Updated: Feb 3
All men have the stars, but they are not the same thing for different people. For some, who are travellers, the stars are guides. For others, they are no more than lights in the sky. But you... you alone will have the stars as no one else has them. — Le Petit Prince
I suggest the education system introduce a basic cosmology course so that kids grow up understanding how similar we all are to each other as humans (and everything else we see about us) on the most fundamental of levels: that we are all made of the same stuff, literally.
We are told that our bodies are made up primarily of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.
It's wonderful to think that, apart from hydrogen, these atoms (and a few others) were created in massive stars, billions of years ago, before being sprayed across the galaxy only to coalesce into what became our solar system, eventually giving rise to what we see all around us on planet Earth, including our own bodies.
The cooking process took place when vast stars began to collapse under their own weight. At temperatures of around 100,000,000ºC, helium fusion gave rise to carbon and oxygen. And things kicked on from there as all the other atoms we see around us today were formed.
For concise and beautiful storytelling on the matter, John Gribbin’s books are worth reading:
Rather than static entities, living organisms are exchange mechanisms, transferring carbon, oxygen and other atoms from one location in the environment to another. We are forever swapping out some atoms for others.
Our bodies are more effervescent than they feel.
We are more integrated with our environment than we feel.
And so is everything else.
Far from being separate entities standing out against a backdrop of alien matter, we are fundamentally woven into the fabric of reality.
We are not just of the universe, we are the universe… experiencing itself moment to moment.
With knowledge like this entrusted with our children from an early age and embedded in human culture, not only is racism rendered absurd and futile, fertile ground is laid for a new and more constructive level of communication to emerge between people.
It gives us a vibrant new perspective on the miracle of existence as we perceive it, even during the supposedly most mundane of moments.
Contemplate the inter-connectedness arising during every moment. When you look at a leaf or a raindrop, meditate on all the conditions, near and distant, that have contributed to the presence of that leaf or raindrop. Know that the world is woven with inter-connected strands; this is because that is, this is not because that is not; this is born because that is born; this dies because that dies. The birth and death of any dharma (phenomenon) are connected to the birth and death of all other phenomena. The one contains the many and the many contain the one. Without the one, there can’t be the many and without the many there cannot be the one. — Buddha