Navigating the site:
The Universe Story
The origin of our physical existence is explained in terms of stages of development in which time emerges from the simple eternity of photons to the entropy laden biological rhythms of living creatures. This temporal emergence of entropy from the source of the universe has taken over 10 to 20 billion years. This is the current tale of descent from stars and dark matter that is a vast, sublime and as yet unfolding story of our world's origins and order.
Like the Sanskrit word to which it alludes universe is one breath, a single song from which all that we see comes into continual renewal an eternity of decay, rebirth, and fruition. It is almost as if the Greek concept that god breathes the universe into creation or in the Christian tradition speaks the cosmos into existence contains a hint of reality behind the many different things living, growing and dying things that we see. But in etymological terms the in word means literally a single turn or wholly combined, hence "combined into one entire thing." Due to that unity, the Universe Story is our story.
The immense duration that has elapsed since the universe coalesced has been called "deep time" or geological time by Stephen J. Gould. Stars in the night sky are actually remnant fires that we see as they have burned in the past, not as they are today. The time it takes for light to reach the earth from our nearest star is over three years. Some galaxies are so far away that the light leaving them has taken millions of years to reach the earth.
Authors who have seen the "deep time" component of everyday existence:
Charles Darwin: sexual selection would be sufficient to cause human divergence from primates.
Steven J. Gould has suggested time as humans perceive it as both
An origin story about the way it is with symbols
by Joseph Siry
We are sentient creatures with a hunger to explain things in stories. Humans symbolically represent the world to ourselves and to one another. In doing so we may compare our impressions with other observers' perceptions. By contrast and comparison each human creature conveys information about her surroundings to other people. Our skillfully articulate creation of language requires us to think with a rich symbolic imagery of the world we encounter. Expressing the depth of that encounter with the world and its various living things is one purpose of telling one another stories about nature. Yet we must be careful to use symbols that adequately reflect the precise conditions of nature to which we are subject as people, families and social groups.
On any journey one needs a guide and the great books are the guide of our steps down the entropy ridden tunnel of time that wraps so tightly around our mortal existence. The indisputably original thinkers whose minds apprehended an entirely new vision of reality have left to us an unbelievably rich legacy of thoughts, analyses, and methodical proofs that our living earth is a fundamental anomalous piece in an otherwise dark and distant universe of 100 billion galaxies. These are clusters of stars both larger and smaller than our sun, an oasis of radiant energy across the curvature of a vast space. The overwhelming expanse of our solar system dwarfed as it is by the milky-way galaxy is all but lost in this expanding menagerie of gas fusion engines called stars that explode providing us with the chemical of existence and the special atoms in the molecules of life. We are as the late Carl Sagan reminded us "star stuff" because we are made of the recycled debris of bursting stars!
Fortunate are we to find ourselves in the midst of a water cooled and gas heated sphere that harbors more life in a few meters of earth, air, and water in the gravitational immensity of this planet than anywhere else in the solar system. This is because the molten interior of nickel and iron surfacing as magma in volcanoes is far too hot and nutrient poor for life to proliferate. Where the lava or extruded magma meets the sea an explosion of heat affords an opportunity for life in the frigid waters of the abyss to thrive in the cold and the dark. The planet's boiling essence spews forth enriching the seas with a potential habitat within which life might thrive. The facts of deep ocean life are almost a testament to the biblical words-- "And his spirit moved across the face of the deep."
From the primal stress of cold dark water and hot congealing lava meeting beneath the frigid ocean's sightless depths bacteria eat their way through the nutrient rich sulfur vents from submarine volcanoes rising up from the ebony abyss of otherwise stillborn seas.
Life has grabbed a stubborn and uncommonly tenacious hold on the character and descendants of this planet' s myriad assembly of living creatures. From single cells, to flowering plants the variety of natural living things is reduced to five great domains or kingdoms of life depending on how they acquire a living, their complexity and their formal taxonomic distinctions. These five kingdoms, like the individual fingers of a working hand represent the life of this planet. Bacteria and plants make up the forefinger and thumb of this dexterous hand. Fungus is the middle finger, single celled plants or animals the ring finger, and multi cellular animals are the pinkie. Yes the irony of this hand of nature is that the smallest, most exposed finger represents the enormous range of different animals that seem to overwhelm our ideas about what makes up nature. Animals appeal to us because we are one of their kin. The animal world rests on a mightily complex and sublime stage or foundation of bacteria, fungi and plants; this symbol conveys a new frame that is an ecological perspective on the hand of life.
Animals are at the mercy of climatic and geographical conditions but they are even more subject to limitations imposed on them by the creatures upon whom they depend for food (prey), fuel (oxygen), fiber (cellulose), and fodder ( grain ). The world obviously does not appear to be a functioning hand but the five kingdoms of life is the truly "hidden hand" in the symbolic imagery that is needed to reform our vision of the world. This revolution in our story about nature requires us to redefine and articulate our duties to its survival while informing us of our debt to the vast experience of life on a remote planet orbiting a tiny star in the distant tangential arm of the vast Milky way galaxy. Welcome aboard!
This button below works as a navigational aid.
Last Updated on October 17, 2006 .
schedule | Research home | Atlas | site-map | Ecology | laws | reliable web sites | quick look
Terms | Glossary | Word webs | Basic vocabulary | Advanced Vocabulary | Antonyms | Synonyms | Etymology | Concepts
Writing | Interviews | Free Writing
Home | Site Map | Overview