Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Our world is a very busy place. There are more than 7.3
billion persons now living in it. There are more than 200
sovereign nations with borders, and perhaps at least as
many areas within those borders which desire to break
away and form their own new nations. The surface
of the earth is a vast area covered by land and seas and
ice. Underneath the earth’s surface are many layers of
substances, many of which are very hot, that routinely
erupt. At all times, the climate of the earth and its
weather are changing, distributing clouds, winds, rain,
snow, heat and cold. From time to time, small objects
from space enter our atmosphere, and occasionally land
as meteors. All living things, as well, create in their
daily existence changes on the land and in the atmosphere.
Trillions of electrochemical transactions are taking place
virtually everywhere at every moment, night and day,
year in and year out. Our world is a very busy place.

Human beings superimpose a rational explanation and
description of as much of this as they can. In spite of the
age of our planet, and the age of human life on it, which
is measured in millions of years, so-called recorded
history is only about five thousand years old, and so-called
modern history is less than a thousand years old.

Before human recorded history, our ancestors lived in a
daily consciousness that noted natural patterns seen and
heard from the earth and the sky, in the seasons and the
nature of the geography where they lived. We now label
these ancestors as primitives. Their incipient cultures were
created not only from perceived natural patterns, but also
from their perceptions of irregularities, upheavals, and
unexplained phenomena.

One response  to the unexplained by many of these early
peoples and their first societies was, each in its own way,
to transform the unexplained into omens and divine signals.
Out of these came much of ritual, tradition, religions, and
finally “science.”

There is a curious reality about what we call modern science.
On the one hand, it works most of the time in a very practical
way. It was employed to create the industrial age. It enabled
human beings to fly (even to the moon and beyond), to extend
their lifetimes dramatically (including curing illnesses and
other pathologies), to create machines and devices which seem
to work amazingly (especially judged from the standards of
the past). On the other hand, science so far seems not to be an
absolute matter. Our most complex sciences, including
physics, mathematics, medicine, astronomy, chemistry, etc.,
always seem “unresolved” as our understanding of these
becomes more and more refined, and each frontier of our
perception of them presents inevitably still another frontier
and then another, sometimes even contradicting what was
perceived previously.

We still do not “know” the full structure of the atom, of the
universe, or even of the simple planet on which we live.

It is today considered superstitious to try to connect natural
omens to human events, although human beings have apparently
done this since the beginning of their time. We are now, of
course, very “sophisticated” because we have contrived
computers and “miraculous” forms of transportation, not
to mention weapons and other devices of demonstrably
immense power and force.

And yet it is curious that, at preliminary moments of great
historical transformation, there always seems to be a notable
confluence of omens and unexplained phenomena which
precede these transformative moments.

Of course, our worldwide “instant” communications have
heightened our awareness of unusual events. In the past,
all omens were local. Now they are global. Invention and
innovation, always a human trait, now occurs at dazzling
velocities. But as the ancient philosophies of the East remind
us, very few things are what they seem to be.

So how do the unusual weather patterns (both warm and cold),
the recent chains of earthquakes along many of the world’s
faults, the spate of droughts and floods, the appearances of new
and diseases and plagues, the extinctions of various species
(and the survival of others), the sudden intensities of human
nationalisms, religious activity, and the unprecedented large
number of human beings in the world connect to each other
(if at all)?

No one yet knows the answer to this question. But you don’t
have to be paying very close attention to daily news and events
to sense something curious and momentous is going on.

Copyright (c) 2014 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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