Contemplation – A personal view
Every human being needs to think about life now and then, about himself, about others, about society, about religion, about politics, about the universe. etc.
Every human being needs a philosophy of life.
An own vision about the world and one’s own place in the whole.
Your own vision is determined by all what you have been given as a child by your parents, your educators, other people in your environment, your peers, at school, in the street, on television and radio, during your growth to adulthood, etc.
Your ideas and views which you have been given can be permanent till your death.
But they might just as well change with the elapsing of time.
Thoughts, ideas and concepts on religion, on politics, on justice, on living together during your life; they all can change.
Why would you stick to ideas and concepts which you have been given as a child, when at a later age you can come to discover that those ideas and concepts do not stroke with your own experiences, which you obtain while your own life ripples on.
You meet other people, perhaps from other sections of the population, perhaps from other countries.
The world is big and travelling to other countries does only broaden your spiritual and mental horizon.
There are so many other countries on the globe and so many other places where people live.
Those people live according to other norms and values.
They have other thoughts, ideas and concepts about religion politics, society, laws, etc. Maybe then your own truth suddenly isn’t really the only truth anymore as you might have always thought. And if you are sensible and you are open-minded then you can change.
Science or religion?
If you grew up in a strict religious Christian Protestant-Reformed family, you can, at a certain instance, lose the faith and become an atheist. Then you don’t believe in the existence of a God anymore.
A strict religious child who takes up a study of astronomy or theoretical physics at the university can change her or his thoughts, ideas and concepts because of what he or she during the study is taught as subject matter of tuition.
The child can grow to believe that the world and the universe only exists because of the laws of physics and that there isn’t anything like a God who created everything and keeps an eye on his creation from a “heaven”.
A child which does not believe in a God can yet come to believe during its study that yet the laws of physics are only the laws known to us and perhaps that there exist other laws which at this point of our evolution as human beings are totally unknown.
The child can become religious and find that somewhere there must be a “higher power” that caused all of this.
Do you ever think about that?
There are so many things in this life worth thinking about!
Like so many things that, as human beings, we take for granted.
Or like so many affairs in this life that as human beings, we look at too narrow-minded and petty-minded.
Not only about what hits us in our daily life.
But also about affairs that in our daily life really do not or very little touch us.
As for myself, I tend to lean towards the scientific side.
In my younger years my personal hero was Lord Bertrand Russell, the British mathematician, logician, philosopher and writer.
He was an atheist and agnostic.
But as I grew older I tended to become more lenient toward the thought that there might be something like a “higher power”, though I don’t give that a name.
I just don’t know and I plainly don’t think about it.
But I do believe in the power and strength of modern science.
Mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, cosmology lead us humans towards a better and clearer understanding of the universe and the direct world around us.
There may be a view science topics which are important in our day and age: the study of the functioning of the brain as related to “consciousness”; the study of genetics, DNA and the Human Genome; the study of modern elementary physics as related to an understanding of the fundamental forces in physics (read nature); and the study of cosmology as related to a better understanding of the universe as a whole and our tiny-whiny place in it.
Anyway: that’s just little ole me contemplating!
With the next I just wish to stress the point that as human beings on this planet earth we are sort of obligated to ourselves and to our fellow humans to sometimes tickle our brain and mind and to puzzle over and think about something more than just our daily worries.
A contemplative thought or a contemplation!
Take the following example.
Contemplation: The human mind – consciousness
The human brain.
Everything what you store in your brains is imported by your senses.
The human senses.
And yet there lies also the relativity.
What do I mean by that?
Take your eyes.
I see you.
How does that work?
There is an electromagnetic spectrum that encompasses all waves from ultra-short to long waves.
The visible part ( for human beings) is only a small part of it.
Your image comes as a bundle of visible electromagnetic waves to the eyes.
The human eye
Inside the eyes is the retina and the retina cells receive those waves and change those into electric pulses and send those through the optic nerve (nervus opticus) to that part inside the brain where “seeing” is determined .
In that part of the brain those pulses are transformed into neurochemical and neurophysical activities and then I “see” you.
But until this day there hasn’t been a single neurophysiologist who has found the precise formula of the how and what then exactly goes on in the human brain and how that transformation of electromagnetic waves into neurochemical and neurophysical activities results in “seeing” your image.
Like there has never been a neurosurgeon who sawed open a skull and seen or found or observed in the brain the “mind” or the “soul”.
Is here the mind? Is here the soul?
You can contemplate about that!
Contemplation: The human genome
Every human beings exists of cells.
And those cells contain the DNA (desoxyribonucleic acid).
Desoxyribonucleic Acid model. The DNA contains all genetic information of a human being.
In the human cell is a nucleus.
Inside that nucleus are 23 pairs of chromosomes.
Those chromosomes also contain the genes, these are the basic units of heredity.
If you chart all these, then in principle you have the blueprint of a human being.
A genome is the complete collection of the genetic material of an organism.
So of the human being it is called the human genome .
Under supervision of the English chemist Frederick Sanger, a project was started what was called the “Human Genome Project” and in 2001 a concept genetic blueprint was published.
