In the summer of 1969 shortly after I moved to California, Carol, my then roommate, dropped me off at St. Rita’s Catholic Church in San Jose for an all-day conference given by a husband and wife team of philosophy teachers from San Jose State College. They launched into a lecture about Pere Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit Priest who was about a hundred years ahead of his time in proclaiming “…we are the stuff of the stars…”
Teaching at a University in Paris got him in trouble with the Church with his advanced views. After removing him from teaching, the Church sent him to China since he was a paleontologist, where he unearthed one of the important early skulls and so made his name in that field as well. He was just too brilliant to fade quietly away in Asia. He wrote several books, The Phenomenon of Man, Hymn of The Universe, To Save the Earth, and others.
After listening and taking voluminous notes at the seminar, I was awe-filled and greatly inspired with hope for humankind.
A recent episode of Call the Midwife was ending and the narrator spoke softly about “…the invisible but real cord that connects us all…” which took me back to the words of Deepak Chopra one evening in an auditorium in Akron, when he said all of us sitting there were not the same people who we had been when we first took our seats, since we had been together there breathing the same air.
Listening to a video of Tom Chi, co-founder of Google X really tied together all of these thoughts on interconnectedness for me. He talks about the heart – there is a molecule of iron in the cells – and iron, is formed in supernovas; and breath – how a breath exhaled travels completely around the world in 4 or 5 days. He spoke about Laniakea, the super cluster of galaxies of which we, on the Milky Way, are a little dot in the big swirl.
Tom Chi spoke about how what each person does – contributes to the palate of the rest of the people on earth. For example, he said that the piano was invented in 1700. Before the piano was invented, the beauty of piano music was not available for people to enjoy. So each generation builds on what the previous generations have contributed to society. Even when we feel small and alone, it seems we are not at all, and are actually doing our part to paint the big picture.
Forever known to the world as Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, William Shatner, a recent guest on the Tavis Smiley show, said he believes that all living things are related and that from life through death we evolve into something else. He is, however, very concerned that once that happens, he will be alone and that causes him to fear dying. He also does not believe that we will then have to atone for our sins. This is the difference between one who has faith in God, and one who does not. Perhaps he will be pleasantly surprised to find himself in the company of not only all of his ancestors, but all creatures who once inhabited the earth.