What came before the Big Bang?

I am a deeply religious man. I know, it’s shocking. Especially in our day and age, when the very act of having faith is as dangerous and risky as denying the existence of God was up until 200 years ago.

Oh, let me qualify my statement. I believe in a God, the creator of this Universe. I believe that the Big Bang was an Act of God. And I believe that with all my shockingly limited mind. I know that I might be wrong. But the thing is atheists cannot really convince me of anything, just as I don’t have any arguments or proof to convince them of God’s existence. I guess we both lack sufficient evidence to prove our points of view. I also figure this makes me agnostic. I would be more than happy to change my mind, when and if science finds overwhelming evidence one way or the other.

Jan Hus (1370-1415). A Bohemian pastor who trusted in Christ for salvation, Hus was condemned to death by burning by the Council of Constance. He perished so that the Catholic Church monopoly on organized religion could endure for another century or so. An 1894 engraving after the 1887 painting by Karl Gustaf Hellquist.

But that’s neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is that we are all fallible. And that has been constantly true for the human condition from the very beginning of Our Adventure.

Which in and of itself reveals the hard truth about our species. That we are more often than not wrong, and proud of it too. This is due to many factors, first and foremost of which is not as is commonly assumed, that our lifespans are short and progress is slow. No, no, no. The prime factor for our being wrong most of the time, in historical terms of course, is that we have even shorter memory spans.

We are unable to remember what we had for supper a fortnight ago, so how can we be expected to remember deeper, meaningful stuff. But we pretend that we build on and improve upon the structure laid up by our predecessors, as if we really knew what we’re doing. In reality, the more we come to rely on technology, the less we retain the factual knowledge, all of it memory-based BTW, required to keep us alive and well.

Memory is the New Enemy

The irony of it all is that since we got machines performing the tasks that we had hitherto committed to memory but we no longer do, we have as a species started to shun memory as if using our large brains was somehow detrimental to our health. And this worrisome trend has become more poignant, evolving from a mere nuisance at its inception 100 years ago, to a human crisis today.

Since a century is a nano-second on the cosmological scale, and maybe a full second in terms of mammalian evolution, I’d venture to say things have gone south on us pretty darn fast. I mean it took us hundreds of thousands of years, just to be able to walk upright, build fires, construct tools, organize socially, setup political constructs, and engage in ritual warfare. But in just one hundred years, not only did we plateau intellectually, we actually started to walk the downward slope of mental regress as confidently and as stupidly as any dumb animal.

Instead of using memory as a weapon against forgetfulness, and instead of repeating the same aeon-old mistakes, which have cost us so dearly so many times before, what do we do? We commit everything to the pages of a billion books, yet never stop to read them. We invent wonderful machines, prolonging our lives, nay making our lives easier, only to succumb to the cancer of amnesia.

Are we to go out with a whimper just like so many other civilizations have already perished before us?! Why not change our blasted silly ways for once and do a 90 degree turn, in the face of fate! If only we learned from the past. What a solar existence our species would have!

Funny thing is that I fear that if our species doesn’t rethink its attitude towards progress, this future becomes inevitable. Talk about a gigantic waste of planetary proportions!

Science tells us that in roughly 600 million years from now, our Sun will expand and plant photosynthesis will start to degrade. Finally after another a couple hundred millions years, it will cease. Plant life will die. Chances are that by then, humans would have evolved, spread across the galaxy, or alas, disappeared.

As a student of history, I tend to get awfully frustrated with humanity and its flaws, in general. Any historian will also tell you that the past is a mere reflection of the future, that is unless the present decides to stop deluding itself by ignoring the past. If and when, I hope with all my heart and mind, we start paying attention to it, that’s when we’ll make History. Because so far, we are just reenacting It.

The Future is not set in stone, at least not for humans. We have millions of years before us to make the stuff of science-fiction movies real. 50 years ago, the cast of Star Trek were playing make-believe with communication gadgets … that are now in the hands of almost every person in the world.

