MASSIVE IMAGINATIVE LEAP
According to Lawrence Krauss in his essay, “Rediscovering Creation” in MYSTERIES OF LIFE AND THE UNIVERSE, “We now estimate that there are at least 100 billion galaxies, more or less like our own, in the visible universe, containing an average 10 billion to 100 billion stars each.”
Like Sagan’s thoughts in COSMOS, Krauss’s ideas invite us to think just how large the universe is. What if this universe is only one of many universes? How large is that thought? How many opportunities for life to emerge?
I just finished, yesterday, a long 40 lesson DVD course in Astronomy taught by Alex Philipenko in the Great Teacher series. One picture which appeared several times during his course was a Hubble deep space picture, a small segment of sky, which was filled with galaxies ever smaller, farther from view and dimmer. I had to shift my imagination to realize I was not looking at stars but at galaxies. Eventually I was able to see the spread of galaxies as a reality in my mind rather than just a picture. I freeze-framed the picture twice and just stared at it, letting my imagination soar, squinting to see the dimmest, smallest bits of light. I thought the picture was so wonderful that I called my equally wonderful wife in to show her the picture.
O’CONNER’S ON THE BALL
Retiring judge Sandra Day recently opined that the Republican controlled Congress was bent on destroying an independent judiciary. She said things have never been worse in her lifetime. An astute observer can see the underlying drive of Republicans to destroy individual freedom and to make sure we all practice Christianity (as they interpret it) and to bend every American institution to their will. They will not be happy until everything is exactly as they wish it to be. Their utopian ideals, like all utopian schemes, will inevitably lead to dictatorial institutions. They fear freedom like the plague. (SR, July 22, 2005)
BRITAIN JUST NOT AS TOUGH AS THE NEOCONS
What I want to know is why Britain has not invaded a Moslem country like Iran in retaliation for the attack by Islamic extremists on their mass transit system. What? Are they soft? Are they trying to think first and act later? I’m surprised our administration hasn’t lashed out at British lack of resolve and their failure to make some sort of Bushite, ill considered knee jerk reaction to the attack on London.
KIPLING FASHIONABLE AGAIN?
I came across this fragment of Kipling poem in Vidal’s book, EMPIRE.
Take up the White Man’s burden—
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard.
I can’t help thinking that some of our Christian brethren believe that we need to lead every one of us on this globe by the nose into their better tomorrow.
When I try to be calm about America’s current situation, I do have to ask if we feel safer and more united now than four or five years ago, or ten years back, or twenty-five years ago when Reagan came to power. I don’t think I’ve felt more divided from my fellow citizens than I do now. I dislike whole regions of America, as if all Southerners were bigoted Ku Klux Klansmen in the closet. I picture all Westerners as wearing cattle rancher Stetsons, chewing tobacco and hating everybody from Hollywood and the Eastern establishment. I picture every Christian as an enemy of freedom who wants to impose his religion on the public square so as to make converts until we are all just like them, clones in mind and emotion.
In short, I do fear that there are enough Christian people in America to force us to become much like those backward Islamic nations dominated by religion, unscientific in nature and repressive in action.
This can’t be the truth, but our current media climate seems to create this distrust of one American for another. What can I do to help myself break free of these biases which I have developed and which keep a continual anxiety churning in my chest and stomach?
ONE LAST THOUGHT
Every strand of DNA contains a lot of junk DNA in it, stuff which seems to have no clear purpose, leftover matter from earlier adaptations, perhaps? Anyhow, the junk DNA is another proof, if you ask me, that no intelligent designer worked out this being which is me.