We already know that everything in the known universe (note “known”), all matter, is made up entirely of dead stars. Stars like our sun. Everything we see hear feel touch smell or taste around us on earth and everywhere else is materially comprised of the leftover matter of stars that once lived for billions of years and then exploded and died. It is the explosion of stars upon their death that spreads the very building blocks of all matter throughout the universe. Everything from carbon to iron to to gold silver helium oxygen… All liquids solids gels gasses atoms and even sub-atomic particles, all of it, even you me and everything inside of us, originally existed first in some far off star somewhere before it made its way to earth to form the basic materials used to create everything we see around us, including ourselves.
When people dreamily recount how we are all stardust, it may sound mythic, poetic and mysteriously romantic, but that doesn’t make it any less true. There isn’t an atom in our body nor in any of the clothes we are wearing that didn’t originally come from a distant star in a far off galaxy long before it drifted into our world to create who we are today.
The truth of this fact and all the scientific details related to it aren’t in question; they’re second nature to those who study astronomy, physics and cosmology. Taken for granted. Common knowledge.
Regardless, the ramifications of this strange reality are still staggering. Especially to sentient beings like ourselves who long to discover a deeper meaning about who we are, why we are here and where we came from. Human beings especially have a deep and innate longing to feel special. We created the idea of us having “souls”. And since the dawn of recorded history we’ve invented creation mythologies involving divine superior beings to help explain who we are and how we got here.
On the one hand our understanding that everything we are originally came from an explosion caused by the death of a star can seem comforting. On an atomic level it is irrefutable. That we are star stuff. That every atom in our body has existed for billions of years and we are just borrowing them for a short time so that we may live out our lives just as the stars that preceded us did. But on the other hand the ramifications of such a material explanation for our existence can seem like a very cold solution to such a heated ancient mystery.
After all, we think. Do stars think? We have feelings and emotions. Do stars? We contemplate our past and future. We ponder our existence and hypothesize about our afterlife. Do stars?
Most people already know the answers to these questions and many more like them. So what’s the difference? What is the variable that has contributed to the phenomenon that there is such a vast difference between us and the stuff we are made of?
Could it be consciousness? We’ve got it labeled. We’ve named it. Because we think we know what it is well enough to have created a name for it. Though we can’t see it or feel it or touch it or even measure it, we still have no doubt that such a thing exists. And yet where does IT come from?
And deeper still, what we are really discussing is awareness. In fact one might argue that the term consciousness is in reality nothing but a placeholder for the deeper truth that we are self aware. We are aware of ourselves. We are aware that we exist. We are aware that we are we and not someone or something else. We are conscious of this. Hence consciousness.
The real question then is what is consciousness? Or awareness? Will we one day discover that it too is material? That it too is composed of matter? Sub-atomic particles similar to the stuff that our very hearts and minds are made of? Or is conscious awareness something else entirely? Something that transcends matter…?
In a universe that we now know is made up of 11 different dimensions we very well one day might discover that even consciousness has its place in the material world. Or not. But if we do, what kind of materials could consciousness be made of? Awareness? Perhaps mysterious new particles or elements that we’ve not yet discovered. Only time will tell. It almost always does. If we’re lucky we may still be around when this happens. Since every atom in our body is billions of years old and will continue to exist for billions more years, there’s a good chance we will be. I for one am looking forward to this discovery.
Of course we may one day discover that consciousness and awareness are not material at all. That they are composed of entirely different stuff that isn’t stuff at all. I equally and eagerly look forward to this discovery as well.