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Why am I here?

A collection of responses from:

 

Stevie Wonder – songwriter

Max Ehrmann – poet

Crosby Stills Nash & Young - songwriters

Carl Sagan - astronomer

Quentin Smith – philosopher

Pari Anton

 

 

 

from “As” – by Stevie Wonder,

(album: Songs in the Key of Life)

 

...We all know sometimes life’s hates and troubles

Can make you wish you were born in another time and space

But you can bet you life times that and twice its double

That God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed

so make sure when you say you're in it but not of it

You're not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called Hell

Change your words into truths and then change that truth into love

And maybe our children's grandchildren

And their great-great grandchildren will tell

I'll be loving you

Until the day that is the day that are no more

Did you know that you're loved by somebody?

Until the day the earth starts turning right to left---ALWAYS

Until the earth just for the sun denies itself

I'll be loving you forever

Until dear Mother Nature says her work is through---ALWAYS

Until the day that you are me and I am you

Until we dream of life and life becomes a dream

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from "Desiderata"

written by Max Ehrmann

 

...You are a child of the universe

no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

 

Therefore be at peace with God,

whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations,

in the noisy confusion of life,

keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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from "Woodstock"

by Crosby Stills Nash & Young

album: Deja Vu (1970)

 

...Well then can I walk beside you

I have come to lose the smog

And I feel as I'm a cog in something turning

And maybe it's the time of year

Yes and maybe it's the time of man

And I don't know who I am

But life is for learning

 

We are stardust, we are golden

We are billion year old carbon

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden

 

By the time we got to Woodstock

We were half a million strong

And everywhere was a song and celebration

And I dreamed I saw the bombers death planes

Riding shotgun in the sky

Turning into butterflies

Above our nation.

 

We are stardust, we are golden

We are caught in the devil's bargain

And we got to get ourselves back to the garden

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Pale Blue Dot

By Carl Sagan

On February 14, 1990, NASA commanded the Voyager 1 spacecraft, having completed its primary mission, to turn around to photograph the planets of the Solar System. One image Voyager returned was of Earth, showing up as a "pale blue dot" in the grainy photo.

In a commencement address delivered May 11, 1996, Sagan related his thoughts on the deeper meaning of the photograph:

“           We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you know, everyone you love, everyone you've ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines. Every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish this pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

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Atheism, Theism and Big Bang Cosmology (1991)

Quentin Smith

The following article was originally published in AUSTRALASIAN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY in March 1991 (Volume 69, No. 1, pp. 48-66).

Conclusion

If the arguments in this paper are sound, then God does not exist if big bang cosmology, or some relevantly similar theory, is true. If this cosmology is true, our universe exists without cause and without explanation. There are numerous possible universes, and there is possibly no universe at all, and there is no reason why this one is actual rather than some other one or none at all. Now the theistically inclined person might think this grounds for despair, in that the alleged human need for a reason for existence, and other alleged needs, are unsatisfied. But I suggest that humans do or can possess a deeper level of experience than such anthropocentric despairs. We can forget about ourselves for a moment and open ourselves up to the startling impingement of reality itself. We can let ourselves become profoundly astonished by the fact that this universe exists at all. It is arguably a truth of the 'metaphysics of feeling' that this fact is indeed 'stupefying' and is most fully appreciated in such experiences as the one evoked in the following passage:

    [This world] exists nonnecessarily, improbably, and causelessly. It exists for absolutely no reason at all. It is inexplicably and stunningly actual . . . The impact of this captivated realisation upon me is overwhelming. I am completely stunned. I take a few dazed steps in the dark meadow, and fall among the flowers. I lie stupefied, whirling without comprehension in this world through numberless worlds other than this one.

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Pari Anton:

Spirituality is when your inner subjective reality matches up to external objective reality: your mind and your feet are in the same place at the same time.

Look up the definition of the word ‘admit’ –

2 a: to allow entry (as to a place, fellowship, or privilege)

on a ticket stub it’s printed ‘admit one’, it allows you to enter into the show.

So to admit the truth means to allow Truth to enter into your life and change you.

When Timothy Leary’s ashes were sent into space, finally for once his mind and feet were in the same place at the same time!

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