“Every human being, and every human mind, has roots that extend indefinitely far back through time…the consciousness of the individual is inextricably tied to the consciousness of the whole…Everything in nature is actually connected or implicated with everything else….(and) Whether we like it or not, consciousness has a persistent habit of intruding into all our discussions about the nature of mathematics, physics, and reality as a whole. We cannot just step outside of ourselves to discover what things would be like–assuming they still existed at all–if we were not here.”
“We have been compelled by modern physics to regard things in a very different light. As we shall see, we have been forced to concede that not only may consciousness have a purpose, but that it may actually be indispensable to the universe in which we live.”
–excerpts from his book, “Equations of Eternity,” by David Darling
As human beings, it is our nature to explore and to question and to seek the answers to the nature of the universe. It is an inclination as natural as any we can name. Carl Sagan, in his celebrated series “Cosmos,” said that he believed, “our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this cosmos in which we float, like a mote of dust floating in the morning sky.” Part of understanding the cosmos is investigating and trying to understand how our genes affect our biological nature, and if we can find ways to decipher and replicate the beneficial aspects of genes, without compounding or magnifying the negative aspects, we will, perhaps, contribute to that understanding.
Whether or not we ultimately find a way to connect the dots genetically to the mechanisms of disease, or replicate the chemical composition of DNA to construct synthetic microbes, or arrive at a comprehensive theory to describe the subjective experience of sentient life, the urgency for all of these endeavors to include as central to our understanding of them, something more profound than science has never been greater.
We recently celebrated the arrival of the newest member of our extended family tree, and it occurred to me that our search for scientific knowledge, particularly as it concerns the very nature of life itself, while of obvious value in gaining “insights” into our biological nature, could use a little of the kind of wisdom we can only obtain as we contemplate the results of the genetic mingling of chromosomes, DNA, and genetic markers.
Holding my granddaughter in my arms, recognizing that this tiny, squirming, and beautiful human being carries within her cells the genetic components of her parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and ancestors for generations, inspires me to feel a connection to her biologically to be sure, but far more immediate is the connection I feel spiritually, as someone who loves her and each of her extended family members. Without that connection, the science of genetics remains unaffected, but the significance of the consequences of that spiritual deficit could be profound. If we did NOT know about the genomic relationships at all, our spiritual connection would also remain unaffected, and there’s no way to know if simply acquiring this knowledge of genetic links would affect the relationship significantly at all.
All around us are challenges that point directly to the need to expand our collective mindset toward the planet Earth, in order to preserve it for future generations. Global Climate Change, a documented and increasingly worrisome source of severe weather as a result of increased carbon emissions in the atmosphere, will affect everyone on the planet, and we must begin to see that we are all in this together. Scientific investigations of the wider cosmos, from the possibility of discovering other sentient life beyond our solar system, all the way down to the elementary particles that govern our very existence, have profound implications for the future of our world, and as living, thinking, feeling, and creative creatures, we need to see ourselves as being an integral part of the equations that govern the physical world, as well as being capable of altering the outcome of our interactions on every level.
Looking into the eyes of your newborn grandchild is an experience I can recommend without hesitation, to anyone who seeks a greater understanding of the cosmos, even when a specific biological connection is not an element in the equation. I have been privileged to gaze into the eyes of each and every one of my grandchildren very soon after their arrival on earth. Each of them is precious in my eyes, and the spiritual connection of which I speak exists in exactly the same way and to the same degree as the one most recently established.
We may not ever achieve anything particularly notable in the eyes of the world no matter how long we live, but I can assure you, that seeing ourselves as “part or parcel” of all of creation, an inevitable consequence of a self-creating universe, and spiritually connected to all life, would go a long way toward enhancing our greater understanding of any part of the cosmos in which we float.
4 thoughts on “Genes and What Really Matters”
Very moving indeed. You hit upon the very nub of what matters or should matter to us as a species. I wholly understand your object and purpose in writing as you do about the subjects you hold dear. I feel exactly the same way about my own object in writing. Your article arrived at an opportune time for me. I was feeling rather glum on a Sunday evening about the prospect of writing another book on finance. It does not really interest me any longer. The subjects we both enjoy writing about are so much more satisfying and important.
I’m so glad to know that you are finding the subject you actually WANT to write about as “more satisfying and important,” and in this instance, we both have similar intentions with regard to matters surrounding our interests. It has been said, in conventional wisdom, that if you want to write, it’s best to write what you know. I have always been of the opinion that whatever INTERESTS you is a better gauge of what will engage you well enough to sustain the efforts necessary to write at length, and if a subject is compelling enough to engage your whole being in one way or another, you can simply dedicate your efforts to becoming familiar enough on THAT subject to the point where you can write about it with some purpose.
I have spent almost nine years here on WordPress.com trying to contribute at least some measure of benefit to those interested in my subject, and consider your contributions on your blog to be equally as compelling for you. I admire your dedication and erudition in addressing your chosen subjects, and envy your opportunities to share in the musical and spiritual participation in the classical works that have inspired generations of seekers throughout history. We are kindred spirits in some important ways, and I appreciate your attention and willingness to share your thoughts and responses to my efforts here.
I look forward to sharing in your more satisfying and important results, on the subjects we both enjoy writing about so much…John H.
John, I have always enjoyed your willingness to explore our understanding of consciousness and how it impacts both our personal lives and the culture at large.
Congratulations on the latest addition to your family. Young children both inspire us and renew our faith that life is mysterious and beautiful, and that there’s nothing greater than keeping fresh our love and appreciation for the cosmos we share.
Thank you for your visit and your thoughtful comment. With all the varieties of viewpoints that we encounter these days, particularly in the areas of cosmology and philosophy, it seems to me that a number of the more materialist-oriented of them often lack this very important personal and cultural aspect. Additionally, I often come across individuals in my travels who have either never had any sort of truly compelling personal experience that might prompt them to investigate further, or who may have had some variety of this kind of experience and didn’t feel compelled to explore them. They simply have no framework or foundation for doing so, and dismiss the mysterious and the beautiful as something ultimately to be explained by science.`
In my early life, I had numerous compelling experiences which I accepted as simply being the normal course of daily life, and until I left home to begin my life as an independent person, I was never encouraged to question anything. That all ended when I encountered Jung’s writings and began to formulate my own foundation for coming to understand the importance of opening to the potentials represented in the explorations of the cosmos and the world within. Your own blog recently has been filled with your explorations, and requires your readers to look deeper and read further.
I appreciate your continued interest in visiting with me here and look forward to doing so going forward…Regards….John H.