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The fascinating journey through our existence – from sunrise to sunset, with an outlook to the future – has come to an end.
As indicated in the Introduction, this essay addressed the questions: What is the essence of all the writings on the website “www.schwab-writings.com”? What is their contribution to the vast amount of information available on the internet? And, mainly, what remains as the author’s vision of a life on Earth and constitutes his legacy?
This has resulted in an overview of experiencing and observing personal human existence in this world for the short time of one’s life – augmented by comments about meaning and direction in life – and expectations for the future.
Therefore, some key essays of the author’s website were assembled, some were condensed, and the result was combined in this essay – presenting an arching overview – composed of the following chapters providing the following “messages”:
1. The origin: The beginning of existence was an abstract “energy field” phenomenon (whatever that means) in thereby originating space – the beginning of the universe, of life, and of the human mind – leading to the fantastic evolutionary morning of thought, emotions, and aesthetics on Earth, offering us the possibility for great fulfillment of our lives.
The message? Our existence and life are based on the original energy of our universe expressed in field phenomena in empty space – whatever fields in thereby originating space are – providing us with an almost transcendental participation in the origin – gaining significance by particle and force formations – and the combinatorial formation of ever larger units in ongoing evolution – to the point of arriving at life, then our consciousness and potential to act – for the limited period of our life and existence – since we will find a “homecoming”, as all existence will ultimately end or be dissipated.
2. The human mind: Our mind offers a variety of capabilities on various levels and at various strengths – from memory, focusing, recognition, and emotions to visualizations, creativity, ethics, personality, art, consciousness, and a degree of free will.
The message? It is interesting and important to understand the structure, functioning, and individual strengths of our mind and its limitations in order to understand ourselves and our fellow humans in our thoughts and actions. We are challenged to better develop and utilize this potential.
3. Meaning, purpose, direction of life: This chapter discusses the essential philosophical and theological questions of our human life.
The message? We may not be able to communicate with or ever find support from the ultimate transcendental “Structure Providing Essence of Existence”, God. What remains, however, is our own responsibility to gradually improve the conditions here on Earth, to develop our potential as best we can, mainly to care for our fellow humans, society, and nature – while enjoying the beauty of art and nature.
4. Practical Advice for the Young: To reach contentment, success, or fulfillment – a basic essay with complex footnotes.
The message? Different advice may have to be given to individuals of different personality and background. In any event, each individual will have to strive to develop a capable mind, a favorable personality, and as healthy a body as possible – combined with favorable interhuman connections – to grow for fulfillment, serve family and community, and enjoy the good and the beautiful of this world.
5. A meditation: More thoughts to support us on our path through life: a proposed “Meditation”.
The message? There may not be any prayers in the thoughts of the unbelievers – but there can very well be meditations to support us on our path through life.
6. The Beatitudes: The “Beatitudes”, a core teaching of the New Testament (Matthew, Chapter 5), still offer thoughts to guide us on our path through life in the modern world.
The message? The Beatitudes, presented some 2,000 years ago, can very well find a modern interpretation in benevolently guiding us through our lives.
7. Joy about Life, Nature, Art, and Culture: The emotional goal of life
The message? A selection of short stories opens the eyes to the multitude of possible joyful experiences in the course of life – from childhood to old age. May we not only experience joy, but also communicate it to those who are suffering, have failed, or are lonely!
8. Old Age: Can we influence the quality of our life in old age? At least, we should understand how aging is experienced. At the end of life, is there a homecoming for us?
The message? The many of us who are allowed to live long enough should think about how we will conduct old age, as Cicero and Plato wrote about it. Philosophy and a positive attitude (with initiative) can help us through the early phases. Calm and supportive understanding can help in the later phase – until an unbelievably peaceful “near death experience” can guide us into a homecoming to nature.
9. The future: What are the essential challenges for the future of mankind – requiring action now?
The message? There have been, and still will be, a variety of great natural catastrophes threatening life on Earth (see list). But too many risks to our lives are derived from our own and our societies shortcomings, not addressed while we are concentrating only on the current problems of the day – see the detailed discussion with some suggestions. The United Nations has disappointed. Could there be a committee of especially suitable and proven leaders of mankind to address the risks and also to point out the great opportunities for mankind in the future – to provide some guidance? Action is urgently needed!
The nine preceding chapters of this essay on personal existence present an overview of the scientific and philosophical thought of our time. It thereby represents a modern edition of “De Rerum Natura” written by the Roman philosopher Lucretius (full name, Titus Lucretius Carus, having lived from 99 BC to 55 or 50 BC). He wrote his observations in the form of a Homerian poem, as an overview of the scientific worldview of his time (including the human mind, thought, and death) – which, in turn, was based on the ancient Greek philosophy of Democritos (460 to 370 BC) – after a scientific view of natural cause and effect had been initiated by Thales of Miletus of Phoenician parents (624 to 546 BC). Thales presented his thoughts in connection with an earthquake, which he explained as resulting not from divine interference but from natural causes.
