"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The oldest light in the universe

With the disclaimer that I'm writing about a topic I can barely comprehend beyond the brief report on NPR yesterday (and parts of that lost me too), something about the recent Nobel Prize announcement was deeply stirring. A scientist was quoted as saying that the discoveries about cosmic background radiation which apparently confirm the reality of the Big Bang theory were akin to seeing God as a religious person. I think he said quite a lot in that statement--for the religious (and inquisitive) person, this discovery seems to represent quite a breakthrough in the reverse engineering of the universe.

Also this notion that we go about our lives awash in energy left over from the early millenia of the universe (about 380,000 years after the "bang") is beautiful, even if it shows up as static on TV. I will have to think about that for awhile. I know that some people are far more aware of things happening on an energetic level than I am, but golly, we're oblivious. Probably for our own protection most of the time. People who are even slightly more sensitive than average often have a tough time managing the noise and smell of this planet.

Finally I think I was moved by the Nobel Prize report for the reason that I had, without knowing it, just about given up on the idea that humans were pursuing anything worthwhile. Cosmology seems such a pure and godly field. It seems unlikely to produce anything that will be used to oppress people in developing countries or to bloat American consumerism into a bigger and bigger monster. For once, a bit of news that wasn't even a tiny bit depressing or fear-mongering.

Maybe the human (primarily male) fascination with blowing stuff up is rooted in a misplaced urge to create. It's easy to visualize the Big Bang as a Big Explosion but from what little I'm beginning to understand, maybe this is not an accurate way to describe the events that took place on the morning of 13.7 billion years ago. When something explodes usually that's the end of it, but this was the beginning. Perhaps the Big Birth is more apt. Not all that rapidly expands is an explosion.

Don't really know what I'm looking at, but it was either this image of the cosmic background radiation, or a picture of TV static.

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