Category: Evolution

It has been over 3 centuries since my earliest ancestors from Scotland and Ireland set foot on this continent. Regardless of that time interval I, to this very day, have deep feelings for my links to both those two countries. Every once in awhile, just like ET, I have this urge to “call home”, but unlike him I am not sure who to call. I do have one compensation in that by posting a few articles for a British online magazine, The Urban Times, I have contact with that broad home-base of my ancestors.
ET’s yearnings will, in my opinion, be ours to experience someday as we succeed in exploring and, in some cases, settling on distant planets both in this galaxy and beyond. I am also certain that those new space-pioneers will experience the ET-effect.
Perhaps there is a genetic link or geological imprint that is passed along from generation after generation. Again, in my opinion, that imprint could be a composite not just of family linkages, but deep seated associations with the physical and emotional pull of our home-base; in this case our planet. Science-fiction notable, Ray Bradbury, documents this in his short story, “The Martian Chronicles.” In that regard, I suspect Bradbury also has experienced the ET-effect.
Going a step further, scientists are researching the source of our beginnings, and are currently documenting the fact that we are “stardust people.” By that they mean, the critical biochemical ingredients that lead to our coming into being have come from the Cosmos. Is it possible then that our deep urging to reach out and explore into deep, deep space, is a cosmic ET-effect? In other words, as stardust people, do we possess a cosmic imprint that makes us yearn to not just call home, but to explore where that home might be? Furthermore, does this imprint have a spiritual impact as well? In either of these cases we can only be enriched if, in fact, they are real.
Perhaps one of the most potentially exciting and rewarding results would be when we have a meet-up with ET, and because of our mutual cosmic imprint we quickly achieve a comradeship that welcomes us into our real home; the COSMOS. Suddenly many of our Earth-born irritations and prejudices shrink to nothing as we embrace our real home. Yes, there will be evolutionary and developmental differences between us and the ETs we meet, but they become insignificant because of our growing mutual sense of unity and belonging. We are really home and among a host of amazing kinfolk. – JOY!

The Coralyea Community, above, was founded in 1842 on a small Cay near Cat Island in the Bahamas. Catamara Reef was founded approximately 5,000,000 years ago. It is located in  the chain of islands that make up the West Indies. Like the Coyalyea community, Catamara was formed by living organisms. This is the essential vitality that defines all life above the sea, beneath it, and beyond the boundaries of planet Earth.

Coralyea is fictional and exists as an example for this presentation. The coral reefs of the Caribbean are not fictional. Their sister reef in Australia (the Great Barrier Reef) is the largest living organism on this planet. The key phrase is living organism.

The key to life on Earth and as we now know on any Earth-like extra-solar planet is water. Planetary water is primarily what we call oceans, and it is our ocean that is the essential and vital resource that supports our existence. Simple logic: let that vital resource die and soon thereafter all of its dependents will also expire.

Yep, the “ho-hums” crescendo along with cries of “boring” as we under-react to the decline of life on Earth; better known as species extinction. What we are letting happen to our oceans and the life within them and the lives they support outside is an essential act of self-annihilation. This is absurd. There is too much to live for, there are too many adventures yet experienced, and too little life enrichment yet received to toss it all away.  Please, smirky shrugs will not make any of this go away.

No, no, we are not essentially naughty. We are ill-informed, possibly a bit stupid, and generally indifferent to this critical issue. The deniers tell us it is all out of our hands, sprinkling their shouts with mysticism-based threats. They even pontificate that it is happening to us as punishment. Well it is punishment of all life, but it is BY OUR HANDS! Oh, oh, guilt trip coming! Yes, that is definitely the wrong way to even begin to address life on Earth. Let’s start out by agreeing that, overall, it is absolutely beautiful and wonderful. If we can agree on that, then we are set for the greatest love affair in our lives.

I, personally, was blessed by both being raised my first three years by Navajo Native Americans, and also by living right in the middle of a National Forest. Respect for life, for nature and planet Earth were ingrained in me. The Navajo deep reverence for Earth was imprinted on my daily life. This taught me to be always aware of Mom Nature’s blessings. So, I was lucky, that does not mean the rest of you are unlucky. It has just not been a first order of your early childhood education. Well, it is not too late to acquire that deep awareness and appreciation for our planet, and especially our mother oceans.

Today, opponents to environmental awareness bark warnings about what we could lose or what it could cost us in productivity if we become more in love with dear sweet Earth. They either intentionally ignore or simply do not know about the costs to all life if we continue to ignore this planet and all its marvelous resources. Sure, we take advantage of them daily. The problem is we make no effort to preserve those resources to make sure they remain abundant and available. This is no different than all the things sane, healthy humans do each day for themselves to stay well and alive. What those Navajo’s taught me was that the whole idea was a respect for a community of life that included all things within the environment; including humans. This attitude of worshipful respect ensured that we were blessed by Earth’s beneficence because we carefully nurtured that community of life.

