Magazine article Tikkun

Why Are We Here?

Magazine article Tikkun

Why Are We Here?

Article excerpt

This is a question pondered by mankind throughout history. But it would seem as if it is a question that many progressives would argue cannot be explored in American schools or in the public arena by a speaker with a spiritual perspective. The current and continuing effort to deny access to the teaching of Intelligent Design has the eerie ring of the know-nothing Scopes Trial, just in reverse.

Today, we can teach evolution-"how" we got here. But we don't seem to be able to teach "why" we are here.

Steven Hawking, in his best-seller A Brief History of Time, explores the fascinating question of how the universe works, yet observes that it is only after understanding "how" the universe works that we can explore "why" the universe works the way it does-what he calls "the mind of God. "

Why is it that mathematics is the language in which the workings of the universe can be explained? And why do human beings have the ability to create that language and understand it? Why do the "mind of man" and the "mind of God" connect through a common vocabulary?

The same can be said about other universal languages: art and music. Steven Spielberg, in his famous movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, posits that beings from another universe would converse with us in color and music tones. What is the source of this shared resonance?

What is the nature of this mysterious connection between human consciousness and the persistent and singular human longing to connect to something bigger than ourselves?

Is it possible to be truly human and not wonder about our place and our role in the universe? Is it possible to think that the universe is totally random and not ordered in some fashion? And, if ordered, does the universe perhaps have a velocity and a trajectory? And, if there is an arrow to time, might there not be a beginning and an end and something in between?

Why was there a beginning to human history, and, if there was, can we refer to that as the "creation"? Might human history end, and if so, can we refer to that as the "end of time"? Is it possible that we can affect the timing of the end to the human story, and, if so, how? Are we alone in the universe in our self-consciousness and in our feeling that we can make decisions of consequence? …

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