Big Bang Buddhism, Baby
Today I’m going to go way, Way, WAY above my paygrade and crack open a topic that many of you will probably just skip. In fact, this is really pretty much as out there as I’m going to get on this site unless a truck load of Ether ever overturns in front of my house. And really, what are the odds of that happening again? Nope, with a totally stright head today I’m going to go way out there and talk about…
Now, I know what you’re saying to yourself right now; OK, THIS is the day that INPY has finally lost it. Well, no. That was in ’96. (See Ether comments above)
Stick with me though, it might be fun.
Last night I was watching one of my absolute favorite shows, the Universe. This is a History Channel hour long freakin’ orgy of information about, well…the universe. (Thus the name) Planets, stars, solar systems…you name it. They break it down. Mind candy at its finest. So when I was flipping through the seemingly endless array of crappy channels I have on my cable package (how many times can Friends really be on in one day?) and I noticed that the Universe was going to be two hours long, not one I thought “whatever could this be?”
It was The Big Bang Explained.
Holy CRAP, I thought…this is gonna ROCK!! And rock it did…effectively, what the History Channel chose to do was go back in time to the very beginnings of Astronomy and show you how each and every step along the way, from the Greeks to Copernicus, from Newton to Einstein, lead to a debate over whether not the Universe was in a Steady State (static, unchanging) or that there had been a beginning…a Big Bang.
Now, this is about 1/10,000,000,000,000,000th of the information here. I’m going in crazy broad strokes. But, even at that…just think about what it means to debate whether or not the Universe is static or not for one second and you can see the dilemma this line of thinking brought about.
You do see it, right? OK, I’ll help.
See with this idea of the nature of the Universe, you’re not knocking on the door of the scientist…you’re knocking on the door of the Pope. Since forever, the Church had more to do and say about the origins of the Universe than a scientist did. In fact, for most of our history Astrology has been taken far more seriously than Astronomy. To say that there was a Big Bang? Well, that was stepping on some pretty big toes right up through the 1950’s and even in many ways today.
For example; Did you know that Copernicus (a Catholic “cleric”/vicar, if you will) didn’t publish his findings regarding Heliocentrism (in the book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) until he was close to death? Why? Well, before this, it was well known that God created the Universe in Genesis and that the Earth was the center of it all…
Not so fast my little altar boy!
Heliocentrism stated that the Sun was the center of it all…not the Earth, which God had created. Better still, it had the formulas to prove it. The Sun, the giver of life, was the center of it all…the Son, giver of Catholic Guilt, was not.
Scary stuff, really.
Another aspect of this ages old death match was the work of Father Georges Henri Joseph Éduard Lemaître, a Beligian priest. This is the guy, who basically hypothesized the Big Bang. He said that based on Hubble’s Laws (which stated in part that the Universe was expanding) you could trace backwards to when the universe was smaller…and well, do the math. He believed that there was a “primeval atom” of immeasurable density and heat that was infinitesimally small where it all began. Within that “atom”, the laws of physics doubled over into themselves and the 4 fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces) became in essence, one. (This is ridiculously oversimplifying AND adding in some other theories from later on…but give me a break) Then, at some point, something shifted inside that Primeval Atom, or “egg” as he also called it and Gravity separated itself from the other forces and
The Big Bang.
And this dude was a PRIEST! In fact, when the Pope started saying that this proved the Book of Genesis, Lemaître actually told him to sit down and shut up. That this was about science, not religion.
OK, he most likely phrased it better than that.
However, Einstein himself was so freaked out by the notion of an Expanding Universe PLUS a Big Bang, that he accepted the Math, but rejected the Philosophy…in essence, he said “yeah you carried the one but the final answer is a bit much, don’t you think?”
My point, in all of this, is that I can’t get why these two forces have to play in separate sand boxes. Why can’t it be one AND the other? Why does Science always have to disprove God? Why do zealots think prayer is better than antibiotics? Can’t we find some common ground?
I will now give you the breakdown of what I dig and believe.
Stick with me on this, really. It’s either the dumbest thing I’ve ever written of you’ll think “damn dude, I thought you were just a drunk”.
The hardest tenement of Buddhism for the non-Buddhist to accept is that life is suffering. We hear this and we think “fuck that”. But, to a Buddhist, once you dig the gyst of what this means
everything else on Earth (and in Heaven, wait for it) falls in to place. Here’s the best way I can break it down.