What does knowing the complete human genome for the human race? And what does it mean for medical science and biology and the like? About this you can contemplate.
Contemplation: Our place in the universe
You are standing somewhere on the surface of earth.
The earth is only one of the planets in this solar system.
The planets rotate around the sun.
The sun is only a middle sized star which is located in a spiral arm of a spiral galaxy.
This spiral galaxy is only one sort of galaxy of multiple sorts of galaxies,
that are located in groups or clusters in the universe.
Those clusters are moving, like everything is moving, away from each other.
Cluster of galaxies
Cluster of galaxies
Our solar system contains the earth which has life within the atmosphere.
There are at least countless stars in our galaxy that are comparable to our sun and perhaps that there are also planets there similar like the earth.
One of those might be the exoplanet Gliese 581.
Comparable size of exo-planet Gliese 581
They may also have life of whatever kind.
Are we alone in the universe? Or are there countless other planets with lifeforms?
About this you can contemplate.
Contemplation: Discovering the universe
Human Beings did always want to know how the universe works.
You look through a telescope to a star.
The star that you see you do not see like it is now.
Light has a finite and specific speed and the light of the star you are looking at has probably travelled for millions of years before it was absorbed by your eyes and processed.
You see the star.
But in fact you see how it looked millions of years ago.
You don’t see the now but you see the past.
People build enormous telescopes on top of mountains
or send a large space-telescope like the Hubble Space Telescope in an orbit around the earth.
There are radio telescopes being built that capture and register and process the radio waves from space.
VLA – Very Large Array radio-telescope in New Mexico, USA.
Space-probes like the Voyager I are being send into space to make photo’s of our planets and perform measurements and send all that data back to earth.
After that the probe will leave the solar system on it’s way to perhaps another solar system.
We will not experience that anymore.
By that time we’ll be long time dead.
Voyager I space-probe and the disc with information about planet earth
That’s how people try to obtain an image of the universe with all sorts of means and observational instruments. All the information that is obtained from all those observational instruments is used by scientists to substantiate their theories or just to develop new theories.
The human race explores space! You can contemplate about that.
Contemplation: The origin of life
A cosmologist i.e. develops theories about the construction and nature of the universe.
Was it always like this?
That’s what the followers of the Steady-State theory say.
Was there at first a primeval explosion or a “Big Bang” and moved everything away from one another after that and was everything so formed in the course of time?
At first gaseous clouds,
gaseous clouds in the universe.
Gaseous clouds in the universe
Then stars and galaxies.
Then the solar systems with the planets around a star.
Then a planet around which an atmosphere forms,
and then on its surface, in a sort of primeval soup, the first life is formed.
From non-living (anorganic) chemical elements living (organic) creatures are formed.
Representation of the forming of organic molecules from inorganic matter
Representation of the origins of DNA in the evolution of the universe.
Representation of the forming of organic compounds in the evolution of the universe.
Representation of the forming of DNA and unicellular organisms in the primordial soup.
The first unicellular animals.
The first sea animals,
The first amphibious creatures that go on land from the sea.
The famous Mesozoic era with the huge dinosaurs that roamed the earth.
Gigantoraptor bird-like dinosaur.
The Mesozoic era spans from 250 million to 65 million years ago and is divided in the Triassic period, the Jurassic period and the Cretaceous period; the Triassic being the oldest and the Cretaceous being the youngest period.
Till the apes and the first ape-men that change into humanoids from which modern man develops, evolves.
Austrolopithecus model; lived between
3.9 million and 1.7 million years ago.
The origin and the course of the evolution of the universe and life on planet earth. You can contemplate about that!
Contemplation: The doctrine of evolution
Charles Darwin and his book The origin of species.
The 5-year voyage of the Beagle around the world with Darwin on board
No God, who according to the bible creates everything in seven days.
No, something totally different was going on and had happened.
Live had slowly evolved which must have taken millions of years.
Schematic representation of the evolution of the earth and life on earth
Schematic representation of the evolution of the earth and life on earth.
Schematic representation of the evolution of animals.
And to confirm all that people dig in deserts and in mountains and valleys for remains from the history of all life on the earth.
Fossil plants and animals are dug up.
They are dated with the help of modern equipment.
Such as in the radiocarbon dating technique.
Because we want to know how old they really are.
Large skeletons of dinosaurs are dug up and displayed in museums.
The skulls of humanoid apes are dug up.
The evolution of skulls to Homo Sapiens; and also the skulls of three monkeys.
Representations of how the ancestors of modern man looked like are presented to you. A representation of the evolution from ape-man to modern man Homo Sapiens
A representation of the evolution from ape-man to modern man with a speculative future-man added.
A representation of the evolution from ape-man to modern man; with a speculative bionic man added.
The evolution of life on earth and of humans in particular. You can contemplate about this..
Contemplation: Elementary particles
Large detection devices are build that must investigate how elementary particles are formed and how they relate to the four fundamental forces in nature.
Experiments have taken place and are taking place to find proof of the existence of certain types of fundamental elementary particles such as for instance the Higgs boson particle or “the God particle” which was dicovered in 2012.