Still from Raised by Wolves. Premise: in a distant future (after AD 2145), humanity is at war with itself. Atheists and their Necromancer androids are waging total war against their archenemies the Mithraic cultists who believe in Sol. The Earth is destroyed by their petty squabble, and both belligerents decide to send colonists outside the Solar system, to save the species from extinction. Yet, one Necromancer android destroys humanity’s Last Ark holding the rest of the human race, in order to protect one individual on distant planet. Again, what a waste!

My point is straightforward. We can all go and invent magical devices that can ‘illuminate’ our way outside the cave of our atavistic murderous instincts. We can do that. It is our choice to make. Nobody else can make this call. We could well be on our way to the stars, just by following the moral paths laid out on crazy silly Sci-Fi shows. Or we can fall prey to our backward and moronic “kill or be killed” self-defeating ways and invent Necromancers androids that can implode people using sound waves.

If we take the former path, we might escape this fate. If we stay the current self-destructive and self-loathing course, I know that we won’t make it this far.

I believe there is a clear linkage between the course of each individual life and the fate of the world. We are all born, we live our lives, and when our individual time comes, we lay down and die. That is our given. Our species was born in the depths of time, and is now in its very infancy. We have Our Entire Life before Us. How we chart Our Common Course, it’s all up to us. If we ever had a Choice, this is it. For at the end of Our Future lies our End.

Do we Die Now or Very Far into the Future? For Die We All Must.

That is the question.

Assuming the best case scenario of humanity taking residence among the stars, it is given that once the universe enters its final entropic stage, our days are numbered, as are those of all other species who have ever walked the four corners of the Cosmos.

In the end, everything dies. I find this weirdly comforting to know. So why live in fear of death. This powerful knowledge frees the soul. Today, I had this nagging feeling of my own future demise. I imagined how it must feel to wither, grow old, and die. Which in a sense is the best personal outcome. How many of us will actually die in their beds or in their sleep, of old age, with their family and friends around them?

Yet, man and death don’t play well together. No matter how much we try to go out in a dignified manner, we all expire and draw our terminal breath with the deepest apprehension. Let’s face it. We don’t enjoy dying. We are mortally afraid of death. Not even those of us who have been tortured by our brethren, devoured by a wild animal, or succumbed to wounds on the battlefield, or to a terminal malady in a hospital bed, not even them accept its releasing cathartic finality.

We all want to endure, to last one more second, minute, hour. We pray to our God(s) hoping that a supernatural Force will prolong the agony one more day, week, month, year.

But the Universe is hostile to life. Its laws – implacable. All life must die. Yet, I figured something new today. I figured that if I must die and if the universe will die as well, then I must not be sad. I must not be downcast. I am in fact relieved that I’m not the only one going down the drain.

Everything is going down the drain. Nothing changes, all is lost.

I wonder how many times the Universe ended already, in all of its previous iterations. And if that’s the case, how come life is as special or rare as we’re told by the people in white lab coats wearing glasses?

Most people don’t even acknowledge the scale of the Cosmos. Why would they? Feeling small and insecure already, why would they add to their insecurities? I care because I know that my existence, in fact our existence as a species and as individuals, is the most egalitarian thing that will ever exist. We are all born and we all die. Nothing endures. Not the Einsteins of the world, not its Jack the Rippers. All memory collapses, at a certain point. The Apollo footprints on the Moon will be gone in a million years. Earth’s stone monuments will have eroded to dust in three million years. Everything is destined to perish. No trace will ever remain of People unless we take this Show on the Cosmic Road.

If we want to escape the Curse of One Planet, we must leave Earth in the back mirror. We must spread across the stars. We must do it as soon as possible. And we must do it as a species, without any consideration to individual sacrifices. Otherwise, our common “goose is cooked” for good.

As an agnostic, I came to understand that evidence will not find us humans. We must go out and seek it. We must investigate all the corners of the micro-cosmos, including our genetic code, our planet, before we move on to bigger, complex things, such as the Universe. We know so little because we have stopped looking Up and Down. We have closed our eyes to science. We need to be actively pursuing hard truths and not be afraid of trying.

We must chase our destiny throughout the skies and be ready to stand on a new world boldly looking at the next one. That is our destiny. That is our calling. That is our fate.

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