To Sing Among Stars

To Sing Among Stars

Kim Peart

April 2013

I am currently a passenger on a starship called Earth.

I can close my eyes and imagine the vast cosmic ocean through which my planet vessel sails on its endless journey among the stars.

In accepting my status as a starfarer, I can also wonder what life would be like for denizens of an orbital space settlement in the outer Solar System or a community of ten thousand souls in a generational starship in deep space. [1]

Earth sails among so many billions of glittering stars, so many galaxies, all shining brightly, where suns explode to shed their raw material into space that will form new stars, new planets and become the raw building blocks of life.

In my inner delving I also contemplate a vaster realm that scientists call the multiverse, in which our Universe floats as if a bubble, like a cosmic womb of life in a much greater ocean, and wonder what this transcendent realm is really like.

There could be an infinite number of other universes in the multiverse.

One way to approach the multiverse is to consider just how bizarre our Universe is.

We are familiar with the four dimensions of our cosmic home, with one for time and three for space.

Scientists now look to another seven dimensions, simply to be able to explain the structure of our Universe.

If it takes eleven dimensions to make a universe, what must the environment of the transcendent multiverse be like?

The multiverse could hardly be less amazing than our Universe.

Our science is great at explaining in detail the workings of the cosmos, but is hard-pressed to tackle the multiverse, as science is focused on the description of the natural laws of the Universe and as cosmic information is confined to the cosmos, it is largely unable to address questions concerning a realm that transcends our Universe.

Any scientific inquiry into the multiverse is confined to extensions of natural law, which may be no better than a babe in the womb attempting to describe the outside world.

If we cannot use the observational power of science to delve properly into the multiverse, could we look to our inner experience as a way to perceive that which transcends Nature?

There are some basic qualities of our cosmos that offer an indication of how our inner journey can reveal the edge of the Universe and the shoreline of the transcendent realm.

When we consider the most basic quality of our Universe, we find the cosmos begins as an infinitely small point, or singularity, that stretches to become our vast Universe and as there is no difference between space and time, both are stretched toward infinity.

An infinitely small point stretched to infinity is essentially, nothing stretched.

So if the Universe is a vast stretched nothingness, in which energy dances on a cosmic stage like a play of phantoms, it is the underlying transcendent realm that we must look to for that which is real.

One way to gain an appreciation of the cosmic oneness of the Universe and also the qualities of the transcendent realm is through the discipline of meditation, where the objective is to achieve a quiet mind and a heart that is open to the qualities of a transcendent experience.

In life we face the rigours of cause and effect, action and reaction, as laws work against each other to deliver new beginnings, where science is confined to the observation and description of this process within the body of our Universe.

There is much more to life than the laws that confine and in the human experience we delight in love, happiness and beauty, giving expression to these qualities in our relationships, the raising of our children and in the making of the arts.

When our experience of happiness connects with a sense of cosmic oneness, then we can go beyond the limitations of law, beyond the play of cause and effect and be open to the transcendent realm.

We may come upon this experience in a work of art, which Kenneth Clarke once described as being able to lift us to "a higher plane of reality." [2]

We may find the experience in music that carries our heart and soul to great heights through its rising movement of ethereal sound.

We might feel the experience wash over us in a place of natural beauty and be enthralled at all the Universe can offer.

For some, the steady discipline of meditation allows an inner journey into the cosmic heart, to win a quiet mind that is open to the transcendent realm.

My journey into meditation included a pilgrimage to India in 1986, following which I moved from the city to be close to Nature by a bay of the sea amidst forests, farmlands and mountainous hills. [3]

As an artist, I was ever sensitive to Nature's beauty and after living in the hamlet of Murdunna for a time, I began to feel the life-force of the Earth, which I like to describe as the magic of Nature.

This feeling has never left and brings me a sense of connection with Nature.

It was from this time that I sought to see how we humans could live in harmony with the Earth and wondered if the key lay in the culture in which we live our daily lives and engage with the world.

When looking to indigenous views of living with the Earth, I heard the words of William Takaku of Papua New Guinea in 1993, when he said on the radio, "Nature is culture. We must learn from Nature. When man sees himself as separate from Nature, he is doomed." [4]

I embraced these words of indigenous wisdom and began to wonder how they applied to the Western scientific mind-set, with our views of evolution and cosmic expansion.

I began to wonder if the life-force of Nature was seeking the expansion of life beyond Earth.

Expansion was the most primal force of Nature from the beginning of time, so why should it not be a force in human evolution?

If this is the case that we must embrace, then I wondered how could the cosmic expansion of life happen?

Could the emergence in Nature of a clever toolmaker that could build spaceships be the means to expand life beyond Earth? [5]

Carl Sagan once wrote, "Since, in the long run, every planetary society will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring - not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive." [6]

There is a high probability that the dinosaurs met their demise when a monster asteroid struck the Earth 65 million years ago and even a small 15-metre asteroid can pack a powerful punch, as happened over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in February 2013.

If this small rock from space had exploded a little closer to the ground, the city could have been flattened and thousands killed.

When I look back at our recent history, I can see that we could have initiated our expansion beyond Earth in the 1970s, by building solar power stations in space and launching industry beyond Earth, which would have enabled the construction of orbital space settlements that generate an Earth-gravity via rotation. [7]

Earth-gravity space settlements could also become the basis for a starship that carries life from Earth to the stars on a journey lasting generations.

By failing to make the transition from carbon to stellar energy, we have burnt too much fossil fuel, releasing vast volumes of carbon dioxide into our planet's biosphere, which has now become a toxin in the body of Nature.

We have made the Earth sick and if this disease goes on for too long, we may wonder if the Earth will die.

