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Black Seas Of Infinity


Tabula Rasa
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The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

 

-H.P Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

 

Sorry for the long quote, but there's a reason. I thought I was , if not out of the woods a portion through it. Now while I know I can never let myself go back to Christianity, knowing all the horror underlying the "Love of God" fascade, I'm starting to get the cosmicism heebie-jeebies.

By that I mean the idea that humanity is on it's own, because there's no God, or "he" doesn't get involved. The thought that we're as insignificant to the universe, as an amoeba is to us,is both humbling and frightening.

 

So getting to the point, how do you guys deal with these thoughts?

 

Tabby

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I think nightflight is on the right track. We may seem insignificant, but we are as much a part of the universe as everything else. We are not alone and separate, we are whole.

 

Causes and conditions in an endless chain that we cannot really fathom brought us into being, will take us out, and bring us back again. Just my opinion.

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This terror comes from seeing ourselves as separate from the universe, when in fact we are actually one with the universe. We didn't come into the world, we grew out of it. We belong here.

 

But I could be wrong.

No, I think you're right. That's how I see it too. Start realizing the connect and unity we have with the universe, then it becomes less unfriendly and scary.

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So getting to the point, how do you guys deal with these thoughts?

 

Tabby

 

I am of two minds on this issue...

 

First mind: religion is ultimately a pointless exercise because the universe has longer without us than it has with us. I actually think the pagan religions are more right-minded because they at least worship nature unlike the desert monotheisms.

 

Second mind: religion at least alleviates the reality that we are alone out here in space. Doesn't it seem weird that our view of the universe went from Earth-centered to being a world tethered to a much larger Sun, which is still a very small star in terms of others in the universe? Since we are so small, so insignificant, the fact that our development came about (however improbable) doesn't it seem likely that we could have been created by a supernatural force. It's a more subtle emotional appeal then the fact than saying our universe was perfectly Earth-centered.

 

It's scary that we are alone in the universe, but there are seven billion other people out there that feel the same way we do.

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The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

 

-H.P Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

 

Sorry for the long quote, but there's a reason. I thought I was , if not out of the woods a portion through it. Now while I know I can never let myself go back to Christianity, knowing all the horror underlying the "Love of God" fascade, I'm starting to get the cosmicism heebie-jeebies.

By that I mean the idea that humanity is on it's own, because there's no God, or "he" doesn't get involved. The thought that we're as insignificant to the universe, as an amoeba is to us,is both humbling and frightening.

 

So getting to the point, how do you guys deal with these thoughts?

 

Tabby

 

 

Sometimes terror overwhelms. Not for long, but just long enough to shake the apathy out of me.

 

Sometimes I find myself really angry at God for not existing. Ya know? He was supposed to always "be there" for us, and be taking care of us, but he never was, and for most of my life I just brushed the realization away. I was supposed to trust and so that's what I tried to do. Believing he existed was easy, but believing he could be trusted was almost never possible.

 

Whatever. hmm. One thing I read that for some odd reason gives me some comfort is a section of Robert Ardrey's "African Genesis" -- the section called The Illusion of Central Position.

 

I'll see if I can find a copy of it for you.

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I don't worry about it, really. I kind of like cosmic insignificance. I feel like being cosmically irrelevant takes a lot of pressure off, like there's no big push to be perfect or important or personally spectacular in some way because of the demands of some tyrant deity out there.

 

When I do think about it (late nights watching the vid with Sagan's narration about the

, for instance) I generally get this overwhelming sense of poignancy and compassion for humanity.

 

But it never makes me afraid.

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When one has these feelings I think one can only shrug his shoulders and get on with life. If you think about it, everything about life can be devolved to the absurd. Many love golf, but what is golf? You hit a ball, chase it, then hit it again.?! Basketball (my personal favorite); you try to put a ball through a hoop while trying to prevent your opponent from doing same. Yet one who actually plays these games quickly gets lost in the nuances of the game and time passes in sheer joy.

 

Some say life sucks then you die. That way lies trouble. Forget the overview and just lose yourself in the details. Why bother to live if we are just gonna die in the end anyway...the great nihilistic question. The answer is in the nuances. We don't live our lives moment to moment thinking in this nihilistic way. If we did, suicide might come to make sense.

 

The meaning in life is in the details. Your pet dog has never once troubled himself about the meaning of life, but when he sees you come in the front door, he runs to you jumping up and down and barking, his tail going a hundred miles an hour, just enveloped in sheer joy. That is how life should be lived. Forget the nihilistic overview and lose yourself in the nuances and life can be beautiful. What does it matter if it "means" anything or not in the end? If you are living it to the hilt, the question will seldom occur to you, and life will be enjoyed.

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First, Lovecraft kicks ass. I've read almost everything he's ever written.

 

I don't worry about the universe. I try to live my life and enjoy it. So what if we are alone. We have a planet that supplies us with our needs and allows us great joy. That joy can come from nature or from other people. We are insignificant when compared to the cosmos, but we are very significant to those around us.

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Thanks to everyone for their replies! I guess I just feel a bit bad that I've missed out on so much by all the time wasted being afraid of an invisible monster, that never existed.

I just need to remind myself that while life is short, I should remember the wise words of Gandalf the White:All you'll have to decide, is what to do with the time you've been given. and realize that while life may have no meaning and humanity might not matter in the grand scheme of the universe, at least we have the ability to find our own purpose instead of it being forced upon us.

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while life may have no meaning and humanity might not matter in the grand scheme of the universe, at least we have the ability to find our own purpose instead of it being forced upon us.

 

I think this is key. We do create the meaning of our lives, and if we stopped worrying about what a non-existent deity wants and focused on making a maximum impact in things that matter to humans (like getting everyone clean water and food rather than building churches and converting people), those questions of significance answer themselves. You haven't been given a purpose, but you can create one. I think that's a beautiful and terrifying choice we all have to either shirk from or fulfill.

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Billions and billions…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, not stars… dollars of deficit spending

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The rather amusing irony here is the fact one can turn right back to Lovecraft to find a "solution" of sorts. Many of his stories are about people struggling against some great power and eventually realizing the futility of their efforts (if they weren't simply aware of them from the start), then forging ahead anyway. Humanity's victory in these stories is never complete - at best it's a temporary setback for said great power, causing it to withdraw and rebuild its strength for another hundred years or so - and the protagonists may well lose their lives in achieving that victory, but that's not the point. The point is we keep going because that little bit of time we earn is more important than the inevitable end we'll eventually face.

 

It's a cliche, but in the case of life, the journey really is more important than the destination.

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I already know I am strange ;) , but the idea of being "alone in the universe" is rather exciting to me. For me, life has become some grand adventure and not some cosmically controlled illusion. I am excited about man going back to the moon and, one day, heading out to Mars! I am excited about the discoveries we make and it thrills me that, however it came about, that little beings like us, so small in the midst of a vast universe, can achieve so much! I have never been more excited about life then when I came out of Christianity.

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I already know I am strange ;) , but the idea of being "alone in the universe" is rather exciting to me. For me, life has become some grand adventure

Hook may have been a mediocre movie, but it got at least one thing right. "To die would be a grand adventure."

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