I grew up reading Superman comic books. “What would it be like to fly across the city using nothing more than a cape?” I asked.
To find out, I retrieved a white bed sheet from our linen and sheet closet, climbed on to the roof of our garage, and ran from one side to the other, and went flying off.
Luckily, the family pool was below and softened my fall. I had felt the resistance of the wind against the sheet as I jumped, but not enough to lift me beyond the borders of the pool.
My mother came out and yelled , ” what in the h_ _l are you doing with that sheet in the pool?”
I didn’t fly that day, but I counted it a small victory anyway: my mother didn’t see me jump off the roof.
On the other hand, It’s now some six decades later, and there are human adventurers wearing nothing but sheets and jumping off cliffs and flying for miles at extraordinary speeds.
The fantasy of flying like Superman has finally come true.
Feats of wonder start out first as fantasies in the mind, then are eventually worked out in real life
But why? Why go beyond the everyday work of “chopping wood and carrying water” to work on making fantasies realities?
Personally, I’m one who believes there is nothing impossible for the human brain to imagine, figure out, and accomplish.
With the discovery of the foundation code of existence, the digital network, I am more sure than ever that all things are possible.
But why perform the impossible, even when it is possible to do so? What drives us to do the impossible? (By the way, I believe the impossible will be accomplished. We’ll create new worlds before our present one dies off. We’ll create human bodies and minds that live forever. We’ll save the universe from both explosion and/or collapse.)
Even with all that (and that’s a lot), why do it?
Why hassle with the impossible? What is the grounding principle that pushes us forward?
I’ve toyed with two possible answers.
One, God has made it possible for us to do the impossible; or at least, for the impossible to be accomplished so that we might live with him (or her) forever.
I’m not entirely satisfied with this answer, mainly because, with this explanation, we are being acted upon, rather than acting for ourselves. In my opinion, this kind of answer will become less and less appealing as we proceed to turn the impossible into the tangible.
Two, we do it it to survive. Doing the impossible allows us to adapt. Adapting facilitates survival.
I’m partially satisfied with this answer, because it meets the criteria of what we know scientifically. That is, we are creatures of biological evolution.
We go on doing the impossible, because we can. And we can, because our biology determines we can.
But, if the only reason to do the impossible is because we can, I conclude we should try to come up with truths for doing the impossible that are more philosophically and spiritually appealing.
We need to justify our existence in the universe. And if it cannot be justified on the terms we set forth, we humans will eventually fade away, just as our solar system and galaxy will, and just as our universe will. That also is what the science of biological evolution (and physics) concludes.
So what’s the meaning of all this? Other than biological determinism, there is no lasting meaning to our existence, that is, unless we create one.
To me, the compelling reason to continue our existence is because, as far as we can determine, we humans are the only things in the universe that are nearly fully conscious. With the advent of humans, the universe has started to understand itself. The universe has awakened to itself.
Our contribution is our consciousness. The universe is a fish with no eyes or brain without us. Our responsibility is to keep the universe’s brain growing, which means keeping our own brains growing. Nothing, or no one, has assigned us this task, other than ourselves. Before us, there was no consciousness. There was no decision making. There was no will. Before us there was only randomness. But, because of us, there is now awareness. We, of our own choosing, choose to continue living and pushing our consciousness forward to ever and ever more spectacular feats of fantasy, execution, and reality.
If the whole of the universe were to pass out of existence, we have no guarantees a new universe will ever experience self awareness again, unless we declare we will continue to do the impossible and keep this precious little reality called consciousness alive.