The Planetary Progression

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The People's Progress

How long does the elephant have left on planet Earth? When will our greatest land mammal cease to wander?

Our notion of progress is tied to continuous industrial development. A notion that has been exported throughout the world. We’ve led ourselves to believe that the point of humanity is to build factories and convert nature into economically viable investments. But is this our true calling? Is this the path towards true enlightenment and natural harmony? What is the point of all the hard work and sacrifices of our ancestors over the millennia? Will we ever sate our need to consume? Or has a history of detachment from nature shaped us into a new type of animal, one who’s needs can never be met.

As more and more animals face extinction, it is up to us to ask ourselves what the point of our species is. Are we here solely to consume? Moving from one land to another until all resources are converted into dollars. And if some progress but others falter, is progress truly a progression?

People, Geography and Pies

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People, Geography and Pies

It seems pretty obvious that we don’t choose the life we are born into. A toddler doesn’t choose their country, their government, their family, their religion, their history, or their social class. When two people come together to bring a new human into the world, they bring them into a life already riddled with rules and limitations, but it isn’t their world either. It is the world they inherited from their parents and grandparents and so on back until the dawn of time. Our societies grow out of necessity and convenience, creating a world around us. But as our societies grew and developed, we began to explore the world and export our customs and cultures. We exploited those that we could and established a hierarchy of human value, based largely on geography. We forgot that each and every person is part of something bigger. We forgot it about ourselves. We forgot that we belong to a larger collective. A collective of human beings, struggling one against the other for a bigger part of the proverbial pie. But the forgotten truth is that we are the pie, and we each deserve to be valued for who we are rather than where we are. So when we take more than we need, we take from one another, weakening the whole of humanity.

Understanding the Effects of Poverty

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Understanding the Effects of Poverty

Poverty has a wide range of effects that reduce peoples potential to contribute to society. By allowing such large portions of our societies to be stuck in poverty, we fail to test the capacity of human progress. If we strengthen the most vulnerable, the whole of society will benefit.

This infographic was taken with permission from Best Psychology Degrees

Silhouettes of the Serengeti

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Silhouettes of the Serengeti

I had dreamed of going on safari all my life. I wanted to be surrounded by animals, indifferent to my existence. I wanted to be wrapped up in the wild, cut off from the world and its rules.

We, humans, employ our logic and rationality on an irrational world. We seek truths and answers to push us from one day to the next. But our answers are only that, ours. Our lives are guided by our collective subjective interpretations of the world around us, forming what we perceive as objective truths. But our truths are fragments, silhouettes of a fuller picture. The only objective truth we have is the one we are born into. We are alive.

Suspended in Sunlight

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Suspended in Sunlight

It was nearing the end of the day when we climbed back into the Landcruiser. We had been driving for hours through the open plains of the Serengeti National Park. We had seen cheetahs sprinting and playing in tall grass, giraffes picking the choicest leaves off the tallest trees, and elephants bathing in fresh springs.

I got in the truck and climbed onto my seat to poke my head out through the open roof. As our driver threw the engine into life, we shot off down the baked dirt road. There I was. In the middle of the Serengeti, surrounded by some of the most exotic animals here on Earth. The wind rushed through my hair and dust burrowed into the crevices of my skin. I looked around in every direction as golden light fell, cascaded across the tall water starved grass.

In my mind, I zoomed out on where I was. I floated high up into the sky, looking down at myself as I became a speck upon a great continent. We all became specks. Specks, all connected through the same flowing energy of our home planet.

I came to, just as a truck further ahead shot dust into the still air, leaving it to hang suspended in the setting sun. Best day ever.

Life Inside The 3rd Dimension

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Life Inside The 3rd Dimesion

We are 3 dimensional beings. Prisoners to the constraints of our movements, we exist only to move forward and backward, side to side, and up and down. Our narrow understanding of the world is generally limited to what we can interpret around us, but our interpretations bring us beyond the 3rd dimension.

The 4th dimension is where space and time combine to create spacetime. This dimension is characterized by our understanding of the relativity of time and space on our lives. We have a “sense” of time or a “sense” of space, that helps us be on time for meetings, park our cars and calculate future planetary alignments. But we don’t live in this dimension, we’re simply visitors.

The 4th dimension. You can see a 3 dimensional cube, suspended in the 4th dimension of spacetime.

The 4th dimension. You can see a 3 dimensional cube, suspended in the 4th dimension of spacetime.

In the chart above, it highlights the differences between 1D, 2D, 3D and 4D planes. But, today’s physicists postulate 11 dimensions, based on M-theory. M-theory is the theory which holds the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe. It is the combination of the laws of physics and how they interact, from microscopic scale to universal. The 7 further dimensions (5-11) are classified as higher-dimensions, affected by supergravity. But, these dimensions are not available to us. We remain locked into our 3 dimensional world, with the idea of a 4th.

