EDWISE  - EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT
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Eye of the Optimist-checking reality

A reader might misunderstand what is meant by a positive outlook. You could think it the choice to gaze upon an apparently tranquil scene of majestic beauty, like rays of sunlight shining down upon a beautiful forest causing waters to sparkle and colors to look sharp and bright, and hold that thought like some people are taught to do during meditation. That would be to avoid looking at the ugliness and violence in nature. No, the optimist can bear in mind the true nature of nature, that it is volatile, diverse, indifferent, harsh and overpowering as well as beautiful and tranquilizing. Do not be mislead or do not misconstrue the optimist and optimism.

It seems that nature just happens, regardless of any life within the entire universe. The sun that is our life force and can look so beautiful from afar is a ball of flaming gas created by extreme conditions that bore an explosion much more powerful than most humans can fathom. It came into being, and will end, as is the fate of all objects in space. This is a continuing process of the universe that has gone on since the big bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago. The Earth's core is hotter than our sun. While humans can be charmed that the illusion of stillness when we look out of at a sunset, our Earth is still a flaming ball hurling through space among an infinite number of other objects hurling through space. We are regularly hit by chunks of amassed matter and could be hit by a large overpowering one any time.  If there is any other existing life any where else in space is still a mystery to humans because our science has only managed to gaze into the past when it has spied on activity and objects light years away.

The size of the universe is hard to imagine. Our little galaxy (The Milky Way) is merely billions of light years across, and there are others much bigger. While the universe is constantly though finitely expanding, The opposite is true (Newton's law), for matter shrinks infinitely in black holes. Every time we think we have discovered the smallest particle, we find others still smaller. That is the hardest thing for me to grasp.

How to regard this situation? You could take the path of no hope and abysmal pessimism. For some, it might be a justification for not caring about anything, and just taking pleasure as much as possible. Worse, it can inspire some to resort to taking from others and concentrating on the material satisfaction in life with no regard for life. If the universe is inherently violent, humans can prefer to think that humans are inherently violent, and justify violence against life around them. On one hand, it could be a rational for being either anti-religion, amoral, and unethical. On the other hand, it could foster the belief in an absolute religion and encourage one to judge others on some scale of absolutes. Then there are those who choose the path of despair, and believe that it is not worth trying to live well, never mind trying to improve; for them, it might not be worthwhile even living.

How do you conceive of the big bang, the creation of the universe as astro-physicists understand it? Did that minute spark that suddenly exploded in one instance really come out of nothing, or was there something before and some specific cause, as opposed to the reigning theory that the big bang was a random incident. Many a creationist would say that the force behind the universe is a perfect and pure ultimate and sentient power they like to call "God" and that God deliberately started it all, for some reason we piddly imperfect have yet to divine. In my view, it is no use arguing. As an optimist, I don't have to lean one way or the other.

The question is how to live life in this situation, to my way of thinking. We are alive, and it is fantastic that the situation really does exist. It is absolutely fantastic that the Earth is what it is and has born life, and that this life has evolved to this point. Therefore, we should celebrate. We should enjoy life. At the same time, we should refrain from debasing it and belittling it. It is important, and we should respect life and try to live up to its power, grace and beauty. Though we cannot beat it, we should follow through and extend the struggle in nature, and try to be better and treat life better. What's more we should try to reduce the suffering and curb the violence against life during this short time in the universe that the Earth is allowed and the much shorter time that a human life lasts. We should acknowledge life, and the good things it holds in this vast and mysterious and mighty universe.

Mayhem seems to be taking over a lot of communities in the world today. That kind of mayhem, though, is not random and not natural; it is a human creation. We must try to rectify societies, and put them on a healthier life-respecting and life-giving path.



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