You will need:
For services during the season of Genesis you will need the following:
- One seed for each participant
- A dish of soil
- A small cup of water for each participant
- a candle
- a bell or signing bowl
- a candle snuff
Note: On February 4th, the season of Conflatorium begins. For the special service on the 4th and for all services for the rest of this season you will need ice cubes with fossils frozen into them. You can create these by placing a small fossil in each cell of an icecube tray, filling the tray with water and placing it in your freezer. We suggest you do this now so that your frozen fossils will be ready for the opening ritual on the 4th.
Leader: Who would like to share?
The participants briefly update each other on how they're doing and what's going on in their lives.
The season of Genesis is the first Liturgical Season in the SolSeed Movement's Liturgical Calendar. It symbolises the deep past from the Big Bang to the invention of photosynthesis. During this season the Weekly Service Calls use the following Opening ceremony:
We gather to mark the passing of a week
To align our hearts as one.
Nothing ... Still ... Nothing
And then ... <gasp> Something!!!!
Time, Space, Matter, Energy, Gravity.
Galaxies coalesce ... in the celestial nursery, stars are born. And for every star, there is a story.
Our story began with Sol, the sun, the fire that sparks life into being.
(Light the candles)
Next came the Earth, our first home, both the shaper of life and the clay from which life makes itself.
("Plant" a seed in the soil)
Then came the water, the sea where the first life swam, the sea that swims inside each of us.
(Drink some of the water and use the rest to "water" the seed)
Finally life made the air, turning sunlight into fuel, freely available to all breathing creatures.
(Take three deep breaths)
Fire, Earth, Water, Air.
From Nothing ... Something
Sometimes an increase in entropy is a wonderfully creative thing. We are used to thinking about increasing entropy as the death knell of order and Life. Increasing entropy represents the decreasing potential for work to be done in the universe. Once entropy has reached a maximum, the universe will be cold and dead with no potential for further work to be done. Work in the context of physics, includes pumping blood and thinking thoughts. So once there is no potential for further work to be done there will be no Life.
Cups don't spontaneously form. Or do they? A cup is an ordered bit of matter. Cups are made by potters. Without a potter, the cup can't come about. But the potter is also an ordered bit of matter, requiring an ordered bit of matter to create her. Her mother is the answer to that, but that leads to an infinite regression. What is the first bit of ordered matter to come about that leads to all of these others.
One could argue that the universe is and to some degree that is true. One could argue that the Galaxy was and to an even large degree that is true. But before the formation of stars, the galaxy would have been a pretty chaotic gas cloud. The formation of our Sun was in some ways, the first really big ordering event that leads to Hawking's proverbial cup.
The Sun formed from a dense patch of a gas cloud. As I said, in reality the Universe contained a certain amount of order from the beginning and this was concentrated in Galaxies, and the generations of stars which formed in the galaxy before our Sun were numerous. And, yes, to some degree those other stars were the potters to our Sun. Their stellar winds probably blew the gas of our Sun's natal cloud into lumps, one of which ended up becoming our Sun and its Solar system.
But consider that in the midst of that dense patch of gas and dust, the Sun formed itself spontaneously. The collapsing of that dense patch looks rather like the pieces of a cup gathering themselves up and jumping onto a table. The atoms in the cloud were attracted together by their mutual gravitation. The friction between the atoms kept them from swirling at the same radius around their gravitational barycentre. Friction used up their ballistic energy and converted it into heat. With ever dropping levels of ballistic energy the atoms fell toward the barycentre. As they came closer together their mutual gravitational attraction increased, as if the pieces of the cup were even more drawn to repair themselves as they got closer to their goal. But as the atoms fell toward each other they gained more ballistic energy, converting gravitational potential energy into ballistic energy, and then collisions between them burned that energy up into heat.
Finally the atoms were concentrated around the Barycenter and they had heated up so much that their collisions were so energetic as to overcome the repulsive forces between very close atoms. The Hydrogen atoms began to fuse together to form Helium atoms. Although each Helium atom was more massive than each of the four Hydrogen atoms that formed it, it was less massive than the total mass of the four Hydrogen atoms. The drop in total mass was small but the missing mass became Energy. And this Energy became yet more heat. The atoms became so hot that they glowed in visible light. The Sun had formed. Sol literally fell together.
None of this breaks the laws of entropy that Hawking is trying to demonstrate with his idea of cups spontaneously forming. Matter-Energy had to be degraded in order for the Sun to spontaneously form. The gravitational potential energy and Mass that came together to form the Sun had more potential to do work than the heat and light that the Sun has emitted since. But that heat and light were still more than enough to power the spontaneous formation of Life on Earth. And once that Life formed, it spontaneously gained the ability to replicate, again powered by degrading energy it received from Sol. And it continued to replicate always powered by degrading energy from Sol. And eventually that replication led to the potter. In effect the spontaneous formation of Sol, like a cup magically jumping together, led directly to the cup forming. The gravitational potential energy and Mass of the gas cloud were what powered the cup's formation and the entire chain of events came about spontaneously from the initial state of the gas cloud.
Leader: Please join me for seven minutes of silence while we contemplate ...
(Service Leader rings the bell)
(Service Leader rings the bell again at the end of the seven minutes)
Leader: Who would like to share?
The participants take turns talking about what they were thinking about during the contemplation.
Reading of the SolSeed Creed
Please respond to the portions of the Creed highlighted in bold in unison:
- Life is precious.
- It has always been precious,
- it will always be precious.
- Life exuberant
- bursting through boundaries
- to flower and spread
- creates the conditions for more Life,
- in an Upward Spiral
- of ever-growing possibilities.
- As you are alive, and I am alive,
- and in kinship with all other beings
- who call Terra home,
- we are Gaia --
- the body of all Life.
- The Destiny of Gaia
- is to take root and flower amongst the stars --
- to give birth to a family of living worlds.
- As intelligent sparks of Gaia,
- we are called to express her excellent nature,
- we are called to attend the Great Birthing.
- We who answer this call
- dedicate ourselves to Gaia,
- We join together
- in a community of practice
- to align our words and actions
- with our highest aspirations.
- Through awesome experiences
- of cosmic, biological, and cultural creativity,
- we awaken within ourselves and others
- the Cosmic Religious Feeling
- that ignites wonder,
- fosters compassion, and
- inspires invention.
- Our three sacred duties are to
- embrace Passion,
- cultivate Empathy, and
- pursue Wisdom,
- So that our being honors Gaia
- and our striving hastens the Great Birthing.
- Passion drives us.
- Without Passion
- Empathy and Wisdom are lethargic.
- I pledge to stoke the fire in my belly,
- to compassionately care for my inner elephant ---
- to really be me, Happy in the Sun!
- Empathy is transcendent.
- Without Empathy,
- Passion and Wisdom are evil.
- I pledge to love others as I love myself,
- to consider their needs as if they were my own --
- to Grow Ours, not just Get Mine!
- Wisdom is effective.
- Without Wisdom,
- Passion and Empathy are reckless.
- I pledge to train my elephant through regular practice,
- to stand ready to transform my worldview in the face of new evidence --
- to cultivate sound instincts.
- Through Passion, Empathy, and Wisdom
- we have come to know that:
- We are Gaia's People --
- children of the Earth and Sun,
- awakened by starlight,
- discovering --
- We Bring Life!
Leader: We extinguish this flame, but not the light of truth, the warmth of community or the fires of commitment ... these we carry in our hearts until we are together again.
Leader extinguishes the candle with the Candle Snuff
Leader: May your week be blessed with life and love. Blessed be.