Sun of the Parts: (original text 1997?, revised 2001)
Note: I say things in this “meditation” that are less than I might hang my hat on these days. While I still am of the opinion that there is a high level of symbol in the Genesis account of creation – The mere mention of mornings and evenings prior to the creation of the sun would suggest as much; however, I am no longer unnerved by the “amazing” time and sequence of Genesis 1. I understand that any creation model by its very character, assumes miracle first, followed by the gradual implementation of the “ordinary rules of providence.”
Many moderns astronomers suggest that the atoms that make up our planet and everything in it were once in stars. A strict reading of Genesis would suggest otherwise. Neither of those ideas are the focus of this mediation. Just the same, some of these thoughts are high on wonder, but short on comprehension or how energy works. Rather than recreate the whole thing to reflect my thinking (which still moves). I’ve woven in some counterpoints and corrections from my friend Roy.
Right now, I look point blank at the “source” of everything I see. The sun is setting, warm and velvet clear. We are living in the Renaissance, painted by Vermeer. Everything looks realer than real, I feel like we have been dipped in amber. My shadow goes long before me, I am the stickman wearing stilts, I am a moon man walking giant strides. I am an anorexic butterfly casting shadow … I am an idiot.
Then I consider the marvel that I am standing in some splinter of light that has traveled some eight minutes just to get here, only to peter out in such soft grand fashion. Do the molecules of sky slow it down? I am being hit, straight in the face and not knocked over? That same sun that would fry me if it could – What a knitch! Here between the freeze and flame, with just the right tilt and distance from the sun -- that even some billion hydrogen explosions by the minute, feel luxuriant upon my skin.
Today I am thinking a big and wild thought, and it feels like one of the bigger thoughts that I have ever thunk.
I am thinking that the world is sun. Reconstituted sunlight on a bun. Poems, fleas, puns, cabbage, cauliflower … cousins. Everything is sun.
We begin with a world. I guess if you begin with raw fiat creation – the earth is something other than sun, the sun being made after it, so I guess you have at least two kinds of matter, ancient earth stuff and sun. But assuming for the moment that the earth is some cooled chunk o’ sun, or at least spit from the same cosmic spew, it stands that the earth is essentially the stuff of sun.
I don’t know – Could you take a chunk of sun and cool it down to make a planet? Does the sun contain our elements, or are some created by new combinations of what is floating through space? Are elements just that way forever, or do they become what they are through re-combination and time? Some are inert … Dear, I’m beginning to diffuse my thought.
Roy Replies: Regarding idea that our planet of sun stuff … The sun consists almost entirely of hydrogen, with the heavier elements common on Earth making up about 1% of the sun's mass. On the other hand, hydrogen does not make up almost entirely all of the earth. The puzzle of water on the Earth merely emphasizes this paradox. You, Kirk, are a cosmic rarity not only in that there exists but one Kirk, but in that the stuff that makes up your physical body is incredibly scarce.
I am not sure if I am saying this the way I thought it. It always seems like a better thought inside. But here is the idea. The sun which is blind and bright and deaf to its heat… the sun that is all dead and ball and fire and ear spiting light and UNAWARE, is aware, through us. If everything is sun mush, then we are the vehicles by which the sun is growing into life and knowledge.
Though the sun has spun some billion units of thought or sight, it remains deaf, blind and mute. So the sun pours out light that in time becomes reworked into people, or cars, or the music in my ear – and the thing that it is now, looks back to see the source of itself, even as the source is dead and knows nothing of its children.
Roy Replies: While I have argued that the "sun stuff" did not make our planet's atoms, I would remind of another way that one could approach your metaphor. Sun stuff powers our planet. Energy that has an apparent age of 1 with many zeroes after it years (it takes a while to work up through the sun's hugeness from the interior where the fusion fire burns) powers the plant (corn?) that powers the Kirk that thinks the thought.
Dear, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’d scratched some notes to help me think.
The first say’s “mowing the lawn”.
I remember having this thought some months ago when I mowed the big Lutheran Church lot for Dennis and had to empty the filled bags of clipped grass. It’s no exaggeration to say that given the acres of clipped grass, I emptied over a ton of hot green blade. And that near once a week. Twenty weeks of mowing for some twenty tons of grass.
Where did the weight come from? Some of the grass was made from dirt, but ground never seemed to shrink for being sucked up. I have never seen a tree sink a hole as it grew, even as it dished dirt into sky! I guess too that the grass is a lot of water, caught before it could sink to the water table, but a bunch of that weight was really re-made sun -- Chlorophyll catching light generating food, making grass, making weight.
By the way, has anyone shown this: Is the earth getting heavier by the day as light energy becomes earth matter? And how much? If that one lawn weighed ten thousand lbs. perhaps all the trees and leafs together would make millions of tons per second being added to the earth?
