Thursday, 1 March 2012

Those That Died to Give Us Life

The most beautiful deaths are those of creation.

The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution - weren't created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way they could get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today. - Lawrence Krauss

Every nebula, every giant cloud of stardust, is the remains of a star. A star which has erupted in a giant fireball far larger and more powerful than we could ever imagine, shaped by forces far beyond the understanding of the common man. Forces twist and spin the elements into great fountains of matter gushing into space, as magnificent rings explode outwards at speeds which would tear our mortal bodies apart. As it settles, edifices of creation, we can see the great colours of creation, the twinkle of new life, as the remains of the old are drawn in to create the life of the new. New stars blaze into life, the crushing forces of the gigantic newborns sparking into great fires of the heavens. About them, spinning just out of reach of the new light in the darkness, lie the beginnings of the planets upon which others like us may someday live.

In these great fields of space, in the spiralling dust of a cremated giant of a nature we cannot even begin to comprehend, lie the very makings of our lives. Smashed together in the spinning clouds to form the massive spacecraft upon which we live. Dozens of elements forged into being by the eruption of a life which had met its end in fiery fury form the first steps of our creation.

As billions of years pass, these elements are fused and slammed together by the burning solar winds and the pummelling of rocks from far beyond. Amongst the chaos, the second step of life begins to take shape, amongst the liquids not scoured from the Earth by the burning of a new sun. Shells formed of the first oils shield the delicate strings of acid twisted and formed by the energy blasted across space. One amongst them takes the third step, splitting and forming anew, a new brother with which to share its incredible shell beneath the burning skies.

In time, as the great sphere of rock hurtles across the skies, the brothers divide afresh, distorted by the blaze of the great fireball which gave them life. One amongst the many siblings is stronger, newer than the others, and divides itself faster and more perfectly than ever before. The new family spreads across the great pond, lit by the great mountains of fire spitting smoke into a new sky, one shielded from the anger of a growing sun. But still they are distorted, growing stronger and more perfect through time.

As they spread upon their home, multiplying into a horde of new beings, each greater than the last, they leave their humble origins behind. They begin to take the next step, growing closer, seeing strength in numbers with which to protect themselves and more perfectly divide again and again. They grow shells to shield themselves from the heat of the skies and some form long whips to drive their new communities across their home, seeking fuel to keep themselves alive. Soon great cities are formed from the strongest of the new families of this new world, more powerful than the first life could have ever imagined. The cities formed huge walls about them, long suburbs which drag them across the floors of the rich and diverse seas.

One day, the first of these cities would drag itself to land to make a new home under a kinder sun. One day they would stand and hunt one another as they compete to rule the plains once burned by fire from beneath their feet. One day they would look to the sun and wonder, wonder what could have placed it in the sky. One day they would look back and not remember their humble beginnings. 

And they could never have imagined, thinking as one amongst many, that another sun should have died that they may have life.

The most beautiful deaths are those of creation. So look to the stars, and imagine that one day they may give their lives so that those like you could look up and wonder.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

He Who Died for Our Sins

We managed pretty original sins pretty well on our own

In spring, 1968, a shot rang out, and a bullet passed through the face of a man who's voice we all recognise today. He fell, his spinal cord severed, and breathed his last breaths. Martin Luther King Jr., champion of black rights, had been shot dead by a white man even as the ugly face of segregation marched to its grave in the United States.

Martin Luther King Jr. died for our sins, our sins which cause us to turn upon one another based on skin colour, parentage, sexuality, gender, political leaning or even just sport team support, and hack one another to death. He championed the rights of a people who had spent centuries under the yolk of white supremacy which had reduced black people to the status of animals in a state which prided itself for its freedoms, a state which had fought a war with itself over their future and yet still failed to see them as any more than an underclass. A state which had battled Nazi Germany and yet failed to see the horrors of a path strewn with discrimination and racial superiority.

As Martin Luther King Jr. fell, he may have seen the light which was tolerance and the end of a road of campaigning. He may have seen a glimpse of freedom for his people, the right to just be equal. But due to the hatred of those who revelled in their superiority, he would never see it.

Martin Luther King Jr. died for sins we developed but could cast aside, not for those that with benevolence and power he had condemned us to bear. He died to teach us the error of our ways and to live in peace with one another, not simply to spread the superiority of his people beyond a question of race. He died to show people a brighter vision of this world which we could bring about, not one where we would have to wait till death to see. He showed us that kindness and equality were human values to be shared selflessly, not for the gift of eternal bliss or the threat of eternal torture. 

Now, thanks to a man who championed equal rights for all, a black man holds the presidency of the united states. He inspired the movements of equality for all, whether that be racial, religious, or that of sexual orientation. He was a man who wanted justice, but received none in return. He did not call himself king, nor did he claim divine right. 

He dreamed a dream, and with that dream he made it reality.

Why wear a cross about your neck, when you could wear a rifle, and remember Martin Luther King Jr, a man amongst many men, but a man who stood taller and more inspirational for his message. Reclaim the crucifix, remove the noble crown of thorns and know that this man never saw his dream come true, but not all must die as he died. That freedom is still possible, and can still be clutched. Freedom from tyranny, earthly or Godly.

To Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The True Owner of the Crucifix

They need not have died in vain

In AD 71, six thousand men were crucified along the Appian way from Rome. Each died a long and gruesome death, for the crime of fighting for freedom from a brutal and repressive regime which had them enslaved and fighting one another for sport. They were Persians, Egyptians, Galatians, Gauls, Germans, united under the banner of freedom and justice from an empire larger than they could ever face. They died for their leader, Spartacus, a man who dared lead them in the face of impossible odds for an ideal we still hold today.

Spartacus may have been amongst those along the Appian way, or he may still lie on the side of the mountain where he took his last stand. A forgotten fate for a man never forgotten for his nobility and pride, despite being only a lowly slave facing giants of the greatest empire the west has ever known.

But his fate, and that of his six thousand, has been forgotten by us, and we should be ashamed.

The man who we claim hangs upon the crosses on our necks, in our holy places and upon our bed stands does not deserve his position upon the brutal torture device. That from which he was lifted by his father after a bare six hours upon the cross he lifted to the mount. The six thousand suffered until the sun set upon them, and until it rose again. Their skin blistered under the Roman sun, their lungs burned as their shoulders were torn from their sockets. Their limbs cried out in agony as the nails carved through their flesh for hour upon hour. Some were lucky, as passing soldiers hacked at their legs to break their bones and bring their suffering to an end, as their arms could no longed pull them upon the slivers of iron through their palms. They suffocated, unable to breathe, small gasps their only respite as first their lungs, and then their heart gave out. Some lasted days, their strength bearing them aloft so their groans could be heard by those who passed, unaiding. They had no families to lift them down and take them to their burials, only passing merchants who would permit their children to cast rocks at their barely moving carcasses. Eventually they would fall from the wooden beams, as their decaying joints snapped and rusted nails broke free of their holdings.

This was the fate of the six thousand. 

And so I call upon you all, to reclaim the crucifix for Spartacus. The man who stood up to a giant and reclaimed his freedom despite the odds. The man who's followers did not deny knowledge of him, did not walk away from his death, but demanded they be placed in his place, and be judged as one. The man whose fight against tyranny and slavery knew no end before he was cut down before those who so followed him. The fight we still fight today across the world, and yet without a true figure to hold against our chests and know as our ideal.

Reclaim the crucifix, remove the noble crown of thorns and know there was no respite for the six thousand, but not all must die as they died. That freedom is still possible, and can still be clutched. Freedom from tyranny, earthly or Godly.

To Spartacus, and the six thousand.