All the stars, planets and galaxies that can be seen today make up just 4% of the universe. The other 96% is made of stuff astronomers can’t see, detect or even comprehend.
These mysterious substances are called dark energy and dark matter. Astronomers infer their existence based on their gravitational influence on what little bits of the universe can be seen, but dark matter and energy themselves continue to elude all detection.
“The overwhelming majority of the universe is: Who knows?” explains science writer Richard Panek, who spoke about these oddities of our universe on Monday at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) here in Manhattan. “It’s unknown for now, and possibly forever.”
We have an enormous amount still yet to discover and understand. For instance, science now knows that 96% of the known universe is invisible. It’s called dark matter and dark energy, and it’s called “dark” because you can’t see it. But here we are, in the 4% that’s visible, and I say to people: If we’re going to make materialism our life path, we’re essentially giving our lives over to the 4% solution. Because the 96%, the invisible part, we’re just completely ignoring.
Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns, that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.
Donald Rumsfeld, former United States Secretary of Defense
Difficult indeed. And if Duane is right, and we can legitimately move from the physical universe to how we lead our lives, what now? How do I do, feel and think on this planet if immense mystery surrounds us? Do I swan dive off the solid cliff into the mists below or do I hunker down in my all-inclusive?
The task of letting go seems monumental. Maybe I can start exercising my 96% muscle by simply doing one thing in a new way.
I get together several times a week with the online global community of the Evolutionary Collective. For the latter part of our hour, we can share in the large group. You simply click on the “Raise Hand” button. Tomorrow, when the time comes, I’ll click even if I have no idea what to say. That’s a start.
Love is always a leap into the unknown. You can try to control as many variables, and understand a situation as you can, but you’re still jumping off a cliff and hoping that someone catches you.