My brain stumbled (mightily) this week over Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle” believed to be the foundation of life in the universe. I understand almost nothing about it, and yet its apparent discovery has excited, unsettled and bewildered me.
- The excitement is that of discovery – and the quest to understand the biggest and most basic questions of life. The thousands of scientists involved in this project are literally “out there,” pushing against the limits of what we think we know. This particle was an idea almost 50 years before it was discovered. To pursue something so small for so long is a testament not just to intelligence but to faith.
- Frankenstein’s monster reminds us that not all knowledge is beneficial to mankind; and Faust made a bargain with the devil he eternally regretted. What if one day we do unlock the origins of life? Then what? We must hope that the universe has always one more secret.
- Finally, I am bewildered by the people who turn their backs on discoveries such as this. It didn’t take Higgs boson to suggest that the world was not created in seven days 8,000 years ago, at least as we count time. Yet that is what many school boards want taught in their classrooms and what more than a few members of Congress espouse.
It is, in the end, wonder that sustains our lives: Where did I come from? Why am I here? How beautiful is that flower! Why do I love her?