Noosphere, Dark Matter, and an After-life

Dec. 25, 2017

I don’t believe in an after-life. Even though at year 91 on this earth I am close to finding out for sure whether there is any truth in it.

On the other hand, a friend of mine, Mike McCowin, (who, like me, doesn’t believe in heaven and hell) recently brought me an essay of his on dark matter that got me thinking. Perhaps I will be surprised! There just might be a kind of after-life in the mix of dark matter, dark energy, and the noosphere.

Along with many, if not most, scientists, and my friend Mike, I have always assumed our universe is composed of atoms and atoms and still more atoms. It turns out that’s apparently not so. Cosmologists now claim that this is true only about the universe we can detect with our eyes, ears, and our instrument helpers. There is another universe. known only by logic and reasoning from what we can detect with our senses, We can’t see or hear this universe, as we can’t see the religious version, heaven or hell.. Scientists call it the world of dark matter and dark energy. Mike pointed out in his essay that many claim dark matter actually makes up over 80% of the known universe! I would add that dark energy must power this dark matter!!

As for the noosphere, French scientist (a paleontologist given credit for taking part in the discovery of the Peking Man), philosopher, and Catholic priest named Pierre Tielhard de Chardin popularized the concept. He saw it as an extension of the geosphere (rocks and minerals), the biosphere (living things), and then the noosphere (human thoughts). Tielhard was fond of cryptic quotes, “We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” (reminds of a quote from the Irish Catholic artist Eric Gill, “An artist is not a different kind of person; a person is a different kind of artist.”).

Teilhard preached that the human race was evolving to eventually join the mystical “body of Christ” in an eternal noosphere.

As a fallen away Catholic now that’s a bit too big an idea to swallow for me now. But I do have to admit find it attractive at my advanced age. I further admit the very existence of the noosphere is a fine idea. And Dark Matter and Dark Energy are certainly real according to many scientists.

Talking about death and dying which we are, Jane and I have been watching Ken Burns’s two documentaries on the Civil War and WW2. Both programs were fine works of art. I congratulate Burns for making them. Both films feature a lot of violence, pain, and death.

In fact, they humbled me to think of the pain in my hip, toe, and general feebleness with age. When compared to the truly ghastly pain that so many veterans had to bear in the wars. For example, one vet in WW2 who did survive but nearly lost a leg with gangrene. The surgeon was about to amputate but had only iodine to treat him. The vet didn’t want to lose the leg so he insisted the surgeon stop cutting his leg off and simply keep pouring iodine into the open wound. It must have hurt like crazy but he did save his leg and survived to tell the tale.

I have never come close to that level of pain and courage (Other vets in both wars lost many an arm or keg from amputation with no anesthetic—an experience beyond my wildest nightmares.)

I have nevertheless benefited handsomely from my violence-free vet service in WW2. I had my college paid for when I returned from the war and now in my late retirement have a big chunk of my healthcare paid for by the VA.

Another vivid war example: after seeing so many dead bodies on Omaha beach a wise vet of WW2 said, “It’s not a lot of fun to see men die.” It reminded me of my uncontrolled sobbing breakdown when seeing the American cemetery above the Beach with its many crosses. Most of the fallen comrades were just my age in WW2.

Talking about eternal things, there are the mysterious computer “clouds” as well. I really don’t know much about computer clouds so I better skip them over lightly.

Whether any of this has anything to do with me and my future in the after-llfe, I’m content to wait and sing with Peggy Lee about atoms—and dancing,

“If that’s all there is my friend, let’s keep dancing.
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball if that’s all there is.”

Alas, one trouble is that I really can’t dance anymore. And I have never liked boozy parties.

Bill Stonebarger, Owner/President, Hawkhill

P.S. For the curious looking for last-minute gift for people have everything but who care and want to know more about a life-long journey through the idea swamp, from devout Catholic to left-liberal clergy to conservative libertarian. I suggest you buy, give, and read yourself one of my recent books (cheap and, in my opinion, good reads)—Twilight or Dawn? A Traveler’s Guide to Free-Market Liberal Democracy, East Gilman Street, or Bill’s Blogs. Or view some good ideas on science and society streamed free on YouTube.

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