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Monday, December 31, 2018


Earth as seen from the Cassini Probe
   I was thinking of Carl Sagan this morning as I was responding to some messages. I had been thumbing thru Mastodon posts and saw the words of someone from my instance commenting. Something new that is starting to take hold in the world of on line communication is federation and by that I mean we are all sharing a common platform but we all reside in different and unique instances in that on line space. My home instance is a Jewish one and I can choose to see the comments on just my home instance or I can look into the abyss of the entire system. 

  A comment was left:

 i want to be one of those people who is like "it's obvious why God made trans people; the question is why God made cis people" but fundamentally, even as my life has greatly improved, i still feel like the fact that i exist is a pretty strong refutation of any possible intelligence behind the universe like i get the Jewish view is that humans are responsible for things like discrimination and violence and persecution, but why even make trans people at all
  And I picked it up: 

 The universe contains nothing extra. So far (from a human perspective) we're it for consciousness too, so the universe must have needed that. A friend of mine was caught on webcast at Romemu services in NYC this past Friday night. Our local rabbi told me to check it out, but that the service wasn't anything special. But he was wrong. Hannah was there, and we saw it, and it doesn't get more special. 

  I knew he meant the music and the sermon and he'll forgive my making something from his words that is didn't mean to imply. 

What does it mean when we daven: Lord, king of the universe? 

  I still think of the first "Pale Blue Dot." In 1990 when Carl Sagan asked that the Voyager 1 probe be turned around to take a photograph of the system, having completed it's mission the results were staggering for the right kind of eyes. Sagan was an agnostic, and often gets held up as an atheist, but I never saw the words of a man who did not feel the contentedness of the universe to something greater. A questioning man who sought the answers of the universe in the empirical I can't help feel the Pale Blue Dot was part of his Torah and akin to anything in the Pirke Avot.  

  Upon seeing earth, the pale blue dot in that first look back he said:
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

    I can not accept that we are in a universe apart from the divine but rather an integral part of it and somehow necessary. Sometimes we loose ourselves in the smallness of our existence and sometimes we find ourselves in the smallness of our existent. Sometimes you have to rely on a surrogate set of eyes,  a probe on the edge of what you think you know and a question.  

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