The Comet Sings!

Posted November 15th, 2014 in Blog, Featured Comments Off on The Comet Sings!

Friends – I have had precious little time to post here for a more than a week, but here’s the thing I want to share briefly this weekend.

Philae separates from mothership on its descent to the comet.

Philae separates from mothership on its descent to the comet.

We humans are destroying the web of life on this planet.  AND – We humans have landed a tiny machine on a comet (67P) 310,000,000  miles away and it is currently doing science. It is doing research into the origins of the solar system. We are doing this because we are driven to do this – to learn, to know, because that is who we really are. Even if it upsets old cosmologies, old religions, old knowledge – as we expand this drive to know, to learn, out as far as we possibly can, and then farther.

And  yet we are contaminating, chewing up, ravaging the biosphere and atmosphere of this planet so that we can have economies based on consuming things that we then throw away,  though nothing in reality is ever thrown away – it all just goes from here to there, to waste piles that some other part of the world is made to endure and which the Earth can no longer absorb.

I feel this bifurcation among the species growing, getting stronger, becoming the paramount tension in this journey of the human: toward a dreadful future and quick demise, or, that other possibility.

Comet 67P - European Space Agency

Comet 67P – European Space Agency

This morning I was stricken with this message from the Philae Lander on Comet 67P – the comet sings! With super sensitive sound detectors and the technology to enhance it many times, Philae has sent back the vibrating sounds of this ancient piece of rock, this icy debris that never found a planet and has been soaring around the solar system all these billions of years all alone (Imagine its surprise when this little guy bounced on its surface!). If the technical glitches that have threatened its ability to power its batteries from the sun are overcome (and this morning it appears that may be the case), one of the things they may discover is some hint or real evidence of why life happened here – here – HERE – and as far as we know, nowhere else.

And my question now is – for what? Did the life that evolved here go off on some dead-end course to its own demise –  just as we are reaching these heights of knowledge and, possibly, even some wisdom, some sense of the real meaning of this human? And what is that meaning? Well, I don’t know for sure, obviously, and we probably never will; but I do believe it is revealed in exactly the kinds of stunning achievements like this one – or the possible first-time detection of dark matter, or the data Voyagers I and II are sending back from interstellar space, having passed beyond the solar system after a 37 year-long journey.

Our technological prowess has led us to this fork in the road. That prowess can lead us now deeper into the Great Unraveling, or we can harness it for the sake of the thirst to know, to see our place, to be at the service of powers beyond what we will ever fully know and understand, to probe mystery and meaning – and stop all this destructive foolishness for the sake of this kind of giddy wonder and awe.

After all, as far as we know, in all the observable universe (and who knows what is going on in the space and time we cannot observe – which is most of the universe), we are the only place where a quest like this is even possible. So how can we squander this ability by using it to destroy our very place in that universe?

So here’s my meditation for the weekend. Just sit and listen to this. Then listen to it again. Put it on a thread that just keeps repeating over and over again. Realize fully what you are hearing. The comet sings!

The cosmos sings!! And here is one of its songs.

For more on what you are hearing: “Rosetta’s Comet Sings a Mysterious Song”


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