by Ursula Goodenough
And so, I profess my Faith. For me, the existence of all this complexity and awareness and intent and beauty, and my ability to apprehend it, serves as the ultimate meaning and the ultimate value. The continuation of life reaches around, grabs its own tail, and forms a sacred circle that requires no further justification, no Creator, no superordinate meaning of meaning, no purpose other than that the continuation continue until the sun collapses or the final meteor collides. I confess a credo of continuation.
And in so doing, I confess as well a credo of human continuation. We may be the only questioners in the universe, the only ones who have come to understand the astonishing dynamics of cosmic evolution. If we are not, if there are others who Know, it is unlikely that we will ever encounter one another. We are also, whether we like it or not, the dominant species and the stewards of this planet. If we can revere how things are, and can find a way to express gratitude for our existence, then we should be able to figure out, with a great deal of work and good will, how to share the Earth with one another and with other creatures, how to restore and preserve its elegance and grace, and how to commit ourselves to love and joy and laughter and hope.
It goes back in the end to my father’s favorite metaphor. “Life is a coral reef. We each leave behind the best, the strongest deposit we can so that the reef can grow. But what’s important is the reef.”
Goodenough, Ursula. The Sacred Depths of Nature. Oxford University Press 1998: pages 171-172.