The atoms, the electrons, the neutrons, the gravitons, the quarks, the bosons, the mesons, etc.
It are some concepts that are used in the world of elementary particle physics.
Simple atom representation; atom is formed by a nucleus and electrons moving around the nucleus; the nucleus is formed by protons and neutrons; the number of protons equals the number of neutrons in the nucleus except for the hydrogen atom which has 1 proton.
Schematic representation of particles; the molecule is the largest; the atom is part of the molecule; the nucleus is part of the atom; proton and neutron are part of the nucleus; quarks are part of i.e. the proton.
Schematic representation of several atoms; hydrogen has only 1 proton in it’s nucleus.
Schematic representation of the size of particles; atoms are part of molecules; atoms are formed of a nucleus and electrons moving around the nucleus; the nucleus consists of protons and neutrons; protons consist of quarks; strings are believed to be the constituents of electrons and quarks. Schematic representation of the size from crystal to string.
Schematic representation of size of particles.
Simple representation of elementary particles.
Schematic representation of the four fundamental forces.
Schematic representation of the four fundamental forces in nature; gravitational, weak, electromagnetic and strong force.
Explanation of the Standard model of elementary particles. Simple schematic representation of the so-called “Standard model of elementary particles”; at the right are the force-carriers.
The scientists build particle accelerators such as cyclotrons, synchrotrons, etc.
It are particle accelerators that accelerate electrical particles and then lead them to a detection device wherewith “photos” or computer simulated data models are made of the “collisions” of the various particles.
The particles themselves you do not see.
You see the traces of those elementary particles. Below are an example of how the traces of the elementary particles look like.
The idea is to find proof for the theories of theoretical scientists.
Theoretical physicists have developed theories based on mathematics and known physics about elementary particles and how they relate to the four fundamental forces.
This is important for an understanding of the origin and evolution of matter and the universe as from the Big Bang when the universe is believed to have originated.
For instance were they looking for a specific elementary particle ,the so-called Higgs-Boson or also called the “God-particle”, which was discovered in 2012.
These theories, if proven, can change the view scientists may have on for instance the origin of the universe like in the “Big Bang”.
You can see them as sort of “laboratories” or gigantic “microscopes”.
For example at the European Centre for Nuclear Research or CERN at Geneva in Suisse (Switzerland) where one of the largest particle accelerators in the world was built. In the future it will be surpassed by particle accelerators that will be even larger.
It’s the Large Hadron Collider ( LHC) and it’s 27 kilometres long and 175 meters deep.
It’s runs underground partly in France and partly in Switzerland.
Geographical location and position of the Large Hadron Collider or LHC at CERN; partly in France and partly in Switzerland. It is 27 kilometres long and 175 meters deep.
Combined view of the geographical position of the LHC and the inside of the underground tunnel; 27 kilometres long and 175 metres deep
Underground location and position of the LHC partly in France and partly in Switzerland; 27 kilometres long and 175 metres deep. Notice that CERN lies in Switzerland.
Schematic representations of the various particle accelerators at CERN; the LHC being the largest.
Inside the LHC tunnel. Inside the LHC tunnel.
Inside the LHC tunnel.
Enormous detector of the LHC; see how tiny the man is.
The Control-room of the LHC. Everything is followed on the computer screens.
Image of LHC collision traces; computer simulated data model.
Higgs-event simulation Higgs boson particle.
All is done for the quest of how this universe works at the elementary particle level!
About this you can contemplate.
Contemplation: Everyday life
You get up. You go to bed.
You sleep. You eat.
You work. You get an education.
You take care of your children.
You work hard for Money to earn for the rent of your house or the instalments of your debts.
You live your old age in an old people’s home .
In short: you are a human being in this life.
Every human being has a different life.
Why should you worry about affairs that do not touch your daily life?
Nobody has practical benefits from astronomy, from theories of modern cosmology, from theories about elementary particles from theoretical physics.
Those theories do not pay for your rent, they don’t buy food for your children, they don’t end your daily worries.
You awaken and look up.
The sun rises, and the sun sets.
But just that is not true.
The sun doesn’t rise and the sun doesn’t set.
It is the earth that rotates around it’s own axis.
That’s why it looks like the sun rises and the sun sets.
The truth of your perception is not the truth of what really happens.
What you see is not always what is real.
It is always worth to think about more than only the everyday reality of human life.
Even if that reality of your everyday life sometimes occupies and swallows you up so badly.
The following piece comes from a book called Herzog by the American writer
Saul Bellow :
“So, thought Herzog, acknowledging that his imagination of the universe was elementary, the novae bursting and the worlds coming into being, the invisible magnetic spokes by means of which bodies kept one another in orbit.
Astronomers made it all sound as though the gases were shaken up inside a flask.
Then after many billions of years, light-years, this childlike but far from innocent creature, a straw hat on his head, and a heart in his breast, part pure, part wicked, who would try to form his own shaky picture of this magnificent web”.
About this you can contemplate!
This universe, this world, your whole life, your existence, everything is worth to contemplate about. Think beyond your own limited visual, spiritual and mental borders and open your mind!