Saturday, July 04, 2009


In the beginning, nobody knows what happened. So I won't even try to guess. But it might have had something to do with a divine being. It might have had something to do with an end. Either way, we're here now. We're as ignorant as ever, if not more so. And we celebrate our independence on a designated date.

Everything in between is full of birth and death. The birth of galaxies, and the death of stars. For a long time there was death, long before there was a human being. Life and death make up the entirety of the universe. There isn't a center, nor are there edges. Only cycles. Life and death, over and over again.

The death of the first plant wasn't special, it was necessary. The first death of an animal wasn't anything remarkable either. Even the first human death was just part of the billions of years of a perpetual cycle: life and death. It wasn't tragic, sad or unjust. Death came after birth, and so all was natural.

Eventually, the birth of something strange came along, and is still with us today. The birth of awareness. Humans became aware of their death. They realized that they would eventually die. This is relatively new, only a few thousand years old. Before this, nothing realized that it would die. It simply lived until its completion. Whether it was an amoeba, a flower or a kangaroo, it just did it's thing until the end of its life.

The birth of human awareness has not yet died, but it will. Everything has its cycle, and so we will have ours. It's possible that other creatures possessed self-awareness before our time, but that is not for us to know. But while we have awareness, we must grapple with things like justice, religion, emotion, logic and freedom. We have created these rules for dealing with our awareness, this way in which we can cope with our "knowledge" of ourselves. We are blessed and cursed to be born with awareness. But also just in the midst of another cycle.

And so it is appropriate to ponder these things on Independence Day. We live in a country that admits us to think for ourselves. It is a great privilege to be free, but one that requires a mess of idiocy. We must live amidst Westboro Baptists, racists and fools. And we must give them just as much freedom as the meek, the poor and the mistreated. It is a terribly unfair country, but it must be in order to maintain our human rule of freedom. So in some paradoxical way, it is entirely fair.

It is fair, because it is a part of a present cycle. America will eventually see its death, and the birth of something else will emerge. Perhaps whatever is born will be without awareness, and the death of America will coincide with the death of human awareness. That is surely an absurd assumption, but only because I choose to follow the rules that coincide with my awareness. In the end, I don't know. My awareness is limited to birth and death. Whatever happened in the beginning is not for me to know, for it was not birth. And whatever happens in the end will not be for me to know either, for it will not be death. Birth and death are for us, and when we lose our awareness, they will cease to exist.

But there was a beginning, it came before birth. And the end will come, it will be long after our deaths.

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