Toomas Välja, Ursa Major & Campfire light – via Flickr, CC BY 2.0]
I met an interesting man last night at a gathering at our friends’ farm. It was a small last-minute get-together, a lovely end-of-summer night. We were sitting around a fire, people drinking and talking. There was music and flowing water. It was getting late, and the kids were still running around playing. Arriving, I had seen a van in the parking lot. It looked really cool. It was a big dark grey modern utility vehicle, no windows (other than the front windshields), which obviously had been outfitted as a camper. There were small antennas sticking out of it. It looked like an FBI surveillance van.
I thought, yes, I’d want to travel across the country in something like that—bigger than a family-size van but smaller than an RV—if it could run on electric even better, and I would want windows… (I began dreaming). Later, I figured the van belonged to the man I met so I asked him about it, just curious at first, and we got to talking, and when I asked him what he does out of that van, he shared with me that he’s a philosopher slash entrepreneur slash engineer (or technical person of some kind—he had done the van’s electronics) and that he was previously a Christian minister, but that he had experienced a crisis (or transformation) of faith. His companion was a golden retriever, who came up to us for nuzzling all wet from the river. He said that his life now is about asking two questions:
- Who are we? and
- What is the Universe?
He said he was starting a podcast on these topics. I asked him how far along he thought he was in actually answering his questions? Which was funny, that I asked, because he had recently determined 16% (an educated guess). He mentioned ancient Sumer a number of times, and the idea that humans could be (evidence suggests) a created race originally bred to serve a group of extraterrestrial “gods” who were in conflict with other galactic beings. There is a struggle underway (and has been for thousands of years) to liberate ourselves from bondage. He is working on a TED-style presentation of his findings so far.
It was an interesting conversation, as he shared information I hadn’t heard before. And though I realize some might judge such views as unscientific, nonetheless—perhaps it was the Mezcal being passed around—I felt our conversation was completely reasonable in the spirit of open inquiry. I let myself wonder—
Does the mainstream biological evolutionary story really make sense of the archaeological evidence (such as pertaining to Göbekli Tepe—and the uncanny correspondences in ancient texts—and all the UFO sightings (some of which my new acquaintence has recorded on his phone)—the experiences of ‘visitations’—the paranormal and visionary and lucid dreams from the beyond? Do the stories we learn in school connect the dots? Or are there deeper, truer stories we’re not facing or aware of? I thought of Jeffrey Kripal’s work. Graham Hancock’s name also came up. And of course, Sri Aurobindo (who we are reading here on Infinite Conversations) was profoundly engaged in answering these question, too. As was Octavia Butler and Philip K. Dick and Ursula K. Le Guin. As are so many other writers, philosophers, scientists, spiritual seekers, artists, and researchers who have wondered, questioned, studied, and probed existence for answers throughout history.
WHO ARE WE, after all? And WHAT IS this Universe?
Don’t we ALL have a story about what’s real, what’s true, and who we are in the big reality? How do we know what’s real? And how do we know that we know?
By “we,” here, I mean what conventionally we call “human beings,” while acknowledging that some people talk about becoming post- or trans-human; some say they are ‘children of God’; some say they are ‘spiritual beings having a human experience’; other say they are ghosts spontaneously arising out of machines. I mean all of that and more.
By the “universe” I mean everything that exists. Literally everything…but also, specifically, our existence here on this planet (or plane) we call Earth.
I am proposing here some very, very open-ended questions…
I would especially like to invite people who are NEW to the forum to share their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. It doesn’t have to be related to my conversation with awesome van guy. There is no absolute vanguard here! Of course, our veteran @readers and @writers are also welcome to share their views, as I hope some will. But the questions are deliberately not limited to our particular readings or other cosmic projects. I want to ask the questions freshly, as I felt they were being asked last night. I am interested in ALL OF IT—your unique view of the TRUTH.
WHO ARE WE? And WHAT IS the Universe?
Inquiring minds want to know!