Space, the Final Frontier……

5 Jul

IMG_1527‘We deceive ourselves on a daily basis. It’s an innate response to the overload of sensory input and a defence of our own fallibility. Not all creatures’ brains possess this subconscious defence mechanism, they simply don’t need it. Although we like to anthropomorphise the behaviour of other animals, particularly Primates, the truth is we do not know what an ape is thinking, how far it’s thinking ahead or whether it has an understanding of all possible future outcomes……’

Long running unresolved philosophical arguments regarding the ‘reason’ for the existence of the observable universe and our place in it will continue. ‘Long running’ is of course a relative term. As far as we are aware Humans, as we recognise them, have been around for approximately 90,000-100,000 years. When we began to ask more probing questions about our purpose is not known but I imagine early Humans had more to worry about than philosophy whilst adapting to a changing climate, seeking shelter and finding food.

The truth is we do not know if animals, even the ones closely related to us, have any concept of death. While researching this post I came across the case of Gana, an 11 year old Gorilla living at Munster Zoo, Germany. Gana lost her baby but continued to caress it for some time. Scientist were unsure as to whether Gana had a true grasp of what had happened but again the tendency to anthropomorphise primate behaviour cannot have been absent, especially when the animal appears so close to us. Gana appeared more puzzled than distressed……

IMG_1529The reality is that all creatures have only one purpose; to proliferate their DNA. We may consider ourselves important to the process of evolution but even that, when dealt with rationally is an anathema. You may successfully pass on your DNA but bearing in mind that 99.9% of all creatures that ever existed are now extinct; so will your genus given time. Even if you credit the Human Race with the intelligence to beat its own extinction, external factors such as asteroid strikes are beyond our control.

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Human creativity has used religion and spirits to insulate themselves from reality of their inevitable demise. I choose to believe the Standard Model of Cosmology but it changes nothing. Whether you believe in gods, spirits, the big bang or the Buddhist belief in ‘recycling’, ultimately it makes no difference. If you’ve past on your DNA, as far as the Earth is concerned its mission accomplished. Now you can die. Nothing would please me more than an answer to what happened in the first three billionths of a second after the Big Bang but it changes nothing. The Human Race will become extinct, or hold out for another 4.5 billion years at which point our Sun will run out of fuel and we’ll be swallowed up in the fiery mass of a Red Giant just before it explodes, destroying the entire solar system and everything in it……

Either way, you don’t need Douglas Adams’ ‘Total Perspective Vortex’ to realise your place in the universe; or more importantly, your purpose, or lack of it……

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