Report on Seminar at Caloundra

Dear Explorers

We had a good roll-up for the first week of our study of John Humphreys’ book Our benevolent cosmos: Embracing the mystery of life. We were indeed lucky to have John with us, and his wife Janice, who did the illustrations for the book. John shared some of his experiences from his 50 years in the science, technology and innovation environment. For those who weren’t there I will endeavour to give you some idea of what we discussed.

To give some idea of the immensity of the cosmos I showed this James Webb Space Telescope image of a patch of sky behind a grain of sand held at arm’s length. It contains thousands of galaxies 4.6 billion light years away.

P vii–ix  John writes that the principal aims off the book are ‘encouraging an open mind in embracing life’s mystery and suggesting pathways to discover our pure essence’. In his book he has included the thoughts of scientists, sages, spiritualists, sceptics, philosophers, artists, anthropologists, theologians and historians. He suggests ‘that the book be read slowly and mindfully, to allow its content to penetrate beyond the thinking, intellectualised mind’.

P x John talks about the ‘universal mind’ or ‘universal consciousness, which can be defined as ‘an energy field or life force that permeates all of creation’ (Bahai Teachings)

P 1 I showed the video What is dark matter and dark energy? (6.20 min)

P 3  ‘. . . there is a splendid natural order underlying the chaos of the universe, our own planet Earth, and in every human being.’

P 4–5. ‘. . . if organised religion was serving us well, we would witness a surge, rather than a dramatic, accelerating decline in church attendances worldwide . . .(It needs) to embrace an alternative, more contemporary, community-centred, environmentally friendly, spiritually based direction.’

P 6 ‘. . . the rapidly decreasing Christian Church attendances worldwide demonstrate that a new Reformation is occurring, rather than the idea that Christian adherents are doomed to a dying Church.’ What an affirming statement for ‘progressive’ Christians!

P  7 We must evolve ‘as beings that sense our connectedness to all that is seen and unseen. . . to walk that pathway mindfully—not through intellectual pursuits on the meaning of life, but through sensing, feeling, loving, evolving and discovering the joy of transcending the body in sacred stillness.

We worked though the Appendix: Scientific explorations of our cosmos. This was interesting but we sure didn’t understand it all.

P 135 Matthew Fox said ‘We have a relationship with the stars . . . we should find God in nature—not in a book.’

P 137. I showed the YouTube video What is string theory? (2.34 min)

P 140  John shared his knowledge of the Square Kilometre Array, the world’s largest radio telescope.

We look forward to discussing Chap 1 Connecting with the cosmos (p 9–35) next Tuesday (tomorrow).

Ken Williamson


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