We are at a brink now. Our indifference, even in some cases, our defiance of preserving our community of life now threatens our continued existence. Perhaps the most dangerous argument is the one that espouses the inevitability of our extinction. This is a direct disregard of the amazing process that brought human life onto this planet, and most probably across the Cosmos. In short it is blatant self denial. With this philosophy it is no wonder there is a grab and run attitude about this precious Earth.  Most probably, civilizations on other distant planets (exoplanets, if you wish) have faced these same challenges, and we may eventually find out that many failed and became extinct. So can we, but we also can learn to preserve our community of life and thus eventually meet up with those civilizations that also fell in love with their planetary homes and resources.

In my own mind, I consider my Navajo mentors were really emissaries from some distant planetary culture that had learned to save their communities of life and were now here to help us do the same. We can do it. Do we want to? Do we care? Look below to see the probable outcome if we do not care.

Lastly, if you wish, watch this video which is a Cherokee expression of their respect and love for this sweet Earth. Yes, the Eagle, the Wolf, the Bear, and the Lion as well as the Buffalo are special treasures, but they hold to this day that the entire community of life around them is truly an Amazing Grace.

Shall we agree to defy extinction, or…?


Publication Code: 88GMF5BV7HTW

Scientific reports and articles do not intentionally promote fear, especially those that present information about the universe. Unfortunately some in the media delight in using highly descriptive and generally frightening adjectives such as “monster” “vicious”,”voracious” “evil”, etc to increase the drama of what they consider as otherwise dull information. For many of the public these dramatized, fear-inducing presentations, succeed. The net effect is an unintended emotional reaction to many important scientific revelations.

Yes, many scientific reports do present and discuss dangerous situations within our environment, our lifestyles, and the universe. When these concerns are presented they are done so in a careful and informative way that alerts but generally does not alarm the reader or viewer. Most importantly there is no malice in science or the universe. Malice is totally a human failing.

In the image above, the Space Tweep Society’s mascot, Meco is quite safe where he stands; however should he venture toward the event horizons of those two merging Black Holes,  he would be in danger. This would be true for an unwise boater who carelessly heads directly into a swirling whirlpool. In the case of either the Black Holes or the whirlpool neither are malevolent. They are doing what, for them, comes naturally and hold no vicious intent toward either Meco, the inattentive boater or the rest of us.

Yes, science needs a continuously growing presence in the public’s eye, but it needs at the most to impart caution, but ideally most cases impart amazement and delight. To ensure this, the scientists, must step forward and, for example, object to the media depicting a Black Hole as “viciously devouring a star.” Though descriptive, the phrase imparts aggressive behavior that can be frightening. Most importantly the scientist needs to help the media keep a high public interest in science by providing them with descriptive phrases that both inform and delight; not alarm and discourage. Ideally this occurs in special, science journalism courses. If it doesn’t now, it would be highly useful if it became part of the curriculum.

Lastly, maybe humankind continues to adhere to ancient fascinations with horror and human brutality and this presents the media and science with a challenge to refocus the public’s fascination toward the awesome and beautiful. Importantly, both of those values are inherent in a large majority of scientific revelations about all that surrounds us from microbes, to Black Holes, and to the entire Cosmos. Humankind becomes enriched and science gains new friends and supporters; a necessary relationship for our continuing evolution.

As and added example, the video below is a relaxed, easy-going but informative explanation of some of the facts around NASA’s space exploration program. Astronaut Walter Cunningham, an Apollo 7 pilot, provides the narrative. Informative, awesome and heartwarming science.

Publication Code: 88GMF5BV7HTW


Image of merging Black Holes : courtesy of NASA/ESA and their powerful terrestrial and space telescopes.

Image of Meco the mascot of the Space Tweeps Society, created by the society’s founder, Jen Scheer and used with her permission.

Human Compatibility with Robomatics: A New Enduring Consciousness

*Ossification: a tendency toward or state of being molded into a rigid, conventional, sterile, or unimaginative condition.

Two of my recent blog articles, Nurturing Nature, and An All Digital, Deep Space Voyage have included concerns and commentary about the rise in the use of automation and robotics. This is not meant to imply that either automation or robotics are a threat or bad for humankind. What is of both concern and importance is how humankind manages those developments to its best advantage.

