Find Phoenix at http://amazon.com/author/phoenix_rises
Enjoy the essay.
I tried something.
I tried to write for a company. I was hoping to write science essays, as well as create content for marketing purposes, but this did not work out. I was met with a lot of resistance along the way, and the people at the company kept putting it aside, to the point to where it finally fell through the cracks. There just wasn’t enough interest in it.
I don’t know what kind of writer I am, but I can definitely be a writer who writes many things. I suppose that could include, writing science. Even though my writing is often very personal, and my essays themselves tend to be autobiographical in nature, I was still very excited at the prospect of writing science pieces, and learning a new skill in the world that I have trouble navigating: the workforce.
It really bothered me at first, that this wasn’t going to work out. I really wanted it to, I was looking forward to it, I thought that everything would work out the way that I planned. But that didn’t happen. Covid derailed the plan twice, along with the inherent resistance to the project by staff. While I am more or less accustomed to what happened now, it was hard for me at first, and my mood dipped significantly as I struggled with the reality of the situation.
Science is a very interesting field of study. It is hard to do science, whenever you don’t understand math, or when you’re not in the lab, or when you haven’t had formal training, though I read up on scioence in the best way that I can, I look up certain topics, and I explore them, in reading, in writing, and otherwise.
I read about cosmology, one of my favorite topics in science, in two books recently: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, and A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. In a world that defies us to explain it, that dares us to try to find the truth, everything that happened at my job, is very timely. It is unfortunate, but it is reality, and the truth is unfortunately hard to come by.
To be honest, cosmology doesn’t really make sense to me. I obviously don’t understand the math behind it, and I don’t understand how we came out of nothing, somehow. There had to be nothing at first, right? The Creation story is very important in Christian religion, and many people have made use of it to provide purpose and explanations for our existence. Likewise, people turn to the explanations of cosmology, to try to understand why we are here, and where we came from. I suppose with my interest in the truth, I want the explanations of science to help make sense of things, but I don’t see the truth of cosmology to be at odds with the deeply held religious beliefs people may have, and this is because I am not attached to either point of view. In other words, I’m skeptical enough that I don’t attach value or personal significance to what either narrative implies. I care about the truth, but I’m not attached to any explanation, for this reason. Indeed, I’m skeptical enough of the implications of what either cosmology or religion ultimately mean for human life. It is, rather, about the exploration of it. I’m curious.
But how is it, that we came into existence, then? I have heard that there may have been a universe before us that collapsed. This was the way that our universe came into existence. I don’t understand the explanations for this, but they are interesting nonetheless.
The point, though, is that nothing came into existence ex nihilo. It seems as though the universe as we know it was crammed into a very small pocket of existence at the beginning, for lack of a better word, and it seems as though the universe began to expand at an amazing speed, what I’ve heard called the singularity, or what we perceive as the Big Bang.
There are a lot of implications to this. How is it that the universe came into existence, whenever it seems as though there was nothing there to begin with? How did the universe start in such a small point, to become the giant, expanding universe that we know today? I find the discussion interesting, but I don’t get caught up on the stakes of such questions, strictly because I am detached and I find them worth exploring, no matter where the conclusions lead.
It is interesting to me that for some people, creation stories make more sense, because it explains the first cause, as we know from the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas and other theologians.
What I would say, regardless of these explanations, is that I won’t be able to contribute the way that I was hoping to at the company, but when we barely know what anything is in the first place, maybe none of that ultimately matters, at least the way that I at first thought that it did. To have all of the particles in existence jammed together in a tight spot before the universe was born, is really a baffling picture of the way that things are, and if that is where I once was, being made stardust myself, maybe the things that I want are important, but just a little bit less important, in that it matters to me, but maybe not so much to the universe, or all the other particles floating out there in the universe. Maybe what is more important, is focusing on the beauty and curiosity that I try to foster for myself, because I find it to be valuable.
Whatever the case, somehow I am here, living in a world of matter and the world that once exploded into existence with the singularity. Somehow I am here, billions of years later, and that seems like a tremendous opportunity, especially when I don’t really understand cosmology, and where I’m doing everything that I can to make sense of my life and the lives of the people around me. It really puts things into perspective to remember that the universe exists at all, with such strange initial conditions.
To me that is what it has always been about, though. I am a very curious person, and I just want to explore. That was why I was hoping to write essays on science, among other topics, because I thought it might be useful to the type of place in which I was working. I could help illuminate scientific topics, with an interesting narrative voice, and I could contribute to the understanding of science. But it seems to me that the meaning can still be found, even with the failure, because science is an interesting way of approaching the world, even if we don’t always understand it, and I can explore it. There is a way in which the idea that existence seems counterintuitive and paradoxical, makes me highly interested in the truth, in deriving explanations for how we came into existence and why we are here.
Ultimately, no one really knows why we are here, at least in terms of valence or value, which is why we find much comfort in religion or science, or sometimes both. And I am really caught in a spell by this notion of things coming into existence ex nihilo. What is it about our logic, that we always have to be able to explain things? What is it about our logic, that we have to be one hundred percent certain of the explanations of the world? Me, personally, I am okay with ambiguity, and realizing that I don’t have a lot of the answers that I would like to have. I don’t need to order my logic so much, that I understand perfectly the scientific explanations of our existence, though it’s important I understand the basics. It seems to me that there is a lot of potential with thinking about our lives, when realizing that even though there are scientific explanations for our existence, they aren’t immediately intuitive to most people, and that there is a little bit of the distance from the truth, not just because science itself requires a certain type of rigor, but also because we are divorced from the beginning of time, we can’t really observe it, except of course, by observing the Cosmic Background Radiation, by observing so far into the universe with our technology, that we are actually observing the beginning of time itself. What a fascinating concept. Our logic doesn’t require an explanation of ex nihilo processes, just an eager enthusiasm and interest in the universe itself, as the place we live in.
Indeed, as I’m saying, realizing that nothing can come from nothing, I am a little bit more laid back with trying to explain everything. Maybe I’m not really supposed to know the way that things are, the mysterious order of the universe, and of society. I don’t understand systems of power and capital, I don’t understand the confusing elements of physics and biology, or what allows a corporation or business to run, but I know enough to be able to get by, to be able to communicate my ideas, and the things that are important to me. I am indeed fascinated by cosmology, because it tells me that there is no telling what is actually possible. It seems as though there had to be an extra spark to existence, for us to really be here, and it does indeed make everything that I would ever imagine as being important, still just a little bit less significant. And definitely not in a bad way. Just in that I can have the deeper perspective. I’m here, somehow, against all the odds, and I want to make the best of it. I don’t think that I came, really, from out nothing. There’s substance to my existence.