Star Trek had Deep Space 9, the only iteration of the series that didn't involve a crew to "boldly go where no one has gone before", but instead an interstellar stationary station that served as a destination, a place where many different intelligent space-traveling species could meet. That started in 1993, and in 1994 a very similar series started which became one of my all time favorite science-fiction series: Babylon 5.
I remember an episode of Babylon 5 where a meeting was organized of leaders from many different worlds; this memory was triggered by the news yesterday that actress Mira Furlan, who played the Minbari Ambassador Delenn in that series, has died at the age of 65 due to complications with West Nile Virus. In that episode something was said that I'll never forget, something I've since heard many times with different words. In the scene I see with my mind's eye, the alien leaders are in a room with Captain John Sheridan, with the Minbari Ambassador as one of the leaders, and they all, one by one explain to Sheridan their worlds' religions and religious systems. Noteworthy for me was the fact that they were all surprised when Sheridan explained that on his home-world, Earth, there are many different religions, where the aliens all had but one belief system for their entire species. But it was Minbari Ambassador Delenn's belief system that stuck with me. When she was asked what her people believe, she said, and I'm paraphrasing here: "In our belief, captain Sheridan, you are the universe, trying to understand itself." This answer contrasted so beautifully with all the other beliefs, all of which were speaking of some creator of the universe or another.
It held the message: don't seek, just be. We, sentient conscious creatures, are the eyes, ears and minds through which the universe beholds itself. And it doesn't argue one way or another if our minds are emergent from the universe, or if the universe is emergent from our minds. Just be and appreciate the miracle that is your brief moment in time acting as the universe's eyes and ears. Like I said, since then I've heard this world view many times, most notably by one of my favorite speakers, Alan Watts, who's known for interpreting and popularizing Buddhism, who said: "Through our eyes the universe is perceiving itself". In the below linked video he goes one step further by saying: "Each one of you is the universe expressed in the place which you feel is here and now. You're an aperture through which the universe is looking at itself, exploring itself."
You see, despite all the infighting and quibbling over politics, economics, elections, the constant dueling between ego's, the eternal race to see who reaches the top first, we're all in this miraculous adventure together, and we can't survive without one another. It's like Watts says; we've been bamboozled into thinking that we're alone, that we only have our own bootstraps to pull ourselves up, that it's a measure of weakness to ask for help and that we're thieves or our own wallets for giving help. All that capitalist and individualistic nonsense is just that: nonsense. But it's the predominant software that's been installed on our hardware, in our brains. These beliefs guide our behavior; we believe that the Sun will rise every day, so we act like the Sun will rise every day. We believe that competition, exploitation and profits are simply the way things are, and we act like it.
Mira Furlan has died, Alan Watts has departed our shared spacetime as well, but I wish we all can agree upon the wisdom Furlan shared as Delenn and Watts as himself... May they rest in peace.
Alan Watts - You Are The Universe
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