This progress in thought and knowledge in the ancient world was interrupted by the progressing Christian faith and the appearance of a church structure in society at the end of the Western Roman Empire.
Actually, no world religion ever actively sponsored progress of thought and knowledge through scientific research that might, or did, lead to a weakening of a fundamentalist view of omnipotent divine guidance of world events (even in each detail) – or that could lead to a weakening of the power of religious hierarchies. Even the statement in the Qur’an to study nature, in order to better understand God, was contradicted by other Muslim statements that no part of the Qur’an could ever be changed.
Only as the reward derived from scientific progress in medicine, technology, and industry became overwhelming (long after the Renaissance) did a rational (or scientific) worldview increasingly dominate first Western and then global thought. Insecure people took refuge in religious fundamentalism – which should be respected when it supports the weak or suffering, but not when it suppresses the freedom of mental progress.
What could be a final message from the departing mind to family, friends, and all of humanity on that small planet Earth floating in space for a limited amount of remaining time?
The greatest dangers on a general level (besides other natural ones, as listed) are climate change, overpopulation, poor governance (also by misguiding religious hierarchies) in too many parts of the word, and the lack of a convincing economic-political theory.
On a personal level, the dangers result from exploitation of others, violence against the innocents, and lack of discipline in personal life – including drug addiction and mental radicalization.
The opportunities can be found in periods of peace and mental progress for society – requiring more tolerance, education, and the dedicated pursuit of “growth, service, and joy of nature and the arts” in an orderly life.
“Take care of natural survivability and social harmony on spaceship Earth. You together have only this one!”
My personal summary comments:
- Human life (and all of nature) can be seen as burdened with much suffering and hopelessness in a most cruel world. But our life can temporarily be joyfully lifted by the perception of goodness and beauty – and by the warmth of companionship.
Open your eyes and open your hearts!
- There must be deep admiration for that ultimately transcendental “essence” from which the greatness of this and possibly other universes and their structure resulted. But there may be no transcendental support to protect us against adversity or to lean on, as traditionally believed.
- What remains is the responsibility for all of us to contribute as best we can to a better world.
- The practical problems of our world must be the greatest focus of our world leaders, our democratic governments, and all of us – demanding action:
o Climate or weather risks for large areas on Earth and their populations
o Economic optimization and stabilization in spite of ideological/political turmoil as in questions of fiscal soundness of nations while improving job opportunities
o Improvement of our democratic system for sound functioning between ideological opponents, financial interests and the weakness of politicians
o General and unbalanced population growth!
- As individuals, we must primarily strive to honestly establish an economic base for us, our family, and our community – for a basically healthy, adequately free and dignified life.
- All individual living beings strive to develop their potential – and so must we, to fulfill our life.
- The striving for mere wealth, power, and entertainment is inadequate and may be destructive – especially when combined with the exploitation of others.
- We can strive for the light of mental growth in exploration and personality improvement.
- The love and caring for others, for our family and community, and the service to our society or to the natural environment provide our happiest fulfillment.
- The joy of aesthetics and beauty in nature and the arts is a special gift of Creation to us.
Farewell to Earth
And a final report from Earth
As my soul was timelessly floating with all those others in transcendental space – but perceiving cosmic existence in the distance – I wondered what was going on out there, in that real world. Was that endless forming and disappearing of all those round objects, whether suns or planets, in their endless circular orbits, in groups as galaxies or as solar systems within those, was that all that was going on out there forever and ever – until, after some time, all would be gone again, faded, dissolved?
The Ultimate Essence of our being there in transcendental space, the Great Light, must have sensed my feelings. Then a messenger appeared and asked me whether I wanted to have a closer look at such material existence in distant cosmic space.
I hesitantly said “yes – please”.
“There is only one problem”, the messenger said. “You must take material form and participate in the natural laws of the place you select to visit.”
“How can I select a place if I don’t know anything about that phenomenon of material existence? What should I choose?”
“We could send you to the place of an interesting experiment that we are running there – on an insignificant and very small planet in an insignificant galaxy. Some time ago, we let some material building blocks appear there and some rules of their functioning, allowing them to combine in larger structures – then left that place alone for a long time. It was amazing what appeared. Unfortunately, some unusual effects of those initial rules of functioning brought some moments of evolutionary standstill, when one type of organic structure controlled everything else and prevented further progress. Then, we had to interfere – by temporarily extinguishing practically everything, letting some new combinations take over and continue the evolutionary progress of our experiment – which then became more complex and beautiful.”
“I am ready to go”, I said.
“Go soon, before the next collapse may occur – because those latest new structures obtained too much power – and are close to extinguishing themselves.”
“How will I go there?”
“You will appear there just as one of those complex building blocks – looking like the others – with legs and arms and a head, to store memories and to make decisions for action – and with eyes to see. You will be capable of touching and moving – but, mainly, you will be able to understand and to function. There will be a variety of new emotions for you – to feel both positive and negative values.
