Monday, August 18, 2014

The night sky

Last night I had my very first opportunity of viewing the Milky Way in the night sky. To say the least, it was awe inspiring. There really are no words to adequately describe it. I went out to the West Desert in Utah to the Knolls Recreation Area. I went out before the moon came up. I found a dark quiet spot. Turned off my car and the lights, stepped outside, and just looked up. I saw something that pictures cannot do justice.

I could have taken a picture, but it would not have been the same. It was amazing. Within the first 5 minutes I saw at least 3 shooting stars, another star that seemed to move smoothly through the sky, which I am sure was a satellite, and the vast band of the Milky Way from one horizon to the other.

It was surreal. It really is something indescribable. You go out there and the only thing you hear is the wind in your ears and all you see is the glow in the sky. It took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust to the light of the stars and as they did I saw more stars. It opened up my eyes and wondered what it was like to those in the past that looked up.

It gave me a new meaning to things such as "Starry Night" by van Gogh. It was if I was staring into his painting. Seeing all the detail in the sky that he saw. Something that we often take for granted in our modern world. After seeing this spectacle I understand why the ancients revered the sky.

Just 15 minutes of being immersed in the light of the stars opened up a flood of thoughts that have never come to mind before. I wish I had the ability to talk to Galileo and Copernicus and see their sky. To learn from their knowledge and then come back to modern times and speak with Asimov, Sagan, and Tyson and get their take and perspective on our universe.

We yearn to know what is out there, and why not? The innumerable stars and galaxies that we have discovered and those that we have yet to discover give us an insight of where we came from. Because as Carl Sagan once said, "We are made of star-stuff."

Yes, our existence here on earth is but a blip in time. We are here, but for a short and almost seemingly meaningless existence, but when I think about this quote and really see the stars and the galaxies as close as possible to how the ancients would have, I do not see myself as insignificant. I am made of something bigger. Something that gives the world wonder.

I can use what I have been created from to give life to those around me and be a beacon to my fellow man as a star is to our world, our civilizations, and our minds. As I look up to the stars I can say, "I am made of star-stuff and I will be that 'star' to those around me."

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What is a soul? What is god?

Just this morning I finished the book "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho. It is very god centric and speaks a lot about souls. I know this will be a very different approach on the topic, but I hope I can be clear enough so that you can understand my interpretation on things while still considering myself an atheist.

I wrote a blog awhile ago called "Assholes and Atheists" and I really think this is a continuation of that blog. It comes from a very different place brought on by thoughts I had while reading this book over the last few days.

"The Alchemist" is a quick read and is only about 167 pages. It really made me think a lot more than most other books I have read. Without giving away too much of the story it is one person's journey to tune himself with God and The Soul of the Earth.

To me god and a soul are very different things. I don't believe there is a god, but I can still read these types of books and take my own atheistic perception on the subject.

To me god may be science or nature or evolution. It is something that follows a precise path and gives us humans something to study and be in awe of. God is something not fully explained. We don't know everything there is to know about this world. At times God was in the wind or sun or the ocean. He/she then evolved into Zeus, Ra, or Odin; and later to Jehovah, Allah, or Yahweh. Just as we learn more and more about the world we evolve our perception of God(s).

Why does everything have to be so black and white? God or no god? Now again, I don't believe in an almighty being that rules over the universe and watches us to make sure we do good and worship him/her, but there are rules of nature and physics that are to be followed and watch over this universe. The further we delve into science and the more our knowledge and understanding grows of the universe we come closer to what I believe is a perception of god and rules and laws.

The same can be said for a soul. So many books and ideas go in the eternity of a soul, but what is a soul? Does it have to be ghostly image of me that lives in the heavens or the stars for eternity? Can it not be my conscience, my logic, or my example for others?

Because the true legacy that lives on is how others perceive us from our actions and words. Who is to say that some of my actions have not come from Ramses, William Wallace, or Mark Twain?

We each live in this universe for a relatively short time. We each touch others lives in our own ways for good or for worse. Each person then perceives us in their own way and learns and grows from that. They may take part of our "soul" with them and change others in the same way we changed them. And in this way we become eternal.