Roy Replies: Well, not exactly. Chlorophyll magic binds together atoms making nearly all the weight. The energy required to bind does have an equivalent weight, but that is so very, very, very small that the best scale could not measure its contribution to the largest forest much less that of a single tree. Where does the plant get most of its stuff? Not sunlight, but air. Most of the plant's weight is carbon oxygen and hydrogen, thus carbon dioxide from the air and water from the ground. Other stuff makes up only a small part of the total weight. Recall, for example, burning a log. Better yet, consider a fireplace history with a lot of logs. This has most of the logs' carbon not left as ash, but turned to carbon dioxide. Not much left behind to have to carry away. That little left is, as a matter of fact, very comparable to the depressions I have had in my front and back lawns where once trees stood and which I removed.
But there is a second thought. And this is where the idea of a common “sea” gets hard.
Dear! Serengeti. Today, or tonight out in the grasslands of Africa , zebras and gazelles mingle with a mix of lion and hyena. Given that the protein ratio is somewhat different for herbivores and carnivores - you could say that each animal is made from different stuff. But when it gets down to it, each of these is either first of second, or maybe third generation grass (Do hyenas eat dead lions?)
Roy : What an incredible, awesome Creator!
We speak of the genetic template. A code so complex and intricate, that just one cell of the stuff can spin a city. DNA and chromosomes. . Like a forest fire building life; This is bizarre beyond contemplation. I understand that a zygote - (a fertilized egg) has within itself a complete chemical coding that sufficient to the task of generating a new being. And that code, comprised of hundred of thousands of information bits, put together just so. Eye color, bulk, something of intelligence - even a code for turning some cells into muscle, or brain, and yet others into "half baked" sex cells, just waiting for completion But it doesn't stop there. ANY CELL, be is gleaned from hair, liver, marrow, or blood - has within it - at least theoretically, all the information needed to create a new "identical " being.
What an incredible, awesome Creator!
So, here it is. 1/100000000 of an ounce of starter stuff, plus 200 pounds of sun, equals one monk in the making. Or, 1/000000000 of an ounce of some other starter stuff plus 200 pounds of sun equals a cow.
Corollary: 1/00000000 of an ounce of Monk starter stuff, plus 200 pounds of cow, equal one monk.
Not a lot of bull....
And this is where it gets odd. We might speak of the material unity of all things, but these little engines – these infinitesimal codes that generate separate beings insure that my brain doesn't spill into yours; at least apart from some difficult attempt to communicate. Each individual is a self contained world of consciousness, and try as I might, even if I were to eat your "stuff", there is a bridge that separates each individual thing that can't be gulfed. A cannibal might eat me, but he will never be me.
Unlike the pagan who does not find you particularly unique, God does. That He is, and that alone, protects that you are.
Sometimes, I try to think what belief in raw evolution entails. The sun slams into some cooled chunk of light. Call it a rock, a storm, or primordial soup … But this is so much light falling on “old” light. Talk about bootstraps! The light does not begin by falling on something that will utilize that energy and transform it --like chlorophyll, … First it must create the chlorophyll. Before some engine can turn light energy into life, dead-light must be made into some form of life – with no pre-existing "engine" to aid the process.
So now, I look out on the world and frame it with my lens. I see the oak tree rising like a celluloid pillar sprouting shade. This is a tube of sod, A straw of light. This is the sun blocking itself and casting its shadow. I see the acorns, ripe to generate life. This is the sun in waiting, waiting to hurl upwards at itself. I see the lawn and the gutters, the green and the white. I see the shingles on the roof (my room was upstairs.) I see the sky. All of this is sun. Cooled, condensed, reworked.
I see me, reflected in my fish-tank, I see a flash of Swordtail. We too are sun. I pick up my camera. It is sun. I point it at the sun. I burn my eye. I burn the sun! I am something of that sun, remade, holding some other bit a sun stored in glass and film. I catch the sun on the film that is sun even I am the sun clicking the shutter. I am the sun taking pictures of myself; I am the sun looking through my eye. I am sunshine on my shoulder.
So here we have the sun savoring its heat, alive with love and pain, Love where none had been … Matter where none had been – or perhaps, energy that has always been ---
Dear, they make this sound thinkable. Either everything that is has come from nothing (unthinkable), or everything that is has come from something--and that something is eternal. (Also pretty much unthinkable.) If we begin with God, we also come before something unthinkable, but the starting point is infinitely different. In one climate, a dead something without dream, imagination, freedom or purpose, culminates in a planet spangled with life. In the other, a living, thinking, all powerful person, purposes a planet that reflects His essence.
Life from non life, or Life from LIFE.
So here it is …
The world before my eyes is light,
Folded back on itself in interesting and complex ways. It is stellar ash aware, having taken on a flair, for casting life like from itself…Or, The world before our eyes is sun and world, made living and diverse by the infinite wisdom of a God who not only creates stuff, but litters the wind with information. He is the Information God. He casts a miracle light on miracle-sod holding information-cities dressed as seed. Everywhere the wisdom of God goes out, re-creating the world with the works of His pleasure.