We are bounced around in our existence seemingly held captive by centripetal and centrifugal forces indifferent to out plight to survive. We are told that there is a universe. Some scientist argue that it is expanding. Some scientist argue that the universe is contracting. Therefore, is it safe to say, metaphorically, that the universe could just be breathing? In our existence of inhaling and exhaling we are also caught between amazing instructive contradictions. On the one hand we experience life at the material level via technology. This instructs us that things are moving toward improvement or “getting better.”
For example, automakers improve on their products each year. We have cars that can parallel park. Cars have navigation systems. We are even preparing for driverless cars that will operate on a grid system designed to reduce or eliminate accidents by taking the flawed driver out of the equation. Irrespective of technological innovations that imply a better future, we are also instructed by our bodies that as we progress there is also the possibility for decay. It is true that modern medicine, fitness, and dietary routines greatly enhance longevity and the quality of life. Yet, inevitably humans diminish and die. Consequently, if we apply these contradictions to the socioeconomic and political world, the dictum “In order to form a more perfect union,” implies that the future holds progress and improvement. Yet, there is also the reality that the future could hold the destruction of socioeconomic and political institutions as we have come to know them. For example, when the United States of America was founded, my ancestors were enslaved. With the progression of time, enslavement was ended and policies were instituted to prevent relapses as we move toward that more perfect union. For example, civil rights and voting rights became a part of the fabric of the nation. On the other hand, since the election of Barack Obama as President, states have created policies to restrict voting. Such policies do not move the nation toward a more perfect union. Such policies invite decay and diminish the political landscape. Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary is a case in point. Wisconsin has instituted restrictive voter “ID” laws that have the net effect of suppressing the vote. In essence, no political victories that move us toward that more perfect union are permanent. They must be maintained and nurtured.
President Obama offers hope with his policies. He seeks to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons. On the other hand, a person like Donald Trump would like to use our ill-fated logic of the Second Amendment, as recently interpreted by the Supreme Court, to apply to nuclear weapons. Let Japan armed itself. Let South Korea arm itself. Allow for nuclear proliferation in order to serve as a deterrence for aggression by any other state. Our ill-fated interpretation of the Second Amendment has blood flowing in the streets of America. One can only imagine what a “Second Amendment” world would eventually come to resemble.
Earlier in this article I mention driverless cars. I stated that the goal was to take the flawed drive out of the equation. By flawed I mean the drunk driver, the distracted driver, the medical condition driver, the careless driver, as well as the inexperienced driver. The logic of this aspiration sounds wonderful. Yet, everything that is constructed by human hands contains a flaw. The flaw could be minor or it could be great. Nevertheless, a flaw exists. That which we create, manufacture, or produce is our progeny. Within our progeny we can find the gene of our flawed and imperfect selves. This brings us to a larger question. From whence did humans inherit imperfection?
Gravitational waves were detected for the first time in February. The detection of these slight ripples validated Einstein’s theory about gravitational waves which he argued more than one hundred years ago. Yet, Einstein’s work fell short before his death. Today, as in Einstein’s day many scientists grapple with attempting to find the “theory of everything.” In existence there is the infinitely small. There is also infinitely large. Nano technology explores the infinitesimally small. This is why scientist are discovering ways to place large volumes of data on computer chips smaller than a pinpoint. On the other hand the detection of ripples from gravitational waves requires the ability to explore things in space that could be thousands of light years away. Therefore, how is the infinitely small connected to the infinitely large?
The book of Genesis states that God said “Let there be light.” Preachers say God spoke to nothing and created something. Many scientist argue that there was a “big bang” that propelled matter into space. Both of these ideas reach back to a single source or a single first cause. Consequently, if there is a single source or first cause, everything must be related. The very materials that make up the physical world outside of ourselves can be found as fundamental particles of ourselves. Even “thought” or “thinking” takes on physical characteristics. Cancer in the body mimics war on earth. Our emotions mimic the weather and seasons. We have a forward and backward looking imagination. Just like the universe, even our mind breathes.
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he will publish a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”