Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and God

One of the advantages of being retired is that I can dip my toes into areas of study that would be impractical if I was still working. Then, focusing on learning things I needed to know was more important. Any leisure time was spent with family and on a few creative hobbies, with both add-ons necessary to keep me sane and centered. 

Free time isn’t free; it is a gift that can be utilized or squandered. It was so foreign that it took me several post-retirement years to adjust to it fully.

When I am inclined, I like to explore esoteric areas. Most recently, I have been studying the cosmos- the most gigantic structure we humans are aware of, and balancing that information with quantum mechanics and quantum wave theory, which are concerned with the smallest particles in nature. 

I must admit that my knowledge of either field is primitive, and even at my minuscule level of understanding, these topics are complicated and overwhelming. 

Our observable universe has trillions of galaxies; each has billions of star systems with planets. However, the actual universe is larger than our observable universe as the cosmos expanded at a speed greater than the speed of light at its inception. Because of this, some distant star’s light will never reach us. You are probably thinking, “But I thought nothing could go faster than the speed of light. Isn’t that what Einstein said in his theory of special relativity?” The speed of light is a fundamental constant in nature, but natural laws did not exist at the dawn of our universe. Those laws were established once light and matter came into being.

At the dawn of the universe, there were no long-lived elemental particles and certainty no atoms. The emerging universe was too hot to allow the creation of such things. As the universe cooled, subatomic particles formed that could join together to create hydrogen atoms, and with such formations, matter, as we know it, came into being. At the beginning of the universe, there was likely only one or two fundamental forces of nature that eventually separated into the four fundamental forces that govern the cosmos: electromagnetic, strong, weak, and gravitational. Physicists have been able to work backward and mathematically to join the electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces together. Still, they have yet to figure out how the gravitational force is part of a single elementary force model. 

The values of any of these forces could have been different when the universe was forming. If any of these value was even slightly altered, the universe and everything in it as we know it would not exist. That is an amazing realization. How did we get the perfect values necessary for matter and, in turn, for life to exist? There is no current way to determine this. Some may say that an all-powerful intelligence designed the universe; others may state that there have been infinite universes, and ours just happened to be the lucky one where the numbers worked out. This is where science breaks down into philosophy, at least for now. 

The universe is expanding, but we don’t know what it is expanding into. As our scientific tools become more sophisticated, more questions arise. Galaxies are spinning much faster than they should be, and the overall speed of the universe expanding is faster than what is calculable based on our measurements of the known matter and energy present in the universe. Something else is speeding things up. Physicists call these forces dark matter and dark energy, two things we can’t see or measure with our current technology. However, we believe they are present based on how they impact things we can see and measure. Further, we can determine that both exist in much greater quantity than the matter we can see and the energy we can measure. The majority of the universe is, therefore, invisible to us.

The idea that the universe is full of invisible things isn’t as far-fetched as it seems. Neutrinos are proven to be the most abundant particle in the universe (we can measure them), but they barely react with classic matter, so they pass through it. About 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body every second, and you are completely unaware of it. 

At the beginning of the universe, there was only energy. The universe rapidly expanded, and in the process, it cooled enough to form elementary particles, such as quarks, leptons, and gluons. As it cooled further, these elementary particles combined to form hydrogen atoms that served as stars’ fuel. In turn, the incredible energy and pressure of the stars formed helium and the other naturally occurring elements that make up our universe. These elements make up our oceans, skies, and land. It is amazing to realize that they also make up us. Why are we living while mountains are not? Another mystery.

The greatest scientist who ever lived was thought to be Sir Isaac Newton. His recognition of universal gravitation and his laws of motion became the foundation of physics. His formulas developed in the 1600s were accurate enough to guide Apollo 11 to the moon. However, they were incomplete as they couldn’t accurately explain the movement of some things we could observe in nature.

It was possible to correctly model the orbits of all known planets in our solar system using Newton’s classical equations, except for the planet Mercury. A patent clerk named Albert Einstein solved this conundrum in the early 1900s. He developed theories that went beyond Sir Isaac Newton’s observational equations. It turns out that Newton’s equations are correct, but they only work in certain situations. In reality, they are a subset of Einstein’s broader concepts. Newton’s equations are not accurate when dealing with the extreme. Among Einstein’s brilliant ideas are his special and general theories of relativity. One concept from these discoveries is the concept of space-time. Space (as measured by height, width, and depth) and time are joined together. Time is not a constant but varies. An accurate clock in a satellite experiences time faster than an accurate clock on earth. Time is moving faster in your head than in your feet (as your head is farther away from the earth’s gravity). So your head is aging faster. However, this difference is so tiny that you would never know it. These theories are hard to conceptualize, but they have been proven to be correct many times in experiments. 

