Monday, February 11, 2013

Good News and Bad News

I have good news and bad news.

First, the universe is a vast, cold and mostly empty place. Apart from a few concentrations of matter in the form of stars, planets, etc., the bulk of space is pretty thin. What’s more, the little we know of it comes from our extremely limited perceptions of a tiny sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum and other phenomena.

The random interactions of all this cosmic stuff produce some swirls and eddies that seem complex to us … processes like life, photosynthesis or consciousness. We have no hard evidence that these are anything but side effects of the overall action of the universe, but one of the characteristics of consciousness is that it “thinks” its own purpose and importance are somehow greater than those of chance occurrences. So far as we’re able to determine scientifically, we are merely the accidental byproducts of a machine set in motion billions of years ago.

That’s also the bad news.

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