“You are the Universe.” Spiritual Sentiment? Or Scientific Certainty…

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”  ~Carl Sagan

It’s interesting to notice how some people are immediately considered less credible by others when they utter a phrase such as “You are the universe.”  And why is that?  Could it be other factors that lead to that kind of judgement unnecessarily?  Perhaps that person’s choice of clothing or style?… A crystal amulet hanging from hemp cord around their neck and beads in their hair.  Perhaps the tone of their voice as they speak?… Too “new-agey” sounding.

But why should these factors detract from what they are expressing?  Simply because someone experiences spiritual sensations when they utter, “You are the universe,” doesn’t automatically mean that what they are saying is merely spiritual sentiment.

In fact, it is quite the opposite of mere spiritual sentiment.  It is scientific certainty, a Truth.  Capital “T”.  Scientifically speaking, nothing in the universe is separate from anything else- it is all one.  There is no pocket of “not part of the universe” within the universe.  Even in what we would call the void of space, there exists the cosmic microwave background radiation which permeates the entirety of the universe as a remnant of the Big Bang.  This is why physicists are aiming to piece together the mathematical principles that can describe such a thing as the universe as a unified whole.  We have an understanding of the mechanics of the expanses of the planets, stars, and galaxies through Albert Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, which has been tested and observed through a number of experiments.  And we have an understanding of the extremely small subatomic world through studies in Quantum Mechanics.  And since these models appear to be incongruent with one another, though they both succeed at describing their aforementioned realms, physicists have been seeking what they would deem a Theory of Everything, or a set of overarching mathematical principles which encompass both General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. This has led to the rise of Quantum Field Theory (and its more focused offshoots of String Theory and M Theory) which has been tested time and again with no evidence arising which refutes it thus far.

Then why is it so hard for some people to digest the meaning of that beautiful Truth?  Perhaps it is because they have forgotten that the atoms which comprise their bodies  began as loose subatomic particles which took nearly 400,000 years after the Big Bang to find one another and begin forming the first atoms of hydrogen and helium.  Perhaps they have forgotten that those atoms then came together over the course of 100-200 million years, and under their own weight, ignited to form the first stars.  Perhaps the have forgotten that the heavier elements which comprise their bodies, such as carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen, were forged during the fusion period as those stars burned.  And perhaps the have forgotten that the heaviest elements that their bodies use to function properly, like zinc, copper, cobalt, and iodine, formed as those stars ran out of fuel to conduct fusion and exploded in one final burst as supernovae, creating enough force to produce a few final bursts of intense fusion.

And now here we are.  Humans… communicating in this odd way through symbols on a screen, hearing the words in our minds as we read them, our brains busy at work to decipher what information is being expressed and then forming other thoughts and opinions about that information.  And through understanding these concepts, Dr. Sagan has said that “we are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”  Wouldn’t you agree?

So when those of us who say “You are the universe,” or “I am the universe,” speak to you from that space with that dreamy, new-age tone in our voices, perhaps take a moment to consider what it is we are expressing.  The magnitude of what the statement implies is rich, and deep… and when we stop for a moment to get present to it, how can any one  of us experience anything short of pure awe?  And while pure awe is present in what people would define as a spiritual experience, it would be reductionist thinking to claim that the statement in question can be summed up as mere spiritual sentiment.  It is a dance which requires both partners…

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” ~Carl Sagan

Let us not forget that.

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