1) The point to life is to experience life. In every way, every thing that can be experienced, should, will, and must be experienced.
2) Life is suffering because of what we attach to the things that happen around us. If the point of life is to experience everything that can be experienced, then “good” and “bad” are irrelevant and counterproductive. You need “bad” to truly get “good”. Everything from genocide to civil rights are nothing more than line items on a cosmic checklist.
3) Everything that we do as an individual expands the collective sum of our experiences. By expanding and diversifying (expanding) the sum total of what we have experienced, we will eventully become closer (collapsing) together in our shared humanity.
4) We share this collective experience in a realm of consciousness, not physicality. However, everything that we share in our consciousness absolutely effects our physical, day to day existence.
Now, this tends to fly in the face of Judeo-Christian ideals which state that there is a definitive “right” and “wrong” to everything…well, not so fast. The best explanation for this discrepency I can nail down is this;
Of course it’s wrong, for example to “kill”. But what I take out of this Buddhist approach isn’t in conflict with the Commandments because I think what they are saying is that once we’ve evolved enough, or EXPANDED our consciousness enough, we wouldn’t do it not because it’s “wrong” but because it simply isn’t part of our being anymore. We will recognize that to do unto other’s means that you are literally doing unto yourself.
In essence, you become enlightened beyond that nonsense. So it’s not “Thou shalt not Kill” because it’s wrong. It’s “Thou shalt not kill” because you’ve evolved past it.
It’s not an edict. It’s a milestone.
Still with me?
The Universe is rocketing out in to the void with no regard for right or wrong. Matter is being smashed apart and sucked in to Supernovas and Blackholes, and the pieces of the whole (the Universe) are refolding and being crushed over itself. (destroying and dousing the lights) It’s being attracted to other matter, forming density and creating planets and stars and exploding in to new forms of itself (creating and igniting the light) and it’s doing this with no other purpose than to expand. It doesn’t say “that’s wrong” or “that’s right”. It simply is. Its Book of Genesis is laid out in the Big Bang Theory’s math on the table of Copernicus and Einstein and Lemaître.
The Universe is the “macro” version of what we ourselves are doing with significantly less time and space in which to work. It is working in stars and solar systems, and billions of years creating and destroying and expanding and all that there is exists because of its primeval atomic womb in which all was created. (We are working with maybe 80 years in Detroit and Malaysia, but the parallel is there.) And all of this is connected by Carbon and the spirals of Pi. It’s life. It’s all connected. It is, quite simply and in my humble opionion, what I mean when I say the word “God”.
Am I done yet? Hell no.
Just like those zany Christians say, we were created in its image. Which means that our “death”, the end of our time given to grow and expand and become more than we were when we first started out from our “little bang” must have a Cosmic or Universal Equivalent. A time when the Universe will no longer be able to expand. When all of the heat and intensity of the Big Bang will have pushed it out as far as it’s capable of going and it will shrink back…back through all it had become, back down through the now cooling fabric of space and time (Einstein worked that “fabric of Space and Time” bit out)…and it will become something else entirely. But with all of the pieces it created still within itself.
After all, any scientist will tell you that energy never truly disappears, right? It just becomes something else. And since the “something” it was can now be traced back to the egg it all started in…out of which all elements were formed and from which all life began, well…to me that means;
Consciousness, as a part of life, evolved from the Big Bang. What began with an explosion of H and He (Hydrogen and Helium, baby) formed all the other elements in the raging fires of the subsequent Stars (Hoyle proved that, yo) which in turn formed density and matter, which in turn fostered an area for those elements to blend, which in turn created the environments that fostered life…
Much like the little cells we all were in the beginning, we all became so much more at the end. When we go back, we are basically the same but far, far more. We are all little pieces of the Universe.
And when the Universe can no longer expand and it begins to shrink back, it will take with it far, far more than that with which it started expanding. It will take back all the matter it created and all the experiences we gave to it as the fruits of our lives. It will take it all back to where it began and revert back to that Primeval Egg in which all of this will go collectively.
Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust.
You may now feel free to call me crazy, question the level of my meds, or wonder if I’ve been wearing a helmet. That’s cool…I get that a lot. Tomorrow I will write about Bondage. (It’s overdue and frankly it’s a topic that needs exploring.) Today, you get mind candy.