Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Immense Cosmos

Given the overwhelming vastness and miraculous nature of our universe, a natural tendency is to retreat into our socially constructed existence here on earth -- a thin slice of reality that we can more readily comprehend because we are the primary architects of the cities and factories that now dominate our lives. Yet by ignoring the larger universe in which we are immersed -- by concentrating our attention on the engaging and demanding social reality -- we easily forget that it is the immense cosmos that is our true home. We live almost completely immersed in a socially constructed reality that so fully absorbs our energy and attention that virtually none remains to experience the wonder of our existence. The tragedy of modern industrial societies is the superficiality that they project (and that we accept) as the norm for human affairs. We unconsciously trivialize the human experiment with shallow pursuits of money and social status that mask the magnificence of what it means to be a human being.

-- Duane Elgin, Voluntary Simplicity, pp. 115-16 (revised edition, c1993).

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