The alarm goes off and we can hardly open our eyes. We reflexively hit the snooze button, hoping for another few minutes of sleep as we rationalize in our semi-conscious state that we still have plenty of time to make it to work. We stretch, and then roll over. Slowly close the eyes then open again, as our awareness returns to the physical realm.
“Six thirty in the morning already?” we exclaim.
As human beings we are conscious of the shifting sands of awareness. Either in deep sleep, dream or waking, we forge our identity as individuals. We learn, grow and expand our field of knowledge and influence. Some things seem to be out of our control, but each and every day we choose how to spend our time and focus our work.
Each foray into time (the consciousness of day) we gain experience and then return again to our ego’s base, the unconsciousness of deep sleep. We repeat this pattern day after day, until we become eternally awake (in Enlightenment) even as the mind/body sleeps.
The human race is the progeny of the Sun and Earth. We are unique among the galaxies of life, yet an integral part of the whole cosmos.
But what would life be like if the history of our Earth had been different? Would there even be anyone here to ask these questions today?
Spotted Milky Way over Canada
What if – the Sun and Earth were at the center of our Galaxy?
Viewed from above our Milky Way galaxy looks somewhat like a pinwheel.
Today our Sun is about 28,000 light years from the center of the Milky Way. Nestled between two major spiral arms (Sagittarius and Perseus), we are traveling at the speed of 230 kilometers per second (1/2-million miles per hour) orbiting around the center. At that speed it takes about 230 million years to complete one trip.
A super massive black hole of about 1,000,000 solar masses may exist at the center. Our Galaxy contains about 200 billion stars.
The first appearance of the bright star Sirius in the morning twilight sky (in spring) was used by the ancient Egyptian people to mark the time to start planting crops. Often called Canis Major the Greater Dog star, it is among the brightest in our sky. If our Earth was at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, we would see a million stars as bright as Sirius in our night sky. Their light would be equivalent to that of 200 full moons, and darkness would never fall upon the face of the Earth.
What if – the Sun were 50% bigger?
The Earth’s distance from the Sun puts us into the “Goldilocks zone,” where it is not so hot that water boils away or so cold that it is remains always frozen. Instead, the temperature is just right.
In order to satisfy Kepler’s 3rd law of motion the Earth would have to revolve in orbit around this new Sun once every 298 days. So one year would no longer be 365 ¼ days, instead it would be somewhat shorter.
The surface temperature of our new Sun would be 8,400o Kelvin, rather than 5,800 o Kelvin as it is today. Accordingly, the new Sun would appear blue white in the sky. Its dimensional radius would be 20% larger.
The new Sun would emit more infrared radiation than our present one, causing the average surface temperature on Earth to be 20o hotter. That is enough to evaporate substantially more water into the atmosphere, causing an increased green house effect, which would make life on the Earth’s surface uninhabitable for humans and most other creatures.
Orbiting around this new Sun the Earth would have to be 2.6 times further away to once again be in the Goldilocks zone. But this new Sun would be giving off a lot more ultraviolet radiation that our current star. The ozone layer would be inundated and not be able to protect us from this lethal radiation.
And unfortunately, a 1.5 solar mass star evolves much more quickly than our own Sun. So much so that after 4.5 billion years, the current age of our Sun, this new Sun would now be in the Red Giant stage and we would be orbiting inside its atmosphere – and the Earth would be no more.
What if – we were born on the Earth 1 billion years ago?
Our Earth’s atmosphere is a 4 to 1 mix of nitrogen to oxygen. It was not always that way.
When the Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago its original atmosphere consisted mostly of small amounts of hydrogen and helium. Because these are light gases they were quickly lost into space.
Trace constituents of water, hydrogen cyanide, methane, sulfur and chlorine were also present.
The next atmosphere, about 3 billion years ago, came from inside the Earth and was composed primarily of carbon dioxide with some nitrogen. This atmosphere contained about 100 times more gas than our current one. The oceans absorbed about half of this new atmosphere. As life developed water soluble carbon dioxide was used to create shells and other carbon based life by products.
