Wonder-filled bold humility part 2

We have been exploring the phrase 'wonder-filled bold humility'. In the last blog post we looked at how a spirit of gratitude is closely linked to what we called an 'appropriate godly fear'.

If you have not seen the video from part 1 you may find that helpful to look at that below. And if you have already seen it, you may well find the 6 minute reflection a refreshing tonic to get perspective from whatever has been preoccupying your mind  these last few minutes.

The more you look at the scientific background the more incredible the statistics become.

Take for example the vastness of the galaxy we live in.

There are apparently 400 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone, and there are estimated to be over 100 billion galaxies in the universe. Just hearing those numbers can make us somewhat numb. We have to experience something of those numbers. To get an idea of the enormity of the universe, imagine that the thickness of a sheet of paper represented the distance between the earth and the sun or what we know to be about 92 million miles. Then the nearest star would be represented by a stack of paper 70 feet high and the distance across to the nearest galaxy would be a stack of paper 120 miles high! The universe is so filled with galaxies that ours is just a dust speck.

That is awe inspiring and was articulated in Psalm 8 by the Jewish King David around 3000 years ago, when he wrote well before the time of great telescopes:

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

King David all those years ago was absolutely amazed at the stars and sky above him and we today with all our technology and ability to gaze into space have even more reason to be amazed. These verses tell us that God has set this whole universe in place and holds it as you or I might hold a contact lens on our finger.

How do we know that we matter to God, and that he is “mindful” of human beings? Well, this immense and awesome God is not just concerned with the stars and the planets. He also created you and me! I spent 6 years studying the human body to become a doctor. I can tell you, that for me, it was really hard work- the only major exams I got through first time were finals. Studying medicine for me was rather brutal, because there was so much to learn.

One of my regrets is that in the struggle to pass exams it was so easy to lose the sense of wonder about the human body and mind that God has made. In my day job I work as a psychiatrist. Although I trained as a doctor, what gives me a sense of wonder-filled bold humility is thinking about how the mind works.

As an example of that, according to Richard Palmer and Chris Pope in their book 'Brain Train', the estimated number of atoms in the known universe is 1 followed by 100 zeros or:

10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000

Wikipedia gives a slightly (!) smaller number of 1 followed by between 78 to 80 zeros.

Even so, whatever way you look at it , that is certainly a big number!

But the number of interneuronal connections in 1 human brain- even yours! - is actually 1 followed by 800 zeros. Look at this:

10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000

In other words the potentiality in one human brain is far greater than all the atoms in the universe!

However according to Professor Petr Kouzmich Anokhin of Moscow University, when he summarised the results of his 60 year investigation into the nature of our brain cells, he stated in 1973:

"We can show that each of the 10 billion neurones (side note, according to the Economist of  18 May 2013 it should actually be 100 billion) in the human brain have the possibility of the connection of 1 with 28 noughts after it! If a single neurone has this quality and potential, we can hardly imagine what the whole brain can do. What it means is the the total number of possible combinations/ permutations in the brain, if written out, would be 1 followed by 10.5 million kilometres of noughts!"

'No human yet exists who can use all the potential of his or her brain. This is why we don't accept any pessimistic estimates of the limits of the brain, it is unlimited!'

There are so many examples of this and yet we choose to live life without this conscious awareness that we are, using the words of King David once again, "fearfully and wonderfully made."

Or to state it using more recent observation, from The Economist of 18 May 2013, "The human brain is the most complex object in the known universe."

How about you?

What is your experience of understanding wonder-filled bold humility?

It would be great to have your thoughts and reflections.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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One thought on “Wonder-filled bold humility part 2

  1. I received this from a subscriber who has given permission to post this on the site::

    Sunil, I don’t know how to do blooging and tweeting. I’m very old now!

    I did watch the video.

    What I can say is that for about a year , now, I have determined , daily to engage at a much deeper level with individual people and with situations that arise in my life; as they arise.

    It has surprised me how ready people are to respond to a smile, or even to a brief question, like ‘Do you often take this bus? ‘This has meant a big change in how I see my life, and it is GOOD !

    Awareness, and Thanksfulness , for the simplest and easily missed blessing is also part of this. For this I need to be still.

    A year ago I started to make a list of those people I could remember , who have given me something that shaped me for good. I soon covered several sheets. Then I wrote against their names , briefly , how they had blessed me.

    Thank YOU , for all you have been to me, Sunil. We met at a very difficult time in my life, and in yours, a time of great change. You have been a faithful friend, and ready to challenge me from time to time!

    God Bless you and yours

    Rod