Email to Robert Bellah
Human Centered Universe
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20120623                20120627                Teleology

Written to Robert N. Bellah, author of Religion in Human Evolution

From: Scott Sinnock, 4:24pm, June 23, 2012
Subject: Copernican Revolution Overturned

I am reading your delightfully honest and refreshing "Religion in Human Evolution". A real nit to pick. Page 32 of my copy (hardback) asks "How decentered can you get?" referring to the modern Copernican perspective of the cosmos. But I believe modern physics put each of us right back in the center, and called it the "space-time information cone". That, along with Einstein's assertion that "the laws of physics are the same to all observers" places me square in the center again. Of course, I am the only observer in my universe, but if you balk at that, then "we" humans are the only observers we know of in the universe, at least of the underlying math, so I, we, are the center. The universe, at least the knowable universe, is a sphere (metaphorically) centered around each of us, around each point in space-time. At any given instant messages reaching us (mostly photons, by far, though some say gravitons as well) have come from every part of that self-centered sphere. The "reach" of our self-cent ered senses (can they be otherwise?) grows in the symbolic representations of space-time at the nearly the speed of light. The fact that I can "imagine" another perspective does not alter the fact that, in fact, I am the center of all that I can know, which is just another imagining of this old geologist, philosopher, student, and even, so I've been jokingly, perhaps, told, bhoddisattva, however it's spelled.

Oh yes, thank you for introducing me to D and B consciousness. I always thought of D consciousness as just the "responsibility to make the world a better place for us all ....... me too as a member of all". Deficiency and betterment, it seems to me, are the same thing, just depending on which way we look along the scale; yin and yang you know. Many other thoughts in your book resonate with mine as well, such as these short words perhaps indicate. Thank you.
Scott Sinnock

He answered the same day.

To: Scott Sinnock
From: Robert N Bellah, 5:42pm, June 23, 2012
Subject: Re: Copernican Revolution Overturned

Dear Scott:

I think you have answered my question, "How decentered can you get?" when you say each of us is the center of our own universe.  That is how decentered we can get.  I do think the two most remarkable things about the universe are the Big Bang and the fact that humans have (quite recently) understood at least in outline the Big Bang and everything that has led up to us.  Since the existence of "us" is one of the two most remarkable things in the world, it is not surprising that each of us is the center of our own universe, but that is not what any previous answer to the question of the center of the universe ever meant.

I'm glad you are enjoying my book.

Best, Bob