Updated: Aug 20
The following post gives a theory as to why we are here.
Start with what
Let’s start by thinking about what we are, according to our current understanding.
Our bodies are made of cells – about 37,000,000,000,000 inner worlds, each in-which about 1,000,000,000 chemical reactions take place, every second.
Cells are made of molecules, molecules of atoms, atoms of quarks and electrons.
What are quarks and electrons? No one knows… this is where our knowledge of the “physical” world runs dry (or goes abstract and turns to maths).
But these particles, which aren’t really particles, they’re more like discreet packets of energy (or "wave functions" if you want to go abstract), are the smallest things (they aren’t really things) we have been able to measure.
And your body, your car, the mountains on the horizon, your house, your dinner, your dog, even your mother is made of these “things”. The universe is made of these "things".
In other words, what you are is a multiplicity of subatomic reactions cascading into chemical reactions cascading into biological reactions that we observe and experience on a macro level we identify as “reality”.
You are more a process than a person: a vast and dynamic infrastructure of interacting, ever-changing energy patterns.
As is the universe.
We tend to think of ourselves as in the universe, observing it from the perspective of separate entities.
But the discreet packets of energy that make up your body don’t come from anywhere else.
Fundamentally, we are the universe – we are tiny expressions of it, focal points of it.
Sentient beings are the froth on the ocean’s surface. We’re the left-overs from the “explosion”… but we aren’t different from the universe and the big bang, we literally are those things. We are the fizz.
It’s like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle it’s dense. And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns… So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way out on the fringe of that bang. We are complicated little patterns on the end of it… Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you’re a complicated human being… — Alan Watts
The shape of fizz
The archetypal shape of fizz is the tree. We see this shape – comprised of trunks and branches – all around us.
We ourselves embody this shape: Our arms and legs branch out from our torso (our trunk) and our toes and fingers branch out from our arms and legs. Our hands and feet are the ultimate probes of exploration. We manipulate, create and experience our environment through our hands and feet. Our veins branch out from our arteries, our capillaries branch out from our veins, and our alveoli blossom around our capillaries. And dendrites and dendritic branches branch out from axons and nuclei in our brains.
Streets and paths branch out from motorways and roundabouts. Pipes that lead to our buildings branch out into water and sewage systems. Large corporations branch out into local neighbourhoods.
The universe itself hangs together in a tree-like, branching-out type of structure when we take into account so-called dark matter.
But the shape manifests in less obvious and tangible ways. Think about how you enact your life. You have a core base – or a trunk – which is your place of residence. You will spend a lot of time in this place. If you had a tracer on you of some kind, perhaps something that tracks body heat, so that we could view your activity from above, there would be a concentration of heat around this place in general and specific spots within it. Compare this to when you “branch” out i.e. when you go to work, or you go shopping, or fishing, or whatever. If we were to continuously track your activity and map it out from above, you would leave the shape of a kind of tree or at least a shape with tree-like properties.
This is the fizz at a macro level of trees and rivers, streets and water pipes. This activity is the universe still fizzing all these billions of years since its inception. Every decision you make, either consciously or sub-consciously pushes you in a certain direction and dictates where the fizz will find itself going next. And your fizz will interact with other peoples’, which create further reactions and cascading effects.
This fizz is the energy of the universe continuing in its unfolding. Our choices, determine where this energy moves and as a consequence, what experiences are generated – for us and for others. In many respects we are (tiny) flywheels of energy, which is probably why we have labelled ourselves as “living”.
“Life” is the name we give to processes – cascades of chemical reactions still unfurling from the big bang – captured within seemingly autonomous entities, categorised by us as plants, fish, reptiles, insects, mammals, etc…
“Death”, is the label we give to the cessation of discreet collections of chemical reactions within specific localities. "Non-living things" is the label we give to objects we consider inanimate or not complex enough to experience anything.
The tree shape is both the schematic and literal representation of how this process unfolds whether we label things as “living” or “dead”.
You are the universe. You are the fizz of the universe, but this is easy to forget/ignore/never realise because of the dream we live in; the everyday dramas we are caught up in which are the products of our chattering minds in response to the circumstances we find ourselves in – the products of language and survival instincts.
In order to reproduce – to pass on our genetic information – it seems we are hardwired to pretty much ignore at least two profound realisations:
1. our cosmic heritage – that we are made of atoms birthed from the death of stars billions of years ago; and
2. the quantum and chemical tapestry and activity underpinning what we see on the surface.
Dramas in our lives (“he said that to her”, “she did that to him”, “I’m so lonely”, “I need this, I need that” etc…) mean more to us, because they are the canvases upon which survival, sex and death play out.
All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, ... — William Shakespeare
Because of the dramas, we forget/ignore/never realise what we fundamentally are, which is the universe itself, and that the barriers we put up between each other and other animals, plants and things are conceptual.
The experiencing machine
The theory – and it is just an idea – of why we are here is intrinsically linked to these realisations and can be stated very simply: We are here to reflect back to the universe what it is. What it looks like. What it feels.
We are the aperture through which the universe observes and experiences itself through a multiplicity of different perspectives.
With trillions upon trillions of sentient entities wondering the planet, past and present, the universe has at least trillions upon trillions of different perspectives through-which to observe and experience itself… to know itself, perhaps even understand itself.
Collectively, we are the kaleidoscope through-which the universe observes and experiences itself. We refract space-time and everything space-time yields through the prism of our sentience.
Which means our primary purpose, the reason we are here – whether by design or by accident – is simply to be. Simply to experience.
When we detach from the dramas of everyday life and the incessant story-telling and categorising our minds subject us to, this realisation becomes more and more profound.
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. — Franz Kafka