Sage Ikeda

The Odds of You Being Born Were Actually ZERO

August 10, 2018 in Views

We’ve all thought at least once about how lucky we are to have ever been born—to have been the one sperm cell out of millions that successfully fertilized the egg that eventually became you. It’s like you won the lottery!

Well, not exactly. It actually goes so much further than that.

Consider your family tree. Not just the past several generations, but the tree that connects all of us to a common ancestor. That thing has an incredible amount of branches, and you are a teensy, tiny twig way out there at the outermost reaches of the tree.

What if one of those connections—those seemingly infinite male-female interactions that produced a new branch on the tree—had happened differently? What if your great-great-great-great-great grandpa Archibald had slept with Sally instead of Susie?

The answer is that you wouldn’t be here right now. Your incredibly unique combination of chromosomes could not and would not exist.

So think of how many unique pairs of parents there have been and how each of them could have been different (not to mention the infinite number of other things that could have been happening at the moment of your conception), and you’ll realize that the actual probability of you being born was 1/∞, or 0.

And yet, here you are. So something must be off with this way of thinking, right?

It was never a question of chance.

I think the reason we arrive at this paradoxical conclusion is that we are identifying ourselves with our bodies. You see, you weren’t that sperm cell, or the egg. You are the Universe. No matter which sperm cell had reached the egg, you (or we) would have been the “soul,” so to speak, that inhabited that body. Had your parents waited a year to conceive, you would still be here, just with different DNA. In other words, you would look and act different because your stream of consciousness (the Universe) would be expressed through different genes. You wouldn’t be lost in the void, never getting the chance to experience life.

In fact, I believe it’s impossible to be anywhere but here.

I believe that the Universe is eternal, and that it is experiencing itself through each and every lifeform contained within it (made of it). It’s constantly shuffling together DNA strands and creating new planets in order to experience everything it possibly can—to experience infinity.

If we are indeed here forever, and we are all one, then the obvious course of action is to treat others as if they were you, because they are you. You will eventually be on the receiving end of all your actions, from the point of view of everyone you will have ever come in contact with. In this way, we decide our fate: Heaven or Hell.

A Physics-Based Argument for Pantheism

August 10, 2018 in Views

Gravity is an infinite force, meaning no matter how far you separate two objects, there will always be some microscopic magnitude of gravity between them. In this way, everything in the Universe is connected in a mathematical field. Our planet is affecting the physical behavior of a star millions of light years away (and vice-versa), just to a much smaller degree than cosmic bodies that are near the star.

On a smaller scale, the nuclear forces that govern the H20 molecules in a body of water—let’s say a pond—connect every one of those molecules and form a “closed” system, theoretically speaking. When you throw a rock into the pond, you see the initial plop and the resulting ripples, and then eventually the ripples disperse until the water looks the way it did before. The rock appears to only affect the water molecules within a small radius (depending on the size of the rock, obviously), but actually your throw affects every molecule in the pond. The ripples of energy passing through the atoms just become so minuscule that you’re unable to detect them with the naked eye.

What kind of ripples do you create?

Society isn’t all that different in regards to “gravitational fields,” or rather the gravity of our own personal actions. Right now I’m writing this post, which you are now reading, which you also could not possibly be reading had I not decided to take the course of action that I’m taking right now. And what is life but a constant series of “right now”s? The choices you make, whether you’re a frycook or a political figure, are constantly creating ripple effects that extend to our families and friends, then to our communities, then to our countries, and so on, lessening in degree over time (just like gravity and pond ripples).

There are billions of people on Earth constantly making choices that are creating these ripples, which sounds chaotic, but actually they are all woven together perfectly in a way that makes all of this possible. Like clockwork.

On a personal level, one’s ripple effects—or consequences of his or her actions—extend indefinitely in all directions, even beyond Earth. Even beyond death. In fact, most of these consequences we won’t live long enough to see (at least not in our lifetimes…).

Considering all of this, I posit that the entire Universe is centered or organized around (or flowing through) each individual lifeform in and of itself (as opposed to a model in which the Universe has an exact, singular center and edges). We are all temporary manifestations of the eternal, divine whole.

Photo credit: Agustín Ruiz

What Happens When You Die? Well, You Don’t!

August 9, 2018 in Views

The question of what we might experience after death causes a lot of anxiety for many people, mostly because nobody knows the answer. There are, of course, plenty of theories. I’m going to describe one you might not have heard yet, in hopes that someone will find some comfort in it.

A theist, an atheist, and a pantheist walk into a bar.

If you ask a religious person what happens when you die, he or she will most likely tell you that there’s an afterlife—that the choices you make while you’re alive determine whether you’ll enjoy a pleasant eternity or suffer an endless nightmare after your death. If you ask an atheist, he or she will probably tell you that that’s it—game over, nothingness, oblivion. Though I understand the reasoning behind them, I respectfully disagree with both of these theories.

The reason I disagree with the theist is that I don’t believe there’s an afterlife. I believe the Universe is endless, meaning we are already experiencing eternity. Whether your experience is heavenly or hellish is ultimately up to you.

