Relativity, universe, life, energy, and matter - RULEM

Relativity, as defined by Einstein, the universe and all its vastness, life as we know it, energy, and matter, both elements that exist in every corner of the universe. Einstein invented Relativity, although others before him play with some concepts. This is not a physics course, but Relativity is absolute and the rule. I must have just wasted forty-five minutes looking for a "simple" explanation of Einstein's theory; even the most straightforward answers boggle the mind, or mine at least. Here's one of the easiest to comprehend that I've found: Relativity - kudos to Rajeet for this explanation. If I were to put my philosophy into a sentence, it would be like, "We are the universe, and the universe is us." I hope I can make that understandable as we progress.

Many of you know that I don't subscribe to the theories of mysterious and invisible entities that get credit for our creation in many modern belief systems. While I find people's imaginings about our miraculous appearance on this planet fascinating, they are no more fact-based than the stories of an Easter Bunny. As a young boy, I doubted some of the stories I read and was told about our creation and the miracles in the Bible. I can imagine how this line of thinking came to be thousands of years ago. To see that in perspective, we must look back some distance, quite a long distance.

Our planet is 4.5 billion years old. At this point, we think the universe is 13.8 billion years old (and we're learning more almost daily). Humans of several species first appeared about 1 million years ago, and in our modern form, Homosapien, we have only been around for 300,000 years. We, humans, have only occupied space on planet Earth for .000066th (if a fraction is easier to understand, it would be 66/1,000,000) of the time the planet has been here and .000016th the time our universe has been around. The point here? We are so new on the scene that we almost don't yet exist.

Nonetheless, with our marvelous brains, we've concocted all matter of myths that have elevated us to a status above all other life on our planet and likely any that we may someday find elsewhere in the universe. As I discuss in my book, Religilution, it's easy to see how a population of uneducated humans plagued by disease, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and a myriad of events that were either making them sick or killing them would be frightened of everything and would seek comfort in the belief that a god or multiple gods were behind these unworldly events and that if you found a way to appease these gods, life would be easier.

Fast forward a few thousand years, and now we know so much more about our world, solar system, and universe than the authors of these many legends and tales could have even imagined that most organized religions are struggling to keep the attention and commitment of their followers. The fact is that, as part of our evolution as a species, we are coming to understand that science, math, and physics are the answer to how we and our world came to be. This creates a problem for both religious leaders and their followers. What did happen, and how did it happen? The dynamics of Relativity, the universe, life, energy, and matter occurred. We and the stars, planets, and galaxies are here, not by a magic wand but by the power of the universe and all its elements. The subtitle of my book is, There Was No Shazam!

They are moving away from the old concepts of a supreme being designing everything we see in the universe, and our role in all that through the lens of science won't be easy. Some people will cling to the old ways and beliefs until they draw their last breath. This social and intellectual transition is underway. I recently heard that in 1937, when Gallup did their first poll on religion, some seventy percent declared they went to church every Sunday. Today, that number is around forty-seven percent. This is yet another form of evolution based on knowledge and science.

What about prayer? The power and belief that prayer can change the course of events? Notwithstanding the fact that there is no evidence that prayer does change the course of history, ends wars, or engenders miracles, I think if people want to pray, they still can. If there is power in prayer, it seems to me that it's in the energy and the positive vibes embedded in that prayer that are the essential element, not that it depends on one very busy supreme being to hear as many as 8 billion prayers a day. If you pray for someone else, it's like wishing them a good day or that they succeed in whatever their endeavor might be. Those prayers going out to the person will be just as effective as going through an intermediary.

The one grip religion still has on the populace is the fear of death and wanting to believe in an afterlife. It is difficult for many people to think this is all there is. It also worries those who govern that if we do accept that this is all there is, chaos might ensue. It seems apparent to me that the originators of most belief systems saw the greed and evil prevalent in the human race. If they were to convert the heathens to followers, there had to be a reward for believing and punishment for wandering off the path of righteousness. 

Virtually every belief system requires you to walk the straight and narrow with the promise of life ever after. You will enjoy some beautiful eternity, err too severely or too often, and burn in hell or another cruel existence. Even Buddhism, while not strictly a religion, teaches you to be a better person with the promise that after multiple reincarnations, one can attain nirvana, where you would not live to suffer again. Every belief system seems to have that carrot-on-a-stick approach to getting the cooperation of its adherents.

How will science offer people such hope? Or will it? Perhaps we'll accept our place in this excellent recycling program of galaxies, stars, and planets being born and then dying as the natural state of affairs. Why should we be unique among all the vastness of the universe? Most religious teachings refer to humans being made from the earth. Dust to dust; "Genesis tells us, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." The authors of these words and more knew only of the earth beneath their feet. They couldn't imagine our solar system, the Milky Way Galaxy, or the entire universe as we know it today.

The authors of religious texts were closer to the truth than they could have known. The cosmic dust has given birth to our planet, solar system, and the universe. Our universe is ruled by birth, cataclysmic events, death, and rebirth. That is the past, present, and future of all things in the universe. Humans have contributed to that process since we came into the picture a million years ago. We are born, deal with the vagaries of life, and die. When we die, the physical element of our being decays and becomes fodder for the next generation. I believe the energy that lives within us also goes back into the ether to provide life to a new generation of life. Will that explanation satisfy the human desire to live forever? I guess we'll see in time.