Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Carl Sagan”

My Cosmic Birthday – Roger Ingalls

According to western culture, I have a milestone birthday today.

For the past few weeks my wife has been telling our friends, “Roger has a big birthday coming up”. So everyone’s been asking, “How old are you?”

I pause and give a little smirky-smile before answering the question. My response is similar to the one I give when asked, “Where are you from?” I’m an alien, I come from the stars. I’m an evolving coalescent-blob of star dust with my family tree tracing back to the Big Bang. Just like everything else in the Universe, I’m 13.7 billion years old. Okay, scientifically speaking, many of the heavier elements that make up most of my body were created by hot stars 4.5 billion years ago but these newer elements were derived from the older ones.

Eventually, my body, like all things, will be broken down and recycled or reincarnated into something else. In a few billion years, when our sun supernovas, the elements that were once part of my body will be blown back into deep space, from where I once came.

Everything comes from the same place and is recycled over and over. The Universe, Earth and Mother Nature are in a constant cycle of building up and breaking down. In reality there is no hierarchical food chain and there is no survival of the fittest, all things – big and small – eventually get eaten by something.

Most people, when they take a moment to think, understand this cyclical process. But yet, modern society endorses an economic system based on infinite growth that is counter to the realities of nature. Infinite growth cannot and does not exist, all things break down. Look around, cheap energy is gone, clean water is limited, fertile soil is gone as well as many other essentials. Our economic system of taking without giving back has stripped the Earth of necessities required for long-term human existence. Humanity may have hit the apex with the breakdown soon beginning. If we continue with the infinite growth system, the fall will be catastrophic.

My birthday wish: extend man’s existence. To prolong humanity, we need to develop or return to an Earth friendly economic system. Man’s extinction and the return to stardust are inevitable but we can slow it down, if we wish.

For those interested, I turned 50 today. I’m feeling a little cosmic with a sense of urgency.


Roger Ingalls is well traveled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

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