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  • Dan FitzPatrick

In the Beginning ...


Another brutally hot summer day, and Logan and I were spending time under the large shade trees in our yard that had grown so big that they were causing problems for the garden that the eldest male human in our family has spent so much time and effort on. Logan was napping; I could hear the soft rumble of his snoring. I was just looking around, soaking up all the sights and smells that were both familiar and exciting, all at the same time. Life is good, I thought.


“Logan,” I asked, "how did all this come about?”


“Wha .. what?” Logan responded, startled out of his sleep by my question. “Oh, Cadbury, is that mind of yours racing again? Am I never to get any sleep with you around?”


“I was just wondering how everything around us came to be. It is all really good, and I am curious” I said.


“Oh, all right,” Logan said, rising up and shaking the sleep out of himself like he had just come out of the water. “You remember when our Yellow Labrador friend Kilian came to visit us a few weeks back? He lives with the male human who dresses all in black with a square of white cloth at the neck and works in a big stone building where people come to sing and hear him speak? While you were off galivanting by yourself that day, chasing butterflies or whatnot, he and I had a long conversation on just this point.”


“It seems some humans believe that everything was created out of nothing by a superior being or force. They disagree over how long that took – either immediately or over a few days – but they all agree that nature is wondrously coordinated to work perfectly to sustain life and that every creature, element and condition (like the weather) has an interdependent role to play in helping make everything work together so seamlessly.”


“Not all humans believe that everything was created all at once, or that there was any particular force, intelligent or not, behind it; some believe everything created itself or that a series of random actions worked over time to create the complex existence we now enjoy. Kilian says everyone is entitled to their individual opinions, and I agree with him.”


“Humans pride themselves in being rational, to the point where they believe that they can figure out and understand everything. The flip side of that belief is that some feel that if they cannot figure out or understand something, then it is not real, it cannot exist, and that anyone who believes in something that cannot be logically proven or experienced directly with the senses must be foolish, misguided or superstitious.”


“Humans place their claim to superiority over all other animals on what they refer to as the uniqueness of their “self-awareness,” which they define as the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives and desires (how surprised they would be if they knew how many other animals – including dogs – possess this “unique” capability!). It is amazing to me how creatures who claim to be so self-aware can be so oblivious to the fact that they are dependent on the reality of the physical world around them, which they obviously could not have made by themselves. Perhaps it is a result of the self-focus and self-obsession that can come with pride, a conviction that nothing has meaning or value outside of self.”


“Kilian shared a quote with me from a human named Lewis. It goes like this (I hope I get it right): ‘If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning; just as, if there were no light in the universe and thus no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.’”


“So, there, you asked a deep question, and I gave you an equally deep response to ponder over. I don’t know who is right with respect to the creation of the universe. I do know, however, that it appears to me to be a wonderful creation, and I am very happy indeed to enjoy it. I offer my most sincere thanks to whoever or whatever is responsible, and if the answer is no one and nothing, then I thank everything. You now have a nice little conundrum to noodle over, which should take you at least until dinner time. I am now going to leave you with your weighty matters and resume my delightful nap.”

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