By George A. Ricker
Im not sure exactly when I had this epiphany, but it came when I suddenly realized what Einsteins E=mc2 really meant.1
Energy is matter liberated. Matter is energy stored. They are, in a nutshell, two faces of the same coin. They reflect the essential unity of all that exists.
If I had to sum up my philosophy of life with one word, it would be that word.
Heres what I mean.
I think we are one thing, a unity of matter and energy that comes into being, exists for a time, then is recycled by nature in a perpetual dance of matter and energy that will endure as long as they endure.
Its not clear what started the dance or how it will end. I dont even know whether it can properly be said to have any beginning or ending. It may be that the dance itself with the change that is its constant expression is the one eternal verity.
Think of the mass of humanity six billion and counting and all our incredible diversity. Then consider that at the level of genes and chromosomes we are virtually identical. The differences we see are accounted for by a minute fraction of the whole.2
To be sure, those differences are amplified by the variety of our cultures and by our mythologies and religions the stories we have told as we try to explain ourselves to ourselves. But stripped of that veneer of difference, we share a commonality of biology and human heritage that is broad and deep.
It goes beyond our basic humanity. We also share a common ancestry with all that lives. We are inextricably a part of nature, not apart from it.
To be whole is to reject the false dichotomies that tell us we are fractionated beings, constantly at war with our own natures.
To be whole is to understand all that can exist is what does exist, to accept that our minds and personalities are expressions of our own physicality, not separate components like the ghosts in a machine.
To be whole is to appreciate the majesty of this life, this universe as conscious, rational beings who understand the only eternity that really matters, the only one we can ever know is the one we are experiencing at this moment ... now.
To be whole is to realize that existence is its own reason for being and requires nothing beyond itself to make it more meaningful.
It is essential to our happiness. It is the ultimate expression of our place in the scheme of things, our connection with all that exists and our longing to be at peace.
©2005 by George A. Ricker
1. E=MC2 (energy equals mass times the speed of light squared). Mass and matter are not synonyms. Mass is an attribute of matter. However, for purposes of this essay, I am assuming an equivalence.
2. Compare your genes with any other human beings and on average they will be about 99.9 percent the same. Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything, ISBN 0-7679-0817-1, Random House, 2003, pp. 398