When humans finally stepped off the planet and looked back at our home from outer space, we the people fulfilled the promise set in place during the Pleistocene Age, when something within us “turned back on itself and so to speak took an infinite leap forward,” as Teilhard de Chardin describes the moment that humanity crossed the Threshold of Reflection (John McPhee, “Basin and Range“).
Those of us who ‘came of age’ during the era of space exploration have experienced a paradigm shift that has taken years of personal and collective reflection to integrate.
We, Gail and Milt, are two such people.
We both shared the common experience of July 20, 1969, when humans first set foot on a cosmic object other than the planet earth. This human adventure provided a strikingly beautiful image of our blue planet earth – a visual image of the fact that we live on a planet that appears alone in the vastness of space. From this perspective of looking back on ourself, we must acknowledge there are no power lines connecting us to a source of extraterrestrial energy – there are no sewer lines to dump our waste into outer space. Indeed our planet and all of us inhabitants, human and non-human, make up a cohabitating system often referred to as Gaia – at the moment we appear to be a rather unique (and only) living system in the mass of star stuff known as our solar system.
Although we appear alone, we are also connected to our star, the Sun, by the invisible force of gravity, and to a lesser degree to each of the billions of bodies that make up our Milky Way galaxy, and to an even lesser degree to the tens of billions of galaxies that make up our universe.
Likewise we commune with and are connected to our Sun and all the other heavenly bodies via electromagnetic energy (e.g. light, radio waves, x-rays,…). As we increase the power of our electromagnetic viewing lenses (e.g. using the Hubble Space Telescope), we are able to see further into the vastness of space and become more conscious of how the cosmos is unfolding. And we are even more awestruck by what we see.
Glimpsing the very beginnings of Cosmic Time itself some 13 billion years ago, then following its flaring forth into our solar system 4.5 billion years ago, we can stand with our arms spread out full width, signifying the age of our Earth, and marvel that “the Cambrian begins in [one] wrist; all of the Cenozoic is in a fingerprint, and in a single stroke with a medium grained nail file you could eradicate human history” (McPhee).
Thus the human species occupies a unique place in spectrum of Time and within the context of Space: we get to reflect back on all of it! And a whole new consciousness arises and begins to inform and inspire all areas of human beliefs and behaviors………a process that began in our lifetime!!
The visual images of earth taken from a perspective beyond earth also convey the fact that during the natural evolution of the planet, nature did not construct political boundaries, or barbed wire fences to prevent /restrict movement of its human and non-human population.
The realization that we are all in this together with only the finite supplies already on board had a profound impact on our evolving collective and personal psyches.
Now, these forty-plus years later, we are two individuals who are trying to become more conscious human beings each day – just two more people who are trying to understand our place / role on this planet. As such, we are hoping to link up with like-minded people to share insights and consciousness. With these new insights and increased consciousness, we hope to be able to change our personal behavior and become more responsible beings – to accompany the freedoms we are afforded.
Stop back at a later date to see our footprints on our virtual hikes as we revisit the past, marvel at the present, and envision a sustainable creative future.
Your travelogs (comments) are welcome and encouraged to enrich this adventure.