The reason I disagree with the atheist is that I believe it’s impossible to experience nothingness. If you were to die and then, say, a million years later, some scientists were to dig you up and use some fancy, high-tech machine to bring you back to life, that million-year gap would feel like an instant to you. It wouldn’t feel like you had been alone in a dark, empty room for a million years because you wouldn’t have had any senses—you wouldn’t have felt anything. It seems your entire stream of consciousness ends when you die, but is there a part of you that lives on?

The atheist would probably say no—that “souls” don’t exist. While I, too, disagree with the notion that everyone has an individual soul that gets judged and sent to either Heaven or Hell, I believe we all share a single “soul,” so to speak, and that that soul is simply the Universe itself. (And when I say “we,” I’m referring to every living creature in the Universe.)

To help you understand what I’m getting at, imagine a stationary ocean critter (that may actually exist somewhere—I’m no zoologist) like an anemone or something, with a bunch of tiny buds growing all over it. Each bud has a unique set of eyes and is aware of its immediate surroundings. The critter itself doesn’t have a big set of eyes, but it is able to see through all of its buds’ eyes simultaneously. Likewise, I believe the Universe is experiencing itself through every single conscious being at the same time. The catch is that we’re only able to view life (the Universe) from one perspective at a time, and we have to view it from birth until death (No jumping around!). I believe we’ve been doing this forever, and that we will continue to do this forever.

It can be terrifying to imagine an infinite chain of finite lives—having to go through school, puberty, heartbreak, child birth (Yikes!), death, etc. over and over and over again—but think of all the wonderful things you’d get to experience an infinite number of times: falling in love, learning something new, having fun with your friends, raising a child—the list is endless. Not to mention, you’d eventually get to be every movie star, musician, and professional athlete that has ever lived or will live. You’d also get to be every animal ever: a hawk, a dolphin, your pet…

But then again, anything—whether it’s good or bad—can seem hellish if you experience it over and over and over again, right? Well, yeah, but that’s not the case here. You start each life with a completely blank slate, so the adventure is just as new and exciting every time. I really believe that someday (Well, I guess it’s today!) I’ll be reading this post through your eyes, with no recollection of writing it during my lifetime.

Treat others how you wish to be treated.

The moral implications of this theory of reincarnation give a whole new meaning to the golden rule, “Treat others how you wish to be treated.” If everyone and everything is essentially you, then there is no escaping karma. Even after death, you will experience the legacy you leave behind through the lives of everyone you will have ever come in contact with. Thus, if you orchestrate the genocide of millions of people (or animals), you’ll have to experience each of those horrible deaths (and lives) after you’ve lived out your life. On the other hand, if you help others along your journey, you will receive your own love, compassion, and wisdom in your future lives. You reap what you sow. This theory strongly highlights the responsibility we all have to this planet and to each other, because it implies that we aren’t done with this place when we die. The Earth that future generations will see as soon as they’re born is completely dependent on what we choose to do today.

The sooner we all recognize the sacredness of everything in existence, the sooner we can truly manifest Heaven on Earth.

Photo credit: Dirk Beyer

Aliens Must Exist Because Stars Are Life Factories

August 9, 2018 in Views

When you look up at the starry night sky, there are countless civilizations contained in your field of view—they’re just too far away to see. Yes, aliens exist. I can say this with confidence because a few years ago, I realized why stars and planets exist: The Universe creates them solely for the sake of life.

Stars serve three main purposes:

1) They create the building blocks of life.

Gravity collects hydrogen atoms floating through space and smashes them together to create more complex elements that are necessary for life (oxygen, carbon, sulfur, calcium, etc.).

2) They sustain life.

As a star is stockpiling biological building blocks, it’s also releasing huge amounts of light and heat—both of which, as far as we know, are necessary for complex life to exist. When the conditions are right (or when the stars align, so to speak), life begins to form on one or more of the planets orbiting a star. These lifeforms depend on the nuclear fusion happening at the core of each and every star to survive.

3) They scatter the building blocks of life when they die.

Once a star has “reached capacity,” it collapses and then explodes, sending its divine guts sailing through space in every direction. Gravity then collects that space-dust and molds it into planets that orbit stars and hopefully contain all the ingredients for life. This means that even though our sun will inevitably destroy our planet, its life’s work will disperse and eventually manifest in entirely new planets, civilizations, and memories.

I believe the Universe is doing all of this constantly—creating, destroying, creating, destroying—because it “wants” to be alive. It “wants” to create new bodies to inhabit, through which it can enjoy experiences such as eating, sleeping, making love, laughing, running, swimming, flying, etc.

Without life, what would the Universe be but a moving diorama of rocks and fireballs in a void? There would be no one to witness the divinity that is the Universe, so there would be no point for it to exist at all. Life is by no means an accident or an anomaly. It’s happening all over the Cosmos, albeit separated by huge gaps in space and time.

Life is created by the Universe, for the Universe. And we are all the Universe.

Photo credit: NASA/SDO, HMI

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