Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

That’s Why We’re Here

September 21st, 2012 by G.

I’m going to quote an atheist quoting a man of no obvious religious conviction to make a religious point. In fact, it may be *the* religious point.

A casual profundity from Lileks:

The sidewalk due to be replaced had a semicircle cut in one side, because once upon a time there was a stout tree on the boulevard. For decades the semicircle was the only sign the tree had been there at all. Now it’ll be replaced. There’s about a hundred years of history reflected in that process, and as far as the universe is concerned it’s the flutter of a hummingbird’s ventricle. That’s why we’re here: the passing of time has no meaning unless experienced by conscious beings. Better if they have imaginations, too: look at the depth of the cut in the sidewalk. Stout trunk, tall tree. An elm, probably. Whoever lived in that house in ’41 parked under the tree in the afternoon in July so the steering wheel didn’t feel like gripping a steam iron. Dad rued the leaves. The kids loved the smell when he burned them in fall.

“That’s why we’re here.” That’s also why we should go into space, whose vastness similarly has no meaning unless someone is out there to experience it.

Thus Rand Simberg.

A few days ago I stood on my back grass and watched my daughter on the trampoline intently doing somersaults around and around along the edge. She didn’t notice me. Behind her the sun rose red through the mist. It felt like music in the quiet.

Today, I suddenly remember another trampoline coincidentally in that same spot a few years ago where that same daughter asked me what Project Orion was, and I explained. We lay on our backs looking up into the forever sky. I didn’t hear any music then, but now I hear its echo.

For me, exploration and settlement of the cosmos is a deep religious duty. For a number of reasons. Filial piety for our ancestor pioneers. Compassion for the poor who might benefit from economic expansion. Prudent provision for our children-to-be and for their desire to have numerous children of their own. The agency and freedom of the frontier. Even inchoate spiritual inklings that the rose-blossoming desert of Isaiah is and was meant to be the surface of Mars.

But above all, and above all, is the knowledge that everything we see, God and his angels created it. The mass and the movement of all created things have meaning because He observes them and stands in relation to them. But this is not enough. All this cornucopia was meant to relate to us too, and we to it, and we to God through it, and we to each other on it and through it and with God and in God, thousands of different relations entangling into a thick braid.

The silence of the spheres is a pregnant silence. Something, many things, await to be born.

And that—new life, new happiness, new enriching of the old ties and commitments, and all shot through with divinity–is all the gospel is and all it needs to be.

Comments (10)
Filed under: Deseret Review,Martian Rose | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
September 21st, 2012 13:59:35

September 21, 2012

One of the “heresies” of Mormonism, from the point of view of creedal Christians, is the idea that God is coeval with the worlds. And that both are plural, but not really.

September 21, 2012

Thought-provoking post. Thank you.

John Mansfield
September 21, 2012

Here’s a song and video that fit with the post. It’s Stan Ridgway’s Day in the Sun. I saw him play in a small bar a year and a half ago; very pleasant evening.


September 21, 2012

I think God lives through us somehow, like a parent lives through the child via observation.

Heavenly Father may not have been a jet pilot or an astronaut or a champion athlete in His mortal probation, but He somehow is as He lives through us mortals, and can somehow experience what we experience through an even more intimate observation.

God “groks” us all.

From the novel:
Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthling assumptions) as color means to a blind man.

September 22, 2012


Close, but I don’t think it’s quite in the bullseye. I think it is us who are going to be living each others’ experiences, and this is one of the purposes of the Last Judgement.

God already has that experience. Though I don’t doubt He finds joy in renewing it with us.

September 22, 2012

I’m not sure i see your linkage from living each others’ experiences to the Final Judgement. But let’s save that for another thread.

September 22, 2012

I think Bookslinger is right.

D&C 88:50 says that Christ is in us, and we in him.
cf. verse 53

John 15:4-7 Abide in me and I in you (parable of the vine)

Moses 6:34 thou shalt abide in me, and I in you

The only conclusion I can reach is that it is a mutual two-way street.

Bruce Nielson
September 22, 2012

Adam, I love it!

Lincoln Cannon
September 22, 2012

Adam! Amen.

September 23, 2012

Atheist or not, Simberg does nail it at times.

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