Nov 14 2011

November 2011 Newsletter

Published by under Newsletters



November 2011




Favourite Sayings  
For our last meeting of the year we shared 2 or 3 of our favourite sayings, with a brief comment on where we read or heard them and why they are favourites. We could speak for up to 4 minutes, but felt free to pass. [If we brought our saying or quotation on paper, the Editor would aim [no promises] to collate them [anonymously]  and circulate them in February.]


“Journey of the Universe” At the SoF conference last month I [the Editor] bought a very recent book, “Journey of the Universe”, by Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker.   I can’t get past using the word “beautiful” for it. It begins with “Beginning of the Universe” and ends with ”Emerging Earth Community”, and while the science in it is thoroughly sound and up to date [so far as I can judge]  it is also a moving and enlightening  meditation on what has happened in the last 15 billion years, and our place in it.So I’ve filled the rest of this month’s Newsletter with some quotes from the book that appealed to me.
“The star then exists in between extremes. On one side there is gravitational collapse;  on the other is thermonuclear fusion and outward pressure.  Thus the star exists not in a world of stasis but in a realm of seething disequilibrium.  Because the star holds itself in this far-from-equilibrium realm, it is capable of creating helium nuclei out of elementary particles.
This is one of the most amazing discoveries in the history of science.  Stars are fiery cauldrons of transformation.  Stars are wombs of immense creativity. And one can wonder if these complex interactions that we see in the stars reflect deep patterns of creativity in other domains of the universe.”
[ p. 31 ]


“When we observe a lizard and the amazing way it blends into its habitat we can find ourselves admiring the struggle for survival. So much so that when a hawk comes screaming our of the sky and kills the lizard we might wish the hawk would find other food.   But we can as easily take the perspective of the hawk.   If we become fascinated with the beauty of the hawk’s form and the penetrating intelligence of its eyes, we can find ourselves hoping that the hawk captures its lizards and whatever else it takes to keep its magnificence alive.”
  [ pp. 67-8 ]


“An even simpler way of understanding the creative self-organizing dynamism of matter is to take the perspective of universe and earth evolution.  The deep truth about matter, which neither Descartes nor Newton realized, is that, over the course of four billion years, molten rocks transformed themselves into monarch butterflies, blue herons, and the exalted music of Mozart.  Ignorant of this stupendous process, we fell into the fantasy that our role here was to re-engineer inert matter.”
[p. 106 ]


“The traditional, organic sense of time, with its ties to the cycles of nature, was abandoned at the beginning of the modern era. In its place modern humans invented mechanical time.   When they enshrined the clock in the city’s towers, they disconnected themselves even further from the rhythms of life.  Each town learned to organize itself around the position of the clock’s hands. There was no longer any need to glance at the Sun.  The machine and its mechanical marking of time slowly became, in effect, the central organizing principle of human life.”
[ p. 107 ]


“Our puzzlement regarding our destiny is especially poignant since everything else in the universe seems to have a role.  The primeval fireball had the work of bringing forth stable matter.  The stars had the work of creating the elements. The same is true on Earth. Each species has its unique role to play for the larger community.  The phytoplankton in the oceans fill the air with oxygen and thus enable every animal to breathe.  That is their great work, to fill each living with nourishing breath. But do we humans have such a role?  With respect to the universe itself – is there a reason for our existence?  Is there a great work required of us?”
[ p. 112 ]


“Wonder is a gateway through which the universe floods in and takes up residence within us.  Consider the stars.  They shine down on Earth for four and a half billion years. Then these new creatures emerged, these humans.   What was different about them is that they were amazed every time they beheld the stars. Their amazement inspired works of art and science. Hundreds of thousands of years later, humans discovered that it was these stars that forged the elements of their bodies. By dwelling in a world of wonder, humans were led to realize that they were children of the stars  –  something intuited in early myths and uncovered by modern science.  They came to understand that everything in the universe then forms a huge interconnected family that we can call  “all my relations”. Wonder is not just another emotion;  it is rather a opening into the heart of the universe.   Wonder is the pathway into what it means to be human, to taste the lusciousness of sun-ripened fruit, to endure the bleak agonies of heartbreak, to exalt over the majesty of existence”.
[ pp. 113 – 4 ]


“Our human destiny is to become the heart of the universe that embraces the whole of the Earth community. We are just a speck in the universe, but we are beings with the capacity to feel comprehensive compassion in the midst of an ocean of intimacy.  That is the direction of our becoming more fully human.”
[ p. 115 ]


Chair: Marjorie Spittle – Phone 481 1418 – Email: Marjorie
Newsletter Editor: Donald Feist – Phone 476-3268 – Email: Don
or: 16 Pioneer Crescent, Helensburgh, Dunedin 9010

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