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We are Stardust, Billion Year Old Carbon

David Langness | Jan 7, 2016

PART 3 IN SERIES 500 Billion Galaxies

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

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David Langness | Jan 7, 2016

PART 3 IN SERIES 500 Billion Galaxies

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the authoritative views of the Baha'i Faith.

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden. – Joni Mitchell

The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself. – Carl Sagan

…we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust. – Neil deGrasse Tyson

The stars in the sky do not exert any spiritual influence on this world of dust; but all the members and parts of the universe are very strongly linked together in that limitless space, and this connection produceth a reciprocity of material effects. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 160.

We are stardust, the poets and the physicists say. The very atoms of our bodies come originally from our impossibly ancient universe, from the star-making machinery of its colossal matter factory. Every molecule that makes us came from the cosmos.

That means every living being has a mutual connection with every other living being. But we all walk around, the Buddha says, with an illusion of separateness: I’m me, and you’re you, and that woman over there, she’s my Aunt Betty. However—if we really think about it in a scientific and spiritual way, we’re not separate at all. The boundaries between us don’t really exist, because all human beings contain exactly the same elements. Instead, as the Baha’i teachings say, we are one:

All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness of God and the unity of mankind. They have taught that men should love and mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of humanity. The fundamental truth of the Manifestations is peace. This underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another. Consider the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is the primary foundation of them all. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 32.

In the Baha’i book Some Answered Questions, Abdu’l-Baha responded to an inquiry about the effects of the stars on our souls, and addressed the deep truth of our intimate connection with one another:

Q: Do the stars of the heavens have a spiritual influence upon human souls or not?

A: Certain celestial bodies exert a physical influence upon the earth and its creatures which is clear and apparent and which requires no explanation. Consider the sun, which, through the help of divine grace, nurtures the earth and all its creatures. Indeed, were it not for the light and heat of the sun, all earthly things would entirely cease to exist.

As to spiritual influences, although it might seem strange that these stars should exert a spiritual influence upon the human world, yet were you to reflect deeply upon this matter you would not be greatly surprised by it. My meaning, however, is not that the deductions that the astrologers of old made from the motion of the stars and planets were true, for these were mere figments of the imagination which had their origin with the Egyptian, Assyrian, and Chaldean priests, or rather stemmed from the idle conjectures of the Hindus and the superstitions of the Greeks, the Romans and the other star worshippers. My meaning, instead, is that this endless universe is like the human body, and that all its parts are connected one with another and are linked together in the utmost perfection. That is, in the same way that the parts, members and organs of the human body are interconnected, and that they mutually assist, reinforce, and influence each other, so too are the parts and members of this endless universe connected with, and spiritually and materially influenced by, one another. For example, the eye sees and the entire body is affected; the ear hears and every limb and member is stirred. Of this there is no doubt, for the world of existence is also like a living person. Thus, the interconnection that exists between the various parts of the universe requires mutual influences and effects, whether material or spiritual…

In sum, all beings, whether universal or particular, are mutually connected in accordance with God’s consummate wisdom and mutually influence one another. Were it not so, the all-embracing organization and universal arrangement of existence would become disordered and disrupted. And as all created things are most soundly connected one with another, they are well ordered, arranged and perfected.

This matter deserves close examination and calls for careful attention and deep reflection. – Abdu’l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, newly revised version, pp. 285-286.

Next: One Natural Order, One Laboratory of Might

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  • Carl Brehmer
    Aug 7, 2016
    Even though it is true that the atoms that compose our physical bodies are very ancient, “we” are not ancient since “we” are not our bodies. Rather “we” are spiritual beings who have a temporary affiliation with a physical body and “we” who currently live in this world are new souls.
    “The spirit of man has a beginning, but it has no end . . .” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 151-2)
    “The soul or spirit of the individual comes into being with the conception of his physical body. The Prophets, unlike us, are pre-existent. The Soul of Christ existed in ...the spiritual world before His birth in this world.” (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 504)
    “…the soul of man comes into being at conception… (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 346)
    The historical debate over the origin of man has always been limited to the origin of the human body and never probes the question of the origin of the human spirit. Since science is incapable of distinguishing between the physical body and the human spirit it not infrequently reaches the false conclusion that the existence of the human spirit is the product of a long evolutionary process, rather than it being a spontaneous creation of God—a creation that is not ancient at all, but rather precedes the birth of a child by only nine months.
    Even the “creationists” don’t have it quite right. They too fail to distinguish between the physical body and the human spirit. They say that since the human spirit comes into being whole and complete, as an entity that did not evolve from some animal, then the evolution of the Earth and the evolution of the physical life on Earth over vast amounts of time must be a false concept.
  • Greg Billington
    Jan 11, 2016
    Day 1, le Roi-Soleil; Day 7, Resting Rusting Radiators.
    A Panegyric.
    Supernova roil and rumble;
    Galaxy sear and spacetime crumble.
    Dark star, blazar moil 'neath Hubble;
    Superluminal jets redouble.
    Huge star luge to astral scar;
    Can’t go home, you've 'fuged too far.
    --Greg ...Billington, The Sardonyx Stone
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