People love to say “dust to dust.” We start as dust, we end as dust. And apparently, with AI on the forefront, we are all running toward and away from the cosmic Roomba.
But as science explores dust, it finds there are similarities between what cultures thousands of years ago were saying long before science was a thing: dust doesn’t exist.
To paraphrase several readings, if we decompose dust down to its molecules and then down to the sub-atomic level, we already find that the space between things is pretty vast. In one reading, if both the proton and the electron were the size of a pinhead, there would be a baseball field’s distance between them. So we are already at “everything is 99.999…% nothing.”
Getting to Nothing
Then, some extra smart people decided to smash some protons. That’s been a big thing (for being so small), and from what I have heard, if we smash a sub-atomic particle, it generates 5 petabytes of data per second. If we just stick to printed material, that would be about “500 Libraries of Congress” per second of data to sort through.
And in that data, apparently are these things called quarks. Finally, we arrive at quarks being made of energy. Energy – waves and forces (yes, the concept of Force: Newtonian, Star Warsian and stuff like that) which we cannot see and have no substance (other than their amalgamation under the laws of known physics which enables our sensory systems, also an amalgamation of forces, to perceive them) are the only things holding the universe together. Dust simply doesn’t exist.
Welcome to the Journey
What we are left with is energy. The energy we think of as “us” is exploring the energy we think of as “the world around us” even though it is all the same energy. The “energy” that we hear of in countless electronica tracks from people hopped up on psychotropics ends up being the closest explanation of existence we’ve been able to establish.
And that is the journey. We don’t know definitively what becomes of our contemplative consciousness before or after this leg of the journey, but we have established there is more to it than just dust. Or, for the nihilists out there, maybe there is nothing to it. For me, there is something to it. Something, I say! 🙂