This I Believe

Ronald - New York, New York
Entered on October 11, 2006
Age Group: 65+
Themes: nature
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I believe, know, that the universe is an incredible, a magnificent, exalted, world, incredible that it actually exists, can exist. That it is what it is, that it can contain galaxies, stars, and stunningly life, thought, intelligence, is an impossible miracle. It cannot be, but it is. Astonishing, but inexplicable. Through the extraordinary blessings of arithmetic, mathematics, physics, and the beneficiences of chance, a universe can, and more does, exist, does allow life, does allow us. We require, in so many ways, luck that is impossible but real. This, often incontrovertible, is shown with immense detail and the greatest force in my book: Our Almost Impossible Universe, Why the laws of nature make the existence of humans extraordinarily unlikely. I believe that our stupendous good fortune in existing and in what we are, what we are able to do, have done, imposes upon us the most immense responsibilities. We have, perhaps exclusively, the most exalted constituent of the universe: the ability to know, think, question, feel — to wonder. These force upon us the immense responsibility to appreciate what we are, what we have been given so the mission to care, to protect and preserve this world that has so favored us by existing, by allowing us to exist. We not merely believe but know that life must be altruistic, it cannot exist otherwise. That the goodness of mathematics, physics, pure luck, was able to create such life, altruistic and vastly talented, is a miracle indeed. Evolution has then given us the morality so necessary for life with intelligence. Morality is compelled by our very existence. Without it we cannot be. But more it is imposed upon us by the enormous fortune which gave us a world in which we can be and such amazing abilities, ones capable of the greatest heights, but regrettably the deepest depths. Because we can do so much, but also so much harm, we have the greatest, the finest, of responsibilities. Yet life is a precarious balance between altruism and selfishness, between the good and the evil. We are blessed by our ability, and desire, to be moral and demeaned by our ability, and desire, to hate and to kill. We should marvel, and be grateful, we should appreciate and protect. We should see the grandeur of the universe, of our earth, of the strangeness of the immensely talented life of which we are a part, thus understand that these require the greatest care, the greatest protection. There is so much to be thankful for, so much to cherish. This I believe. But it is more than belief. Science has shown forcefully that these are facts, and necessary facts. I believe that we should heed what we have learned, what we have found about our universe, our planet, our environment, ourselves. We should see our phenomenal good fortune so act to safeguard this glorious world in which we live and the amazing set of beings to which we belong. We should celebrate, especially by enhancing.