Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when it may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, miscalculation or madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.
We are not immortal, but our acts are... The question is not why we exist but whether we deserve to exist as supposedly rational beings if we act like conquerors rather than caring beings willing to share the planet with all those who are less powerful, and to act with restraint in respecting the needs of others and all life to come. As a species, we are on trial to see whether rationality was an advance or a tragic mistake.
The earth we live on is so small that even if someone was honored by everyone on our planet it is still insignificant. Also, a person’s lifetime is so short that even if he received honor and approval his entire life, it is so short in comparison with eternity. This is the ultimate success an approval-seeker can hope for, but the reality is that even if you spend you entire life trying to win the approval of others, only a small number of people will know and approve of you. The approval you do gain lasts a very short time and is soon forgotten as if it never was.
Our bodies and egos are vehicles by which we can access the experience of physical living. As a key ingredient in an automobile is its driver, so the key ingredient in a person is soul. Without active alignment to soul - a person is lost - the fundamental meaning of life is missing. Planet Earth is a sort of “soul-field”, a body of experience with a characteristic flavor, which individual souls enter to learn, evolve and serve. Perhaps it is a Hall of Mirrors at a fairground, where we see ourselves reflected, expanded and compressed in so many different ways.
Mankind is a creature of space, a space race living on a planet in orbit around a star, as others are also doing. Mankind is not unique, as he fondly imagines. He is merely a part of the vast interstellar human family bred and nurtured by us through the eons of time on planets in different solar systems throughout the galaxy.
Protecting something as wide as this planet is still an abstraction for many. Yet I see the day in our own lifetimes that reverence for the natural systems - the oceans, the rain forests, the soil, the grasslands, and all other living beings - will be so strong that no narrow ideology based upon politics or economics will overcome it.
It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms, Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being evolved.
There are three reasons why, quite apart from scientific considerations, mankind needs to travel in space. The first reason is garbage disposal; we need to transfer industrial processes into space so that the earth may remain a green and pleasant place for our grandchildren to live in. The second reason is to escape material impoverishment; the resources of this planet are finite, and we shall not forgo forever the abundance of solar energy and minerals and living space that are spread out all around us. The third reason is our spiritual need for an open frontier. The ultimate purpose of space travel is to bring to humanity, not only scientific discoveries and an occasional spectacular show on television, but a real expansion of our spirit.
Thoughts are neither things of the outer world or ideas. A third realm must be recognized. What belongs to this corresponds with ideas, in that it cannot be perceived by the senses, but with things, in that it needs no bearer to the contents of whose consciousness to belong. Thus the thought, for example, which we express in the Pythagorean Theorem is timeless true, true independently of whether anyone takes it to be true. It needs no bearer. It is not true for the first time when it is discovered, but is like a planet which, already before anyone has seen it, has been in interaction with other planets.
Kids today live with awful nightmares: AIDS will wipe us out; the polar ice cap will melt; the nuclear bomb will go off at any minute. Even the best tend to believe we are hopeless to affect matters... Young people are detached from history, the planet and, most important, the future.
When the Copernican Revolution superseded the ancient Polemic world view, the earth took its rightful place as one planet among many. Man was no longer the center of the universe and though his self-image was deflated, he grew in maturity. In the same way, we must take our rightful place in nature - not as its self-centered and profligate "master" with the divine right of kings to exploit and despoil, but as one species living in harmony with the whole.
In aging, the (one's) inner clock slows down while earth time remains constant. Your planet continues to move in three directions at the same time, giving to you your speed or flow of time, past, present and future. There is less time to do things as one grows older and time is speeded up because the living body processes are slowing down. Time is a wave-motion in a triple unity with light and gravity.
That our planet is the one and only planet where life has emerged would be a ridiculous assumption... Even if only one in a hundred of the ten billion suitable planets has actually got life well under way, there would be more than 100 million such planets. No, it is presumptuous to think we are alone.
A species does not live within its environment; it interacts with it. Over a period of time a species can interact so violently that the changes it catalyzes can cause it to change dramatically--even to die out. Scientists estimate that 90% of the life forms that have inhabited our planet are now extinct. From the earliest single-cell life form to the human animal, all have interacted with the environment. All have created problems for themselves. All have been agents of evolutionary change. All have experienced evolution through cataclysm.