You will wear out in less than a mere 100 years and be called back at that time – if you did not commit unacceptable acts. Then you will have to give a report about what you observed.”
By now, I have been here on that little remote planet which the inhabitants call “Earth” for more than 80 years. I am almost worn out and ready to go back. But being here is still a very exciting experience – many beautiful views can still be perceived – most importantly, I am very “emotionally attached” to the close members of those “building block structures” around me, the most sophisticated ones being called “humans”, some others “animals”. Deep sorrow would befall me, and possibly some of them, if I had to leave now – and if not at least a few of them could follow me into my original transcendental space.
Wait a minute! I was told that I would have to give a report! What is the summary of observations of those more than 80 years here on Earth? What is the essence of my report – not to say recommendations – to offer when I will be called to report?
What are my farewell greetings to those I will have to leave behind on Earth?
What struck me most were two observations: the pervasive destructiveness and cruelty reigning on Earth, and the wonderfully positive rejuvenating capability of every new generation – mainly combined with a joyful and warm emotional interconnection between those organisms there.
How could that be? What could be done to let the positive prevail over the negative?
The negative on Earth apparently resulted from five design rules of the experiment there, which should be considered for change in a next phase of this experiment or for another experiment somewhere else:
- Each organism on Earth needs energy for its development. The simple organisms receive that from their sun. The others, however, must actually attack and devour other organisms for their own survival and growth. On a micro-level, this includes the destructive attacks of microbes, viruses, and fungi – or the attacks of parasites and predators! All of this together brings enormous cruelty and destructiveness.
Could a different energy cycle be found – leading to peace among all?
- Accidents, sudden events, can bring great suffering – from tsunamis to merely a wrong step resulting in a fall. Actually, it is the fast time scale of such events which lets those organisms on Earth get into trouble – not allowing for quick adjustment or escape.
Can the timescale on Earth be slowed down and the reaction speed of humans increased in order to avoid accidents – possibly by electronic nerves and brains?
- All organisms tend to over-multiply, thereby increasing competition and let the fittest prosper, while the others suffer.
Multiplication should be restricted to available space and supply – and be allowed more for the best performers under the given conditions. Additionally, a restraint of the often violent desire to multiply, especially among males, would be beneficial.
- Humans have all the desire to belong to groups – whether genetically connected, political, religious, athletic, artistic, or other. Then they are ruled by “leaders” or the members of “elite” supporting subgroups – suppressing the others – to exploit them – causing much cruel fighting and suffering among the losers.
How could each individual find its own place in the building of great societies, in harmony and peace – being content and, yet, committed to do its best where it stands?
- Much suffering on Earth results from improper formation of the body or mind. Especially sad are unbalanced emotional conditions or mental diseases – also depressions, loneliness, rage, or, at worst, criminality – often in personal, political, or religious obsessions. Only lower animals, such as insects, can do without that.
Is there no beneficial level in between, possibly solvable through more disciplined genetic processes?
The positive on Earth is the result of specific emotions one can find out there:
- The proximity and connected living with other members of one’s species (or pets) provides a feeling of emotional “warmth” and joyful happiness, providing for the happy upbringing of the young, family life, and cohesion of larger groups.
A stronger development of this emotion of “empathy” among all humans could further increase happiness on Earth.
- The right balance between group coordination and remaining freedom, personal creativity and initiative, is at the foundation of the successful evolution on Earth.
The restraint of political and religious suppression combined with law-and-order in society stimulates cultural and intellectual evolution – leading to favorable periods of history on Earth.
- The sensing and appreciation of joy and beauty, as in art and nature, is a most wonderful part of being on Earth – hopefully maintained and expanded in the future.
- Humor can be a wonderful complement to the concerns of daily life and a resolution of many frictions and problems.
- This combination of sensing the warmth of human contacts and perceiving joy and the beauty of nature and art in the world makes it very difficult to want to leave Earth! A complex and profound happiness – in the midst of all the suffering – could possibly be found only there. The reduction of suffering and the increased availability for favorable development could render the experiment “Earth” still more positive – providing more joy!
This report must be submitted in greatest humility and reverence for that transcendental and ultimate structure providing and spiritual “Essence of Existence”!
Now comes my time to leave.
All you humans there keep contributing positively to the experiment “evolution”!
Don’t tire of improving the conditions on Earth for all!
Bring a little warmth and the light of joy to each other!
Could I be allowed to bring at least my dear personal companion in life and our children – possibly also my parents and siblings – along with me to transcendental peace?
Then I was gone – preserved again in endless transcendental peace, stability, and harmony!
What is that feeling of warm proximity surrounding me, as if I had brought something along from Earth?
Did I import a little bit of joy from Earth to transcendental space?
Was that the unforeseen success of the experiment Earth?
Now, I can barely see again the far distant, luminous material universe – and hope not to see another sudden spark where the small Earth was – and then some fading end of that glorious and gruesome experiment.