Somewhere I came across the quip, “Cosmology is theology for people who can do math.” If I could start over (perhaps I can!) I might pursue science and mathematics as the best languages for discovering, if not the meaning of life, at least the making of it.
October 16th is my mother’s birthday. She and her three siblings were all born on the sixteenth of the month. I’m not sure what that signifies, but I tend to interpret many small coincidences of daily life as evidence–evidence of the universe as a wholeness, a pattern, a seamless fabric. Humanity has barely begun to explore its mysteries. As a species, we haven’t had enough time.
For me, miracles, extra-sensory perception, visions, Eureka! moments, falling in love, musical genius, and countless other mysteries might be earth-centric expressions of an other-worldly context we haven’t discovered yet.
Meanwhile, I ponder the stars.
The ancients used the stars to navigate, to make decisions about agriculture, to envision portents for their beliefs and actions. Today we have more technical knowledge of the stars as far as our devices can see into space. But we are still not much nearer to telling the story of how the stars, and the creatures of stardust, including ourselves, came to be. Why they came to be is a question science and mathematics cannot answer.
So I turn to theology, poetry, and a perpetual sense of wonder to give my life meaning and purpose, along with an infinite sense of connection to all the stuff in the universe.
Cosmology is really just theology for people who can do math.
–anonymous internet remark
Most of the universe, say scientists,
is undetectable, a force so vast
that planets, stars, all matter rushing past
our eyes and instruments, cannot resist,
and even light is now regarded less
as the eternal boundary of time.
Who is to say which art is more sublime?
Astronomers and theologians guess
the origin of earth, of humankind,
whether of God or mathematics made–
for both, the thought of what is undisplayed
a dark, compelling suction in the mind.