Interstellar Postcards

I’m re-posting something from May 2016 since this evening I noticed above the Constellation of the Tauroctony a number of curious shapes, including an almost perfect equilateral triangle and a pentagon with an extra star that marked the midway point between two corners and formed a straight line parallel to the horizon.

Recalling that ancient travelers relied on star charts to guide their travels, I wondered how we might find our way through the Universe, when the relationships among stars vary according to one’s point of origin. While the three stars of Orion’s Belt (which is also the Blade of Mithras) appear to us in an imperfect straight line, that geometric pattern would not obtain in much, if not most, of the rest of the Universe.

However, stars have unique temperature and chemical signatures and we have, only recently, begun to develop technologies that more clearly detect and decode such information.

This means that Aliens might be able to give us their cosmic street address and vice versa. So, while repeating radio signals rightly capture our attention at the moment, perhaps one day soon we’ll be swapping addresses with new Friends. Or perhaps we’ll be sending interstellar postcards to Alien penpals who live in places where our radio signals can’t reach, just as your cellphone might have lousy signal reception depending on where you find yourself.

As we begin to seed the Universe, we will likely use information such as chemical and temperature signatures to direct our “seed packages”.

A Biblical passage comes to mind: “Where one man sows, another reaps.” We have no reason to expect to see the results of our “seeding” missions. We have to be honest with ourselves about that. This is why a CEO with a board of directors demanding optimized returns or a politician chasing votes for the next round of elections would never think to do something like this.

But a priest would — because a priest understands that a single act of love can change the Universe and accomplish wonders that once seemed impossible.

That’s why I look at this endeavor not as an investment that will bring us benefit or a labor for which we will receive recompense. Rather, I regard it as a sacred mission or a vocation. It’s something that, in itself, has value and meaning — no matter the cost, difficulty, or lack of quantifiable material self-benefit.

And who knows? As unlikely as it seems, maybe we who sow will somehow also partake of the harvest.

~BT Waldbillig
December 19, 2017


DOG LESSONS

There is scarce a moment in the day when Dante and I are separated. Luckily, we get on rather well and enjoy each other’s company! There’s just one thing: Dante is not an average dog. Most humans regard themselves as more intelligent and evolved than dogs, but with Dante and me it’s quite the opposite. While I have several academic degrees and he has none, when we communicate with each other he is always the teacher.

Why, just last night as we strolled across the great lawn in Highbridge Park, he gave me lessons in geometry and astronomy. He used the various formations of stars in the night sky to teach me the differences among shapes like an isosceles trapezoid, a pentagon, and a triangle. He went on at length about pulsars and magnetars, and though I didn’t understand much of what he was saying, I listened and nodded politely.

Next, he spoke of geology, going on about the layers of the Earth, particularly its outer core, and the Earth’s atmosphere.

Then, he gave me lessons in biology and botany. He said something about recombinant DNA. He also speculated about androids and cryogenic timers — but all I could think of was my favorite television program, Futurama. I really should pay better attention!

He saved the most important lesson for last. He told me that while all creatures suffer and all living things pass away, there is still much hope for our world.

That made me very happy!

[May 2016]

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