2009-07-26

Time Present, Time Past, and Time Yet to Come

People say there are three times: the past, the present, and the future. We live in the present and we have mementos all around us of the past. People often think, 'the past is gone and nonexist now, and the future is not yet created'. But this is not true. The past is not destroyed, just because we cannot access it. The future is not nonexistent because we do not know it yet. Both are as real as the present.
 
Memories, artifacts, photos, journals – all these things are reminders of the physical reality of the past. The past does not survive as only traces, but the traces remind us of the continuing, 'eternal', transtemporal reality of the past, which is not changing or disappearing.
But what is the reminder to us of the physical reality of the future? Because it, too, is physically real 'now', 'sub specie aeternitatis', from a transtemporal perspective.
What reminds us of the physical reality of the future are things like hope, which will build the future. Also, the enduring nature and fundamental characteristics and processes of the universe, which are what the future will be built out of.

We are reminded of the physical reality of the future, then, by the dream of divinity within us and the enduring nature of reality around us. When the two converge, the divine will be realized in this world.

2009-07-18

Heaven is not a Place; It's a Time

Someone once tried to console me after the death of someone I loved, "There is a better place." And I told him, "Yes, it's called the future, and we must get there any way we can."
Many people think there is a heaven somewhere out there. They look up - maybe up there? Heaven is an old word for sky. And yet we know much more about what is in that sky than our ancient ancestors.
Our ancestors had their dreams of a better life, though, and so do we. The potential for heaven is inside us, the potential for making earth into 'heaven', or paradise. By cultivating this hope, in thought and action, we can bring this paradise a little nearer every day. People all over the world are trying to bring this paradise a little nearer every day. And their efforts are greater than those who are trying to stop it, or those who are trying to go the other way. Our efforts to build a better world will also win out over those who do nothing one way or the other.
Scientists and engineers and philosophers are making essential contributions to building a better world for tomorrow, but so are people who do a good job at what they do, people who live out those philosophies in kindness to their families and friends. Everyone who can help sustain the world as it is can also enable the world to move forward, to be stable enough to evolve. We should realize how the smallest positive acts by any one of us can reverberate throughout our world and into the future.
So we know that the hope for heaven is in the future, in time, not in space. It is coming into being through us. It will be on Earth, but it will also be in 'heaven', that is, the sky - in our life in space and other worlds off of Earth. Paradise will also be very real, not daydreams - the palpably real world and experienced happiness of a life that will exist in the future for all people.
So yes, if we are building a better world, there will be a better place, in a better time, because of us and what we do today.
 
 

2009-07-12

In The Image of Man

Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach famously suggested that God was made in the image of man. More specifically, he recognized that the infinity projected on the idea of God by human beings is the infinite capacy of human nature itself.
So it would be better to say that God is not made in the image of man, but rather, in the image of what human beings should aspire to become. Because, in the past, human beings could not imagine how they could become God, they projected the divine onto the forces of nature, spirits of the dead, and finally the pantheons and monotheisms of the religions of the world. Yet even those gods called upon humanity to imitate them in justice, benevolence, and righteousness. "Be perfect, as your father in the sky is perfect."
But in the religious imagination is the vision of what human beings can become. Because of the sciences, and technologies, and evolving philosophies of life and ethics, we can understand now, for the first time, that there can be a path from the present to the future, from present human frailty, to future transfigured humanity. We can grasp that there will be an ascension, directed by human beings, an evolution forward in wisdom, compassion, understanding, life, and yes, also power. God is not what was, or is, but what will be. The divine is humanity's purpose to become.