Follow this by Email if'n you like

Apr 10, 2013

What if the Whole Universe is Really Made for Only Us?

I love cosmology, so I devour stories about searching for extra-terrestrial intelligent life. Usually they start with why we even look. After all it's expensive, and the chances of finding neighbors coming over to our solar system with a hot dish are next to nil. Yes, it certainly speaks to our human desire for community (sweet, isn't it?) but I feel an odd question pop up: is this desire for cosmic others really necessary? Nice as it sounds to us terrestrials the fact is that the laws of nature (at least the ones we're acquainted with so far) pretty much illegalize travel beyond our own neighborhood. Maybe that's a parental limit that won't be lifted til we learn to treat our earthly neighbors better, not to mention the many other species we are killing off right and left. Suddenly our wanting to locate more begins to sound kind of creepy!

So I invite you on an imaginative journey: what if it turns out that we are actually totally and completely the only "intelligent" life anywhere? What if the whole rest of creation were, extravagantly, made purely for our own delight?

I can see God creating the outline for the big bang (something for nothing!) but only coloring in the sun and its planets, and setting them all to elaborate dancing, enriched with the seeds of us. Then over the next few billion years while we were still evolving out of fish, God, humming quietly, put together the nearer stars and night objects, knowing how they'd delight early humans. And as they grew more clever and curious they began to notice the movements of those lights and, like kids discovering one toy after another, long to see more, but by then God was hammering away somewhere else.

By the time we became more precocious and learned to peer farther away from home, God was already finished with those glorious galaxies and nebulae and had moved on to more distant ones, stretching each completed section into the deep past and attaching it to the rest of creation. Perhaps even now as we gaze with furious intensity into the very depths of history, maybe what we see is simply the most distant rooms, still somewhat bare of the endless varieties of toys that our loving God has put there not because the universe could not run without them, but simply for the delight God knows we experience every time we discover something new! (Dark energy and matter are both noises we hear from rooms with yet closed doors.) That's worth throwing a party for the whole neighborhood!
Post a Comment

Blog Archive

Tim Holmes Studio

My photo

I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.