Friday, August 23, 2019

The Eyes of Earth

Michael Lumish

Chabot Space Center's original 1883 refractor scope.
Oakland, California
I tend to have a different view of humanity than many. Most people do not know what to make of our role on the planet and are simply living their lives and taking care of their families, without worrying about such an arcane issue.

Some, however, tend to think of humanity as a sort-of virus on the planet. We are undermining the health and well-being not only of people but of Earth, itself. We do so through climate change, and pollution, and war, and the ruining of the oceans by over-fishing, toxic waste, spilled oil-tankers, and the unintended creation of great islands of plastic swirling about the oceans, which further contributes to the decline of the fish population.

I have a different view.

While it is obviously true that we have the ability to ruin life on the planet, we are also the eyes of Earth through the development of the scientific method. Despite our worst inclinations and most hideous potential, we are also the way in which Earth comes to know itself. We are not, somehow, separate from nature. We are not separate from Earth but emerged out of Earth via the evolutionary process.

So, while humanity can be absolutely awful, we also, on a macro-level, look toward the stars and on a micro-level examine neutrons and protons and electrons. We are the means by which the Earth comes to know itself. We are the ones who orient our home planet within the solar system and within the galaxy and thus begin the process of understanding Earth's position within the universe.

We are the ones who examine the natural world around us. As much as we may be the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or the spiritual children of Jesus or Muhammad, we are also, nonetheless, the children of Aristotle, the "Father of Biology." We are also the children of Leonardo da Vinci who designed (but never built) a flying machine, called an "ornithopter," in the fifteenth-century.

I, therefore, recommend giving humanity a small break. We should not look upon ourselves with the kind of toxic cynicism which is far too common. We are but children. We are only now beginning to understand the human potential in fulfilling our role as the eyes of the planet. We are only now beginning to understand the human potential as the cognition of the planet in its most sophisticated form.

It should be understood that there is nothing in such a view that automatically contradicts the teachings of the world's major religions.

{If in your opinion I am wrong on this, please tell me why.}

It is, however, to acknowledge a certain nobility at the heart of the human experience and -- as difficult as it may be to imagine -- at the heart of world history, as well.


  1. A lot to think about there.
    I will say I don't think of human beings as a toxin ruining "mother earth," or that favorite of the beautiful people, "the planet."
    People's personalities however, are another matter entirely.
    There is an incredible amount of ego and lying, and blame going on. Too many degenerate opinions for our health.

    1. BTW, I viewed Saturn from Chabot. Amazing to see that thing just sitting in outer space with those rings around it. They're real !!!

  2. Soon, some propose, it won't be humans making all the decisions around life and all that entails. It will be robots, AI (Artificial Intelligence,) if you will.

    My question, and I ask it in all sincerity, is how long will it be before that AI is antisemitic/antizionist? Hopefully, better minds than mine are thinking about this as we speak.