Astronomers look out among the stars and wonder why they find no evidence of alien civilizations.

Carl Sagan believed that there could be as many as a million extra-terrestrial races in our galaxy and given a few million years, some of them should have spread out to all the stars in the Milky Way.

Should we wonder if this silence from the stars is a warning for us?

Have a million civilizations emerged on planets like Earth, only to burn their planet's fossil fuel reserves too long and brought on the heat death of their planet and their own extinction?

If killer asteroids from space are not enough to wake us up, maybe the stellar silence will.

There is now an Earth Hour aimed at raising awareness about the needs of the Earth.

Should there be a cosmic hour held each year, where all people on Earth are invited to stop and listen to the screaming silence from space; and know that this could be a warning for our own cosmic survival?

The 1979 hit movie 'Alien' was famously promoted with the tagline, "In space no one can hear you scream."

If the silence from the stars is because no juvenile species has so far managed to survive to maturity as a stellar civilization, then there will be no one in space to hear our scream, should we stumble into an oblivion of our own making, creating a hell on Earth from which our species will never emerge.

Could we learn to sing an end to the stellar silence?

The powers on Earth turned from the path to space, to burn fossil fuel for energy like there was no tomorrow and now we face the price of forcing our growth and expansion on Earth alone.

Instead of expanding with life and Nature among the stars, we have become a cancer on this planet, threatening all life on Earth.

If we awaken to our plight and move as one with the expansion of life, anything will become possible as life expands among the stars.

I wonder if our fate may now be in the hands of the ordinary people of starship Earth, demanding that we get on with the building of solar power stations in space, so that industry can be launched beyond Earth and the first Earth-gravity space settlement constructed, which could be located anywhere around the Solar System. [8]

In the early 1970s the Princeton professor, Gerard K. O'Neill, estimated that the asteroid belt alone held enough raw material to build orbital space settlements with a land area 3,000 times that of Earth. [9]

If ten million people demanded action on building our celestial future and helped make it happen, we might avoid adding to the silence of the stars.

A teacher once said, "The meek shall inherit the Earth."

I now wonder if the meek will inherit the Earth and the stars; but they had better get smart and be quick about it, as time may not be on our side.

I would not mind moving into space and living in an orbital settlement, where I would close my eyes and feel the life-force of Nature expanding from Earth among the stars.

In meditation in deep space I would also ponder upon the transcendent realm and be open to an experience of the underlying reality of the cosmos.

In deep space we may sing as whales in the ocean and share our song with distant islands among the stars.

I am in deep space now, on starship Earth, connected through cosmic oneness with all of space and time and through the underlying reality, with the transcendent realm as well.

This is a deeply intimate bond that connects us all in the vast cosmic oneness and beyond.

When we open our hearts to the experience, we can feel the heart of Nature and allow this beauty of life to flow through us, to empower us to fly with Nature in the expansion of life beyond Earth.

In this hour of danger, when our foolishness is causing harm to life on Earth, we might take note of the words of James Lovelock when he writes, "We are deeply impressed with the power of our weapons, yet they are puny compared with the most powerful weapon of all: creative intelligence." [10]

Appreciating that we now travel on a starship may help to give us the vision to do that which we must for human survival and a healthy Earth.

By expanding beyond Earth and securing our future in the celestial realm, we will gain a confident survival position to deal with all problems on Earth.

With direct access to stellar energy from the Sun, we will be able to extract excess carbon from the Earth's biosphere and even reprocess the carbon back into a useful resource for Earth and space industries.

With the energy of the Sun, we could also create a stellar economy without poverty, which would be the way to achieve peace on Earth and deliver security among the stars.

For those who can, practicing the discipline of meditation will help individuals connect to the heart of life and become empowered to live beyond fear.

When we are free of fear and empowered by love, we will find the freedom to take action for survival and the expansion of life from Earth among the stars.

When we accept that we are starfarers now, flying through the cosmic ocean on starship Earth, then we may begin to lose the fear of expansion.

Beyond fear we can learn to sing the song of love for life and fly with the life-force of Nature among the stars.

Notes ~

[1] The YouTube 'Habitat' by Fragomatik of Sydney offers a glimpse of a generational ship that could sail across the ocean of space ~

[2] 'Landscape into Art' by Kenneth Clark, 1947, p.33 of the 1976 edition ~ "Facts become art through love, which unifies and lifts them to a higher plane of reality; and in landscape, this all embracing love is expressed as light."

[3] This pilgrimage was to the ashram of Sathya Sai Baba, Prasanthi Nilayam, in southern India.

[4] William Takaku was heard speaking on Radio National in 1993. At the time William was the director of the Papua New Guinea National Theatre Company and had been travelling his homeland, collecting traditional stories. He later starred as Man Friday in a film of Robinson Crusoe with Pierce Brosnan in 1997.

[5] My observations are explored in my 2006 document, revised in 2012 ~ 'Creating A Solar Civilization' ~

[6] 'Pale Blue Dot' by Carl Sagan, 1994, p.371

[7] I have explored why we did not act on space development in a timely fashion in my recent article ~ 'A Deeper Level of Denial' ~ published in the Tasmanian Times ~

[8] Fragomatik's YouTube, 'Habitat 2', offers a unique glimpse into the future we could be living ~

[9] 'The High Frontier' by Gerard K. O'Neill, 1977, p.16 ~ This work offers a blueprint for launching a stellar civilization, which can be updated, should we become interested in a plan to assure our cosmic survival.

[10] 'The Vanishing Face of Gaia' by James Lovelock, 2009, p.157

Published ~

Journal of Space Philosophy, Volume 2, Number 1, Spring 2013 ~

Tasmanian Times, 22 April 2013 ~

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