We have already seen evidence of situations where humans have been lulled into dulled attentiveness within an automated or robotically controlled environment. Yes, a good bit of it has been in the form of science-fiction which tends to promote fear and not reason. In reality, though, we have also learned of situations where failed or malfunctioning systems have led to catastrophic events including the loss of human life. Emergency detection and warning systems that fail are one example, another are automated control systems that suddenly fail.

In many instances of these failures serious damages or loss of life are avoided due to the alert and rapid intervention by humans. What happens if there are no humans around; only robots monitoring robots? The risks, if any, would all depend upon the particular automated environment. The higher the risk of a chained failure the more important it is to have immediate and alert human monitoring and intervention. If the environment requires human presence then we must address the real problem of decreasing alertness. Do we depend solely on robotics to alert the human to problems?

Interactive compatibility: The critical challenge: By interactive compatibility we are referring to the increasing high-tech relationships between humans and robomatic (automation + robotics) systems. The word active has always been a critical element. We find it is both expensive and hazardous to take a casual or even indifferent view of our duties in monitoring and adjusting robomatic systems. Compatibility relates directly to the fitness of the human counterpart for these responsibilities. In our view the ongoing, successful interactive compatibility between NASA’s scientists/engineers/technicians and the many robomatic systems they have launched and continue to monitor exists as a key role model for the future.

Compatibility also embraces the engineering design of the various spacecraft that NASA/JPL has created. These spacecraft are not simply pre-programmed systems, they are, in essence, alive and maintain contact with their human counterparts. This is most remarkably illustrated by the very alive and far away Voyager craft, the gleeful explorer-craft Cassini, and, of course, the Mars rovers. Yes, there are many more in the list. The foregoing are just newsbreaker examples. The future with its rapid growth of robomatic systems on Earth and in space will demand entirely new perspectives in areas of scientific and high-tech education/training. This will be especially critical when those relationships between robomatic systems and humans span centuries. Contact with deep space systems will, of necessity, become trans-generational.

Transgenerational interactivity with deep, deep space robomatic systems will introduce an entirely new array of sci-tech skills that become a culture. Yes, a highly scientifically oriented culture is essential for humankind’s growing interrelationship with the Cosmos and with all the exploratory craft we both send and command into that awesome arena. Great grandfather, grandfather, father, son, and so forth will be an uninterruptable and contiguous chain of scientific and technical competence that will carry humankind safely into distant galactic environments and worlds. There will be no room in this culture for regressive or unimaginative thinking. In fact, it will not even exist.

A scary future? For some of us now, it could very well be. This is because our education and with it the encouragement to think creatively has generally been underdeveloped. For others this could appear as a defiance of spirituality whereas in reality it will be an entirely new and highly consoling spirituality. Finally there are no longer any doubts about our status as people in what will become an immense cosmic reality. We feel welcome. We are made whole by this awareness and become joyfully at peace. The power and glory of the cosmos is within us and we are welcome participants in the discovery of all that it is. Lastly, we will finally achieve that great meet-up with other life-forms and fully rejoice that it is certain we are not and will never be alone.

The following video of a talk by Arthur C. Clarke in the 20th century predicting our future in this century is highly relevant because of the accuracy of his predictions. The forward evolution of humankind he predicts is and will continue to progress. So, unleash your minds and let them begin to explore all that surrounds us. You will be warmly welcomed.

