3.4 Connecting the Dots

Steve Jobs.jpg

Our story rationalizes most of these seeming imperfections as the necessary suffering that had to be endured in our Caterpillar phase as we built out the technological foundations of our Butterfly phase. It does so by reasoning backwards. During his celebrated commencement speech at Stanford University, the late Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computer, said[46],

"You can't connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future…. Believing that the dots will somehow connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path."

He was channeling the German philosopher, Johann Goethe, who said[47],

“Life can only be understood backwards; but must be lived forwards.”

But this is the basis of faith as well. A sacred Hadith in Islam says[48],

"There are so many merciful signs of Allah behind every misfortune that they surpass the pains and agonies caused by that misfortune.”

Our story identifies the patterns that we can discern looking backwards into the past, in order to rationalize most of these seeming imperfections. For any past or present imperfections that still remain to be explained, our story rests on the realistic belief that everything will indeed make sense when we consider them backwards at some future point in time, even if those events might seem inexplicable at the moment. At that future time, we can tell a more complete story of humans, consistent with a more complete story of the Earth, weaving them both together into a cohesive whole, all based on the facts and science, as our understanding evolves.

As Anthony DeMello wrote in his book, Awareness[49],

"The trouble with people is that they are busy fixing things that they don't even understand… It never strikes us that things don't need to be fixed… They need to be understood. If we understood them, they'd change. Do you want to change the world? How about beginning with yourself?... Through observation, through understanding, with no interference or judgement on your part.

What you judge, you cannot understand… Observe without a desire to change what is. Because, if you desire to change what is into what you think should be, you no longer understand… The day you attain a posture like that, you will experience a miracle. You will change - effortlessly, correctly. Change will happen, you will not have to bring it about. As the light of awareness settles upon the darkness, whatever is evil will disappear. Whatever is good will be fostered."


Clearly, in DeMello's view, to awaken is to become truly aware of the perfection of the present. For it is only when we see everything as perfect that we could "observe without a desire to change what is." With that awareness comes understanding and with that understanding comes right decisions about present and future actions. To attain such awareness, in the Upanishads, it is said that we need to correctly answer the three fundamental questions of the Universe:

1. Who are you?
2. What is your relationship with the world?
3. Why are you here?

Every thought, word or deed of every human being contains implicit or explicit answers to these three fundamental questions. Our story considers these three questions within a scientific framework at the level of our species. That is, as a species, we need to answer:

1. Who are we?
2. What is our relationship with the world?
3. Why are we here?

While answering these questions, our story places humanity as a species that is neither superior, nor inferior, but on par with other species such as the elephant herds of the Western Ghats of India, while playing an equally vital role in the tapestry of all Life on Earth. It is a story that closely aligns with all the faith and wisdom traditions of the world, including atheism in the form of secular humanism.


[46] https://news.stanford.edu/2005/06/14/jobs-061505/

[47] http://www.quoteworld.org/quotes/5566

[48] http://bit.ly/1TrWolG

[49] Anthony DeMello, Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality, Image Publishers, June 1990, ISBN-13: 978-0385249379, http://amzn.to/25eUxt6