The purpose of the universe, life, and me
This is a longer, more intellectualized version of this post: "Do Your Job."
The purpose of life, the universe, and everything.
The universe has a purpose, and most parts of it assist in that purpose.
The universe's purpose is to become aware; to know itself; to understand itself.
Most of the universe is engaged in that project--knowingly or not.
That's my job. And yours, if you want to do it.
How the universe carries out its mission
The universe carries out its purpose by organizing the stuff of which the universe made. That's the method by which the universe produced everything that now exists and will ever exist.
If you want to blame it on God and not the universe itself, that's fine. And if you want to believe that God did this within recent history, that's fine. It doesn't change the fact that there's evidence, and it doesn't change the story that the evidence tells us.
Not in the beginning, but close--within the first ten seconds, the evidence in the Chronology of the Universe says--most of the universe was hydrogen. Yeah, a little helium and some stuff that we can't see and don't understand yet, called Dark Matter and Dark Energy. But mostly hydrogen.
And from hydrogen came the galaxies, and stars, and our sun, and our earth, and all the life on earth, and you, and me.
All from hydrogen.
Hydrogen is not able to understand anything--as far as we know, but stuff made from hydrogen, stuff like you and me--can understand things.
How did dumb old hydrogen turn into something that can know and understand things? We know part of the answer: a process, which must be inherent in the mechanics of the universe, causes hydrogen to form stars, which explode to form the other elements, which coalesce into new systems, on at least one of which life has arisen, and evolved into creatures that can understand.
The universe has organized itself into these new systems, into life, into us, into something that can understand the universe.
Organized things are organs.
We can think of living things as organs of the universe: each meant to do a part of a job that the whole is collectively engaged in.
And that job, empirically, is self-knowledge and self-understanding.
We--the universe, life, humanity, me--are coming to know and to understand what we are.
Right now, I am--on behalf of the universe--trying to expressing this truth. This is not the first time I or anyone else has tried to say this. Nor will it be the last. That's the way the universe works: we learn by doing.
This post is my contribution today to this much greater project.
A bacterium can metabolize chemicals to produce the energy it needs, synthesize proteins and build copies of itself. Bacteria do not "know" how to do any of this. They are not capable of knowing--as we conceive of knowing.
Does knowledge exist independent of minds that can know? Do sounds exist independent of creatures that can hear? I would answer both questions in the affirmative. Knowledge of protein synthesis exists, embodied, in a bacterium that can synthesize proteins, even if the bacteria are incapable of knowing what they can do, much less how they do it.
But where did that knowledge arise? Did bacteria create it? Did it appear only when it was embodied? I would argue that before it was encoded in the bodies of bacteria that knowledge was inherent in the structure of the universe.
The process of evolution extracted that knowledge and embodied it in living creatures. Then created living creatures capable of analyzing that embodied knowledge and understanding it.
We are parts of the awakening universe, beginning to know things that are already inherent in the universe.
I believe that the purpose of the universe is to understand itself. I take as my purpose to assist in that endeavor.
I take as my purpose: to understand myself and as much of the rest of the universe as I can.
The means by which the universe comes to understand itself is by collecting data, organizing it as information, knowledge, and understanding.
I take this as my job. And here I've done it.
I've taken some data, some information, and organized it.
Accordingly, I believe that I understand the universe a bit better.
Said differently: I'm doing my job.
I am for things that add to our store of knowledge and the breadth of our understanding.
I'm for science and education.
I'm for open reporting and for fact-checking.
I'm for transparency.
I'm against intellectual monopoly.