When we humans finally evolved as a life form on this planet we were overwhelmed with the inexplicable and mysterious in our environment. We quickly developed mystical explanations for those events. In this process, some of us were more gifted in providing these explanations and became spokespersons for the supposed forces that produced these often frightening happenings.  Since these forces were invisible and powerful they were quickly deified by those spokespersons. This process imbued these mystics with a unique power to both forecast and explain natural events as the actions of specific deities. Suddenly the explainers became  leaders that established the moral and behavioral structure of their respective cultures.
Centuries have passed and the mystics have refined their explanations which in most cases has increased their power and persuasion over their respective flocks. Today we call this religion and the majority of humankind adhere at some level to one of these religions. The moral and behavioral encouragements of these centers of mysticism have had various success in stabilizing, even moderately  improving humankind’s relationship with one another. Regardless, we still kill one another, we still seek to overpower competitive or non-conforming (with out beliefs) cultures or are overpowered ourselves. Enslavement in a variety of unique styles is still practiced and rebelled against. Over all of this, the mystics invoke their spiritual explanations and incantations that urge their followers to disavow all explanations that successfully remove both mystery and mysticism from the natural events of our lives.
Those alternate explanations are actually the product of scientific research in which we explore and upon exploring we discover and upon discovering we seek to explain, and in explaining we add to what we call science. In this practice as well as that of the mystics, both results produce a sense of glory and oneness with all that surrounds us. The difference is that the mystical approach offers no proofs, no clear explanations, but instead demands followers to believe based exclusively on their faith in the words of the mystics. Science on the other hand, provides proof and stunning explanations all still producing those senses of glory, wonderment and oneness. In this latter case faith is not lost it is only reinforced in a positive, non-mystical way. We all are awed, enriched, and ecstatic over the revelations that science provides. Our sense of oneness is more than concept it is a definite sensory awareness of our mutual relationship with the cosmos.
Should we feel shame, fear or loss of faith because we tend to rely more on science than mysticism? Absolutely not! As we become more aware of the revelations of science we gain stronger spirituality as our understanding of the many aspects of the cosmos grows. We are enriched by it and come to understand we are not external to the cosmos, but are an integral and vital part of it. For many who achieve this realization, they acknowledge how warm and included they feel. Yes feel, not just think, or believe on faith, but actually experience that mutuality.
Surprise, way before we were learning through science our prehistoric predecessors had those feelings of mutuality, of deep respect for the cosmos, and an awesome, cosmic focused spirituality that remains with their descendants to this day.
I understand how a tree starts and grows and spreads its glory and wealth. I feel an intimacy with trees. When a storm strikes and a tree or trees are stricken with broken limbs or toppled completely I feel sorrow and express my condolences to those forms of life. Why; because we are all part of the same cosmos. Should we not feel that same for all life forms and to take joy when we learn of a new life form or another revelation about the cosmos? Of course we should, because we are learning about ourselves and our surrounds. We become less frightened, more enriched and as stated above,more focused on the glory of the cosmos. Spirituality will follow, and those who seek to espouse and enrich it should not defy science, but should embrace it and in doing so clearly bring us all closer together in harmony and unity; which by the way is cosmos.

The image of colorful chaos above is a random artistic illustration of the state and course of human society today. As shown in the artwork, there are separate centers of cohesion with swirling varieties of cultural movements that seem to gravitate toward those centers. The artwork also displays interruptions and pitfalls that hamper that flow.  Lastly the various colors and shades of colors represent the many various cultural embodiments of Homo sapiens. Wouldn’t it be nice if all of this came together in a unified and cohesive manner? NO!

The artwork as well as real live humankind display a varied and vibrant diversity. This is good. What is not working out so well is a successful interrelationship and interaction between those areas of diversity. The challenge is to protect and enrich the diversity while successfully bringing all of it into an interactive and cooperative existence. This could mean world peace.  The following is an example of strong diversity operating in a very supportive and progressive manner. Take a moment or two to view it and then read on for more of this discussion.

Well, yes we hear you. World peace can come from all of us different folks dancing together? Yes! It will be far more productive and supportive of reaching world peace if we all dance together rather than threatening or fighting each other. For us to reach the point where we can dance together means we have achieved a significant success in preserving diversity while also improving our mutual respect and cooperation with each other. We could label that the ISS paradigm.

We call it the ISS paradigm, because of the unique and highly successful international cooperation in the support and operation of the International Space Station.  Diversity and respectful and productive cooperation are an ISS standard. It is a role model that we should all acknowledge and use as a clear example of what we can accomplish with the right motivation.  Is not world peace, and sustained equal opportunity for all humankind sound motivation?

None of this is a given, and some nations are a bit more successful that others, but globally we are way behind. We need democratic forms of governance, but it needs to be real, citizen-based, and not the product of special interests or powerful financial forces. Additionally we must universally accept that scientific knowledge both as a profession and as a level of human intelligence must become commonplace. Right now science is often the victim of suspicion and misleading mysticism. That must change; universally. The late scientist Carl Sagan states that “we are a scientific civilization” which means “a civilization in which knowledge and its integrity are crucial. Science is only a Latin word for knowledge. Knowledge is our destiny.”

So we are at a threshold of change and when we cross that we then face the crossroads of our future. One road leads us into expanded intellectual power and thus a greater sense of our being and respect of the very diversity that makes us so unique. The other road will lead us into darkness where suspicion rules and where progress is defined only by those of great power and wealth. The end of that road is extinction.  So not only must we boldly step forward, but we must also bravely take the correct path for our future and continuing evolution.

Please take time to view the video below. It is both soothing and inspiring. All that you see is part of us and we of it. Look too at the diversity on display. It too is part of our cosmic community. By gaining a cosmic focus we will find that achieving full recognition of our own diversity and our ability to become a unity of differences will ensure our progress and future. In joy, we will dance together; globally.



Image: Artistic chaos – by the author

Quote: Carl Sagan, from his book, The Dragons of Eden.


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