With this information swirling around in your head, now try to picture a 2 dimensional world. In this world, beings would be able to move forward and backward, and side to side. They would have no access to the 3rd dimension, up and down. From their viewpoint, we would not exist. We would be an indistinguishable sliver. Take a second, and imagine what we might look like to 4 dimensional beings, those with mastery over spacetime. Now, imagine what they might look like to a 5 dimensional being, and so on and so forth until the 11th dimension.

We exist in one dimension, on one planet, in one solar system, in one galaxy, in one universe. Let’s make it count.

The Rise Of The Humanist

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The Rise Of The Humanist

13.7 billion years ago, the Universe began. For billions of years, particles swirled and danced through the immensity. Stars were born and stars died. From deep inside the depths of burning giants, carbon was spewed across the universe. The particles needed for the development of life, as we know it, accumulated on a tiny speck of a planet, orbiting around a small, insignificant star. For over 4 billion years, the tiny speck gave rise to various forms of life, primordial soups that would eventually churn out giant lizards to roam the planet for millions of years. One day, an even smaller, even more insignificant chunk of space rock collided with the tiny speck of a planet and the giant lizards ended up extinct, their 165 million year reign came crashing to an end.

Millions of years trickled by without the tiny speck noticing. Smaller creatures that had survived the mass extinction of the giant lizards, evolved and adapted to their new environment. For over 2 million years, an upright primate evolved, getting smarter and smarter, until one day 200,000 years ago, homo sapiens was born.

For thousands of years, these new and improved hominids knew nothing of each other or the world they lived in. They lived in small communities, relying on each other for survival. As they learned to communicate, they realized they could accomplish tasks much bigger than themselves. Cooperation was born and pyramids were built. Man had arrived.

Across the reaches of the tiny insignificant chunk of space rock, civilizations rose and fell. Time lingered on and eventually, man’s curiosity to know what lay beyond the rivers and the mountains swelled to a point of no return. Adventurers set out to chart the globe, bringing whole civilizations into contact with one another for the first time. As the humans began to interact, they began to exchange products and ideas. Their development increased and they began to build cities. Other humans from far and wide travelled to the cities to find jobs, or tasks given in exchange for money (an invention of conceptualized value). Soon, the humans wanted more of the value and worked harder to get it. Some chose to get it at the expense of others, and so the humans subjugated each other. Others chose to pay the humans for their work, and industry was born.

Soon, the humans grew greedy and took more than they needed. They spread far around the reaches of the globe, lapping up resources like a thirsty beast. They hoarded their value and used it to make them strong. They threatened those who aimed to take some. All the while, the tiny little speck of rock groaned and grimaced at having to give up its treasures. The insides of the speck were mined and the trees the speck grew to give the humans life, were cut down. The humans burned all of the specks treasures and then the shield against the burning heat of the little star began to deteriorate. Some humans got sick and so did the speck.

The humans wondered what they had done to deserve the wrath of the speck. Too late, they realized their greed and mistakes. They had pushed each other away in the quest for power. They had offended their fellow humans, the rare breed never before seen in the 13.7 billion year old universe. They fought wars and killed each other by the millions. They were raised to hate other humans who had what they wanted. Soon the humans were faced with a dying speck, the constant threat of war, and an unanswered question, what had they done to deserve their quick demise?

From deep inside their demise, came a rallying call. “You are one! Your differences are the beauty and gift of your species. You have slaughtered each other for being different but never celebrated each other for being the same. You are human, the only humans to have existed in the history of the universe. Your greed will bring you to your knees but your cooperation can build a legacy. The universe needs you to unlock its mysteries. You must help one another. So long as humans starve and perish while others roll in their riches, you will never succeed. You are as strong as you are weak.”

Those who heard, answered the call, and the humanist was born.

Time Is Flat

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Time Is Flat

In Australia’s Parliament building in Canberra, a man moves along on his way to work, rushed by the ticking of time. In Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design he asserts that we have a lot to learn when it comes to time. In the past, he says, we used to look at the Earth as flat. Then over time we found it to be round. He says the same is true with time. Now, we see it as linear, always moving forward, always putting the past behind us. But someday, we will collectively agree that it too is a sphere, with no end and no beginning.

The Ebb And Flow

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The Ebb And Flow

Walking along the Noosa beach in Queensland, Australia I watched people enjoying the ocean. There are few things I appreciate more than water. The connection you develop by embracing a constantly ebbing, flowing, changing and dynamic surface teaches you to do the same. The flexibility of water and it’s serenity should be reflected in our own lives. After all, it’s what we’re made of.