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Essay of the Month: Process

When some people are confronted with the information of our basic ignorance concerning both our macro and micro existence they feel overwhelmed or insignificant in the presence of such magnitude and uncertainty. I feel quite the opposite. The understanding that I am a foundational part of this incredible system, that I am at my essence completely connected to and interchangeable with the universe is empowering to me. There is no doubt that what I am physically is immortal – it will always be and it will always be changing in a dance and perhaps song of matter. I personally also believe that what I do, the energy I put out into this fantastic system, will affect and even change the universe. This impact will be good or bad dependent on my actions. I do not think that my individual decisions will save or doom our planet, but I do think that collectively our decisions will most certainly save our doom human existence and the quality of human existence on this planet. But should the collective impact of our species lead to the extinction or loss of dominance of our species on this planet it would certainly have minimal impact on the universe. Other species would evolve, possibly reaching higher consciousness, possibly not. When our sun ages, as it must, it will expand, cook, and consume our planet – it will be Earth no more, as has happened to billions of planets of the past and will happen to billions more in the future. Again, many people might feel this to be a most depressing eventuality to contemplate. And, again, I do not.  This is part of process of creation in which we are privileged to be a participant. It is breathing in and breathing out — it is all part of the cycling and evolving of the drama of dramas – it is the process – it is the change. This process and change is constantly evident in every aspect of our existence and what our perception allows us to understand of it. It is not something to be feared but something to be celebrated. From sunrise to sunrise, everything that takes place is process — is change. We are not the same creature for a nanosecond, nor is anything thing around us. We have the choice of seeing the beauty in this process or cowering in fear of the process. It is not always beauty in the traditional sense of the concept, but it is beauty in the evolving process. One of the beauties that I find in trying to gain a deeper understanding of the process is that it expands my sense of humility. Human beings, or at least contemporary human beings, have developed a sense of arrogance that has clouded and hidden how they truly fit into this universal process. Seeing themselves as the center of the universe, much like a spoiled child, they spend their lives in self-serving activities that not only damage the system but deprives themselves of the joy of living in the beauty of the process. Humility must derive from an awareness of our limitations – the limitation of our perceptual capabilities and our understanding. Alfred North Whitehead said all understanding must be related to the coherence of the process. He believed that every entity in the universe has its purpose in the process of the universe – nothing is without meaning. Each entity can only be described as part of an ongoing organic process.

Copyright 2008 Mark W. McGinnis

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