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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


 

Universe

 


 

 

"Not only is the universe stranger than we think, it's stranger than we can think." Werner Karl Heisenberg

 

 

to give you all things, one star at a time...

Jamie Sullivan and Landon Carter 

"I have something for you."

"What is it?"

"It's a certificate from the National Star Registry. You have your own star now. I named it after you."

(sighing) "I love it so much!"

 

 

Fred Hoyle: "There is a coherent plan in the universe, though I don't know what it's a plan for."

Albert Einstein: "A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

Albert Einstein: "I cannot believe that God would choose to play dice with the universe."

Joseph Ford: "Not only is God playing dice with the universe, He's using loaded dice."

Robert Jastrow: "It seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation.  For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream.  He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries." (quoted in, Smoot, G. and Davison, K. Wrinkles in Time. Wm. Morrow, New York, 1993. p. 291).

Don Morse: "The universe is approximately 15 billion years old. Had it been much younger, then intelligent mankind would not be around to observe it. Had it been much older, then the universe would have either had the stars die out or be on the way to a big crunch. In either case, mankind would no longer be around to observe it. Is it just pure chance that the universe is just old enough for it to be observable by humanity? The huge number of chance happenings [which caused life as we know it to come about] had led the cosmologist, Brandon Carter, to formulate the anthropic principle. This basically means that the incredible sequence of coincidences that led to the present universe and the formation of life on Earth must have happened because, from the very beginning, all of the various laws of physics were so fine-tuned to expressly allow for the eventual emergence of humanity."

Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson: "The universe in some sense must have known we were coming" (quoted in Smoot, G. and Davidson, K. Wrinkles in Time. Wm. Morrow, New York, 1993, p. 293).

Christopher Morley: "My theology, briefly, is that the universe was dictated but not signed."

Don Morse: "When I was a graduate student, I was informed that physics is an exact science and that some day the universe would be completely deterministic. However, with the formulation of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and the development of quantum mechanics, it now appears that when the most finite particles are examined (quarks [of which there are at least three], gluons, bosons, photons, and other sub-atomic particles), these particles can no longer have separate and well-defined positions and velocities. In fact, these particles behave in some way as if they were waves rather than particles. An incredible, yet scientifically verified fact about quarks, is that our observation of them changes their position and appearance. That is, human observation of these quantum particles affects them! This had led to the belief that without the human observer, these finite particles would not exist. This leads us to the well-known hypothetical question, If a tree fell in a forest and there was no one there to observe it, would it really have fallen? This basic philosophy question - given new impetus from the research showing that subatomic particles respond to their observation - requires a rather startling assumption. That is, prior to the development of human consciousness, the literal universe could not exist because it requires observation of itself. If the physical universe did exist prior to human consciousness, then it could mean that every living creature, including a virus or a bacterium, has some form of consciousness."

Woody Allen: "I'm astounded by people who want to 'know' the universe when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown."

Rocky Kolb, Blind Watchers of the Sky: "Earlier than about 3.3 million years after the bang, the universe was too warm for comfort. In fact, it was hotter than hell (assuming that the temperature of hell is about the boiling point of brimstone, 445 degrees Celsius). This era might have theological implications, but nothing of interest to cosmologists occurred at this time; the universe seemed to pass uneventfully through the temperature of hell."

Sir Fred Hoyle, London Observer, Sept. 9, 1979: "Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards."

Plato, The Republic: "Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another."

Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn: "We had the stars up there," said Huck, "And we use to lie on our backs and look up at them and discuss 'bout whether they was made or just happened. Jim he allowed that the stars was made, but I allowed they just happened. Jim said the Moon could'a laid them; Well, that looked kind of reasonable so I didn't say nothing against it. I've seen a frog lay most as many, so of course it could be done." 

Vincent van Gogh: "Sometimes I have a terrible need of - shall I say the word - religion. Then I go out at night and paint the stars."

Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: "There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."

Robin Williams: "Never go to Pluto, it's a Mickey Mouse planet."

Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: "In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."

Peter de Vries: "The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination, but the combination is locked up in the safe."

James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe: "Life exists in the universe only because the carbon atom possesses certain exceptional properties."

Aristotle, Politics: "Nature does nothing without purpose or uselessly."

Ayn Rand: "To demand 'sense' is the hallmark of nonsense. Nature does not make sense. Nothing makes sense."

J.B.S Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Essays: "Now, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose ... I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of, or can be dreamed of, in any philosophy."

Dr. Gary E. Schwartz, The AfterLife Experiments: "...as I stood at my hotel window looking out at the stars and the light coming from other windows in my view, the thought came to me that starlight, traveling in space forever, could be interpreted as an expression of immortality... long after stars have 'died,' photons of their energy i.e., their light -- continue to exist. Suddenly I realized that the moonlit glow illuminating my body was also traveling into space... A being out in space, with a sufficiently sensitive instrument of the right design, could clearly detect my photons as they whizzed past. I asked myself, 'What kind of God would allow the starlight from distant stars to continue forever, even after the star has 'died' -- a fundamental premise of contemporary astrophysics -- yet would not provide the same opportunity for our personal biophotons?'... The philosopher-scientist in me wondered, 'If there really was a 'Grand Organizing Designer,' and this G.O.D. created eternal starlight, why wouldn't she/he/it/they have allowed our own personal electromagnetic waves -- our information and energy -- to be eternal as well?' This realization was accompanied by a deep personal revelation, in which I experienced myself as an extended energy being, continuously reflecting visible and invisible light into space."

Anonymous: "Cows in space: the herd shot around the world." 

Albert Einstein: "Nature conceals her secrets because she is sublime, not because she is a trickster."

American Museum of Natural History web site: "Einstein mathematically showed that objects, such as the Sun and planets, bend "space-time," or the four-dimensional arena in which all things exist. Imagine the depression you make by standing in the middle of a trampoline. Roll a ball across the trampoline's surface, and it is redirected by the "valley" your mass forms. To Einstein, space-time valleys create the effect of gravity. So, the bowl-shaped warp made by Earth's mass, for example, alters the course of an object, like a satellite, that travels into that warp. Large objects such as the Sun and planets aren't the only masses that warp the fabric of space-time. Anything with mass - including your body - bends this four-dimensional cosmic grid. The warp, in turn, creates the effect of gravity, redirecting the path of objects that travel into it. The strength of gravity depends on the size of the space-time warp. A large object with little mass creates a smaller distortion than a tiny object with a huge mass."

James Jeans, The Mysterious Universe: "The stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine."

Henry David Thoreau: "The universe is wider than our views of it."                                             

 

 

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