Understanding Our Place in the Big Picture

16 Feb

In Brief:  Experience is the filter through which we view the world.  If we want to really understand ourselves and the world in which we live, we must do so in the light of History: the study of human experience and change over time 


HISTORYUnderstanding our place in the Big Picture of Reality

What’s ‘humanity’s place in the grand scheme of things’?  … We’re incongruities; so is nature.  We’ll be better off, and understand the universe better as soon as we more readily accept that fact and proceed accordingly in our efforts as human beings to learn about the world and bring about change in life.

‘Man-the-machine‘, ‘Man-the-thinking-animal‘, ‘Man-the-spiritual-agent’. All these labels, to one degree or another, miss the mark on what humankind really “is” and “does”.  All are are essentially true in what they say about us; but they also misconstrue us in our totality as well.  Worse than that, they seem to contradict each other also as principles rather than complementing one another in their positions.  ‘Animals‘ aren’t ‘machines‘, and ‘spiritual agency‘ shouldn’t be a quality of physical entities; but still it appears to be so for the physical being ‘Man.’

So, where then, is the consistency- amidst and truth-value-for these  ideas? …

If we truly want to understand human nature, we have to understand human experience; to do that we need to understand History.  Understanding the Big Picture is fine in a cosmological, scientific sense.  I applaud it.  However, in this context, it’s only worthwhile understanding it in the light of our experiences and human experience overall.

Universal History illuminates everything; without it our view of everything else in the world is cockeyed → bits and pieces producing a tapestry that’s more like a mash of thread than an unified work of art.  But viewed under the lens of historic totality, that jumble of separate, irreconcilable threads begins to make sense to us.   And, that’s how we begin to understand our place in the greater universeHistory is our guide, just as it is – and was – our story.



Putting Life Into Perspective – Feb 6 – Posted by Mike.

It is almost Darwin Day, and before the cakes and celebrations and talks about biology start in various secular/scientific communities around the world, I think it is absolutely vital to remind ourselves of the big picture. Come reflect with us, as we, with our fallibilities, cognitive biases, and irrational tendencies, ponder about our place in the Universe, where we came from, and where we are going.


One Response to “Understanding Our Place in the Big Picture”

  1. dianoilogos February 17, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    The Big Picture – a fine goal to strive for; for in better understanding it, we better understand ourselves. And, yet realize, it’s important to ‘get it right.’ It’s important to keep in mind the complexities and nuances of that Big Picture in which we exist. We not just machines or robots. We’re not just animals with a higher brain or mind plugged-in. And our ability to act deliberately for a higher purpose doesn’t make us any less physical or biological either. … All these factors (and others) mitigate our view of the larger perspective in which we as human beings live and act. Therefore, if we expect to get a more accurate view of that bigger picture, we have to mind these sorts of questions as well as the frame of reference in which they operate. That’s why models like Big History and the Eonic Effect are so important. They give us means to better contextualize this bigger picture.


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