then zero in on a particular super-cluster
of galaxies that would then lead me to a smaller cluster of
galaxies where our Milky Way is embedded and finally our particular
sun with its solar neighbors.
Most humans thought that our galaxy was the ENTIRE UNIVERSE
until the 1920's. The billions of stars that make up our galaxy
are only a tiny fraction of the known stars in the universe.
We know this today. A central reddish bulge in the middle of
the Milky Way glows with the light of older redder stars. Our
sun orbits the center of our galaxy every 230 million years.
Galaxies are the large atoms of the universe. Stars are even
smaller atoms within these bigger atoms. Light from the sun
takes 8 minutes to get to earth. 5 hours to get to Pluto. More
than four months to get to Alpha Centauri the nearest star to
Having this bigger perspective always allows one some valuable
distance when looking at the problems on planet earth. Most
humans can barely think beyond the boundaries of their country.
Imagine what a perspective one get's on global problems if one
can simply step back from one's limited earth view. This is
a crucial psychological step.
An alien would see from the 1800's on a move towards total war
as the west industrialized from an agricultural and wood based
civilization. This trend climaxed in 1945 with Hiroshima. The
Cold war proved to be a stalemate.
Since 9/11 we are headed towards total war but instead of from
WITHOUT. It could be from WITHIN. Computers and nuclear energy
are creating a strange new process that governments can no longer
control. The immune system of a civilization is now vulnerable
to attack from within. In the old days we looked up from the
sky and looked for the incoming missles.
Throughout industrial and agricultural history we can see cycles
of boom and bust in new technologies and their their financing,
their production, their marketing, and their consumption both
for civilian and military purposes. In the digital age these
cycles of boom and bust are accelerating.
The cultural, social, political, and religious dimensions to
these technological and economic cycles would interest an alien
enormously.They certainly interest me. Our education system
is completely flawed because it does not transmit how all these
dimensions and cycles interact with one another.
Outer and inner poverty with this outer progress is now haunting
us. The alien would see the outer contradictions, but only the
saint can really see the inner and outer contradictions. We
are still struggling to fuse holistic outer views with reductionist
ones. The struggle to fuse ALL outer views with inner kinds
of vision has barely been started. This is what my work is about.