Plant life in the oceans and on the Earth’s surface converted much of the remaining carbon dioxide into oxygen and other nutrients. Photosynthesis powers this wonderful transformation.
Most of our current oxygen was created 2.1 to 1.5 billion years ago by these living plants. By about 450 million years ago there was enough oxygen in the atmosphere to create an ozone layer, thick enough to protect life from the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation, so that a migration from ocean to land creatures could begin. That led to the accelerated rapid development of life on the Earth.
|Organisms||Time of origin|
|Marine Invertebrates||570 million years ago|
|Fish||505 million years ago|
|Land plants||438 million years ago|
|Amphibians||408 million years ago|
|Reptiles||320 million years ago|
|Mammals||208 million years ago|
Today we live in a symbiotic relationship with plant life on this beautiful planet. Don’t upset this delicate balance.
So to answer the question if we lived on the Earth 1 billion years ago, we would all have to be vegetarians (a good thing) but the ultraviolet radiation and other environmental factors would have prevented us from existing as a human race.
We are here now at the right time in the right place.
What if – the Earth had no Moon?
Consider life on Earth without our Moon. What would it be like?
Well for starters, we could do away with the various myths that our civilizations have developed over the years, such as werewolves that come out at full moon, and peoples mental psyche (being lunatic) being disturbed by a full moon. There would also be a major dent in how astrologers predicted the future as the Moon’s celestial influence would no longer be present. No eclipses of the Sun either.
Animals that use the Moon for navigational purposes or for timing reproductive cycles would have to evolve other mechanisms.
We would still have tides on the Earth produced by the Sun’s influence, but they would be radically smaller. Their cycle would be much easier to calculate; once every 12-hours (half of a solar day), rather than every 12-hours and 25-minutes as it is today.
About 4 billion years ago the Earth was rotating on its axes about once every 12 hours. That’s twice the speed that it is today. So a day and night were 6-hours each. According to current astronomical thinking, if the Moon were created shortly after that time via the Earth being hit by a large (say the size of Mars) planetary body, the Moon was 10 times closer to the Earth than it is today, and ocean tides were thousands of feet high. These mammoth tides washed land nutrients into the seas enabling marine life to begin and flourish much earlier. So without the Moon, the appearance of life on the earth would have occurred much later.
Without the Moon the Earth today would be rotating about once every 16-hours, so day and night would be 8-hours each. This higher speed of rotation would cause violent winds that would wear down and prevent any tall mountain from developing. If biological rhythms could develop, it would be based on this different 16-hour cycle.
Life on the Earth would not exist as we know it today. Advanced human physiological structures (the body) would most likely not have been built by this time. The human race would be naught, still a flicker for some distant future time.
What if – we could live free from suffering in harmony with all of creation?
In the epic poem “Paradise Lost” by John Milton (17th century England) he writes that … “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, or a hell of heaven.”
What’s between our ears dictates how we see and interpret the world. Do we see the beautiful sunrise and the promise of our children’s lives, or do we see another day of drudgery work, pain, and scrimping to meet our survival needs? The world is as you are.
We have within ourselves the capability of transforming our apparent life from suffering to bliss. As we grow we gain greater mastery over our destiny. More possibilities open up as our vision becomes more intelligent and clear. Nature supports our activities more and more, and there is less resistance to our desire.
In this blog posting we have seen that different events (the “what if” scenarios) occurring on the Earth would have shaped the appearance of intelligent life on this planet with a radically different outcome.
But we are here today, now. We have appeared on this wondrous speck of dust at the right time. We are in the right place.
So take advantage of this wonderful opportunity and meditate every day. Help steer the human race onto ever greater heights of love, harmony and bliss.
As the summer of life blossoms cease the opportunity to share earthly resources with your neighbor, in the sublime spirit of friendship. Break down cultural, religious and mental barriers to see the world as it is, operating free from human judgment and misconception. Transcend the realm of mind, and open up to the eternal present value of life.
Namaste (good day).