Why Are We Here?

Carol A. Hand

There are questions that I still cannot answer after almost seven decades on the earth. Still, I feel it’s precisely those questions that are the most important to continue exploring. Recently, I’ve been thinking about something Neil deGrasse Tyson shared on one of the episodes of Cosmos: A Space Odyssey. His deep, poetic words are important reminders to remain open to the inexplicable mystery and wonder of life, to be honest enough to admit what we don’t know, and to question everything we’ve learned, especially if it comes from sources that claim to know the one truth.

We were born into a mystery,
One that has haunted us
Since at least as long as we’ve been human.
We awakened on this tiny world
Beneath a blanket of stars,
Like an abandoned baby left on a doorstep
Without a note to explain where we came from,
Who we are, how our universe came to be.
And with no idea how to end our cosmic isolation.
We’ve had to figure it all out for ourselves….

We hunger for significance,
For signs that our personal existence
Is of special meaning to the universe.
To that end, we’re all too eager to deceive ourselves and others…

(Neil deGrasse Tyson (2014), Episode 3 – When Knowledge Conquered Fear)

night sky

Photo: Night Sky

Sending you all wishes for a wonder-filled day.

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17 thoughts on “Why Are We Here?”

  1. Carol:
    Cosmos in Neil’s voice was more than remarkable. Everything about it from the opening scene of our companion creature, wolves, to narrating Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot. But most of all to live an aware existence in a limitless and inexplicable mystery is astonishing.
    Thanks for the reminder.
    Steve
    Steve

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such lovely comments, Steve. Cosmos, both with Neil and Carl, was an extraordinary series. The richness of the science, history, poetry and beauty of the images of earth and the cosmos are all so inspiring and enlightening. And yes, Neil’s voice (and Carl’s).

      I agree with you, though. It is the wonder and mystery so clearly conveyed that is most important and memorable.

      Like

  2. Why are we here?

    Oh Carol, you’ve opened up a can of worms here.

    Well, for all indications, I’d say we were a slave species whose purpose is to serve the elite. The question then becomes, who are the elite? But, that answer is beyond the scope of this comment. (I think you might know where I’m coming from, though.)

    I don’t wish to be the pessimist, but I am I know, but it could be we’re here totally by accident, with no specific purpose. No higher spiritual calling. No glorious job to perform. It could be, yes? We certainly don’t contribute to the sustainability of the planet, in fact quite the opposite I’d say. I think the planet, as a living organism, would fair far better without us. Although that statement certainly cuts across the grain of most folks’ way thinking who consider humanity special and the most important life form in the universe, and of having a purpose; though they can’t say, with any degree of evidence, for what that purpose might be.

    Again I ask, what use has the earth for humanity?

    Perhaps it is but our proving ground? Then who’s proving themselves, the compassionate, or the violent? It would seem the violent, by far.

    I’ve sidestepped your post here, Carol, I’m sorry. I do share you questions as to how and why we are here. And I can only conclude with, ‘damn if I know’. And being that we don’t know, than as far as we know the answer could be anything as well as nothing. This is not necessarily how I feel. I do believe, or rather I want to believe, we have a higher spiritual purpose. But then that could be a mind trick, or elite mental conditioning designed to keep us submission in the here and now. Sort of like the promise of heaven. Turn the other cheek. The meek shall inherit the earth, that sort of nonsense.

    Lovely poem, thanks for posting.

    Peace

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah Peter, I love the honesty of your comments. I want to return and comment in a more thoughtful way when I have time. (I need to run to meet with a former student who’s dealing with academic gatekeepers.)

      But I chose to include deGrasse Tyson’s insights, similar to what you have voiced with such clarity and passion, because I agree with you both:
      “We hunger for significance,
      For signs that our personal existence
      Is of special meaning to the universe.
      To that end, we’re all too eager to deceive ourselves and others …”

      I don’t know why we’re here, either, but I do think it’s important to explore this most important question and honestly admit that, although it may be impossible to answer definitively for ourselves, we need to think critically about the answers others are too eager to supply.

      Chi miigwetch, Peter, and Peace 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wrote a post a week or so ago, which was based on an article by Jon Rappoport. And in this post, I vented some of my frustrations with religion of all varieties, including the new age/consciousness religion which has become so prevalent in the last century and a half.

    And yet, I cannot deny that this quote speaks to me, as I’m sure it does to most of us.

    But as with others, this is what has made me want to withdraw from the entire subject of why we are here, where we came from and what is next after this life, if anything:

    “To that end, we’re all too eager to deceive ourselves and others…”

    I cannot, in all honesty, say that these questions no longer linger with me, but I have, for my own sanity, made the decision to seek and find the answers to these questions on my own, in order to see if the answers lie within me and everyone else., as opposed to some hierophant and his/her text and doctrines, whether esoteric or ‘scientific’.

    Having said that, there is nothing in me that believes we, and everything else that exists, are here merely by chance and mutation. I tried to believe this for many years and was unsuccessful, no matter how much I read, studied and tried to believe. And the same is true of religion, which I also gave the chance to answer these questions for me.

    I have a sense that there is something greater than our selves and this material realm, but I have no idea who or what it is. And if it does exist, then I feel I must look for it in me, since all else has failed.

    Another excellent, thought provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing such honest, compelling thoughts about this question, Sojourner. I too have tired to find the answer in many places without much luck. Still, even if we can’t answer this question, I don’t think there’s any harm in trying to live in peace with other and in balance with the earth we share any way. Permaculture ethics would be a good start – “earth care, people care, and fair share.” I’m sure you would agree 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely, I agree! There is nothing divisive about this!

        Perhaps, if humanity could become united, maybe these questions about life would start to be answered?

        Liked by 1 person

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