Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Comet and Glory


Last night I was watching a show about comets on the History Channel. "Comets: Prophets of Doom," or something like that. In with the usual History Channel sensationalism about whether or not a massive, life-extinguishing comet is headed for Earth right this very second, they had interviews with actual scientists and NASA officials.

One of these mentioned something about how the first water on Earth was very likely brought here by crashing comets. The young Earth had been absolutely bombarded with comets for awhile, which kept it hot and molten. But almost as soon as it stopped and the magma cooled to rock, the water vapor the comets had carried condensed into liquid.

There’s even debate on whether this water vapor from the far reaches of the solar system had also carried the first amino acids—the protein chains which are absolutely necessary for life to arise. Possibly even living organisms themselves hitched rides on these comets—microscopic bacteria, dormant in the cold of space and the heat of Earth’s infancy, coming at last into the shelter of liquid water and blooming over so many billion years into the myriad strange forms of life we know today.

(Evolution, in my view, is not a tree with humans as the highest point, as I recall seeing in a middle school science book, but something more like a blackberry bramble, a great tangled vine twining and growing in all directions.)

It put me in mind of a tangent my mind had followed one late night some time ago. Suppose the Deity, the God who is behind the gods, was wondering about its own identity, sometime some 16 billion years ago as we measure time. And suppose that as we do, the Deity decided that the best way to discern itself was to analyze itself, to break itself down. So in that instant of self-analysis, the Deity split apart. Something came where there was nothing. Could that have been the cause of the Big Bang? This would mean that everything which exists would be Deity made manifest, Deity trying to understand itself.

I know it’s rampant speculation and I will never be able to prove it, even if I live along with the Universe another 16 billion years. But imagine my surprise, some years after I first had this strange idea, to hear this description of an alien religious philosophy on the sci-fi show “Babylon 5”: The molecules of your body are the same molecules that make up this station and the nebula outside, that burn inside the stars themselves. We are starstuff, we are the universe made manifest, trying to figure itself out. As we have both learned, sometimes the universe requires a change of perspective."

Our sun is a second-generation star. Every bit of matter which created Sol and Earth and the rest of this system was once part of some other star system, some distant star which exploded in glory and threw its matter out into the furthest reaches of space, where it swirled and reformed and coalesced into everything which we know. Comets leave glistening trails of star matter in their wake as they ponderously orbit the sun on their long elliptical paths, and everyday the Earth passes through the whispers of the comets’ journeys.

We are starstuff.

4 Comments:

At 3/14/2006 3:17 PM, Blogger Tirithien said...

Ooooo...

I like. :-) I like a great deal. :-) Permission to use this on my own blog, so I have space to address properly?

 
At 3/14/2006 3:24 PM, Blogger Bainwen Gilrana said...

Goodness... what on earth are you going to do? Sure, go for it. Just link back to mine so people will read it. Must... have... attention!

And for sheer silliness value, the Word Verification code for this comment is "flurk."

 
At 3/15/2006 7:25 AM, Blogger Kat said...

Really cool view! It goes along with Buddhist beliefs that we reincarnate throughout eons and have lived on other worlds in various other solar systems. They also believe that when this world is gone, we will start to reincarnate as life forms in other galaxies. I like this view point. Somehow it gives me comfort, but it also fits in with life on this planet starting somewhere else. We are a continuance, not a genesis (my viewpoint)

 
At 3/15/2006 10:45 AM, Blogger naive-no-more said...

I think you would find some of the writings of Deepak Chopra very interesting.

And, I rest my case about you trying to get published!

 

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