So why couldn’t classical physics (Newton’s equations) predict the orbit of Mercury? Huge objects, like the sun, can significantly warp space-time. Since Mercury is close to our massive sun, it is impacted more by this warping. That warping impacts Mercury’s orbit in a way not predicted by Newtonian (classic) physics, but it is perfectly calculated by Einstein’s equations. If an object has enough mass, it can even warp the path of light, even though light has no mass on its own. This has also been proven many times and is an accepted fact. Black holes warp space-time so much that massless light can’t escape a black hole, which is why they appear black. When it comes to how very large objects interact or things (like light) that move incredibly fast, our observable understanding of how things work (classical physics) fails, but Einstein’s theories on general and special relativity prevail.

What about things that are on a very tiny scale? Enter the world of quantum mechanics, which is even more bizarre than relativity. The quantum world operates by rules very different from the macro world. The quantum world behaves so strangely that Einstein felt that parts of quantum mechanics couldn’t be true. He sarcastically referred to one aspect of quantum mechanics as “spooky.” However, he was wrong, and quantum theory has been proven both mathematically and through scientific experiments. 

It is difficult to understand basic quantum mechanics because things react differently than what we experience in our macro world. We know that electrons circle the nucleus of an atom, but quantum theory says that we have no way of knowing exactly where an electron is as it can be everywhere and nowhere at any time. Its position only exists when we measure it as if measuring it pulls the electron into existence. Quantum theory also embraces the concept of entanglement. Let’s say two electrons were created together simultaneously as a pair. They will always react instantly to each other, no matter how far apart. If one is spinning to the right, the other will spin to the left even if the universe separates the electrons. Relativity says that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, so entanglement must be connecting these electrons by some other method beyond our comprehension.  

In high school physics, we are taught that light can act as a wave (electromagnetic wave) and a particle (a photon). Quantum mechanics says this is also true for particles: particles (electrons) can act as a wave. It all sounds pretty crazy, but quantum mechanics is one of the most proven theories in physics. Eventually, even Einstein had to admit that quantum mechanics was correct. Quantum mechanics has real uses too. Quantum mechanics makes possible many practical things, from lasers to solar cells. Scientists are developing computers based on quantum mechanics, and some experimental prototypes exist. A fully functioning quantum computer could perform complicated tasks exponentially faster than our current computers that rely on classical principles. 

Large objects can be defined by general relativity (including Newton’s classic laws), and quantum mechanics defines tiny objects like atoms. Both disciplines work very well for their respective purpose. However, they are not compatible with each other. In other words, the two theories are not unified. Many physicists have tried to join these theories into a theory of everything but failed.

In addition, there are some situations where quantum mechanics breaks down. For instance, when a particle is approaching the speed of light. No consideration for speed in quantum mechanic equations makes this theory incomplete.

Other theories try to address the above problems. One is quantum field theory (different from quantum mechanics), which says that various fields exist everywhere. These fields can have local areas of disturbance, and those peaks are what we observe as subatomic particles. Remember that subatomic particles form atoms, and atoms form everything in our known universe. 

Another theory is string theory and its cousin, M theory, where strings of vibrating energy create matter as we know it. For string theory to work, our universe must have other dimensions (beyond height, width, and depth- or X, Y, and Z axes). However, as humans, we can’t conceptualize such things as our world as an X, Y, Z world, not one with ten or more dimensions. 

The ontology of these two theories is different, but they explain the same thing. The problem with them is that they are not provable by any of our current methods of observation, so they are more philosophical rather than scientific. However, conceptually they are very interesting. We know that matter and energy are related by Einstein’s famous E =MC2 equation. The detonation of the atom bomb demonstrated that mass could be converted into energy. However, quantum wave and string theories suggest that energy can be converted into matter. In other words, everything we think of as matter is just fluctuating quantum fields or strings of energy (depending on what you ascribe to). Matter is just energy in a different form. Crazy, I know.

This brings to mind the movie, “The Matrix,” where people live in a synthetic computer-generated world so that machines can draw on human energy for their own nefarious reasons. Of course, that is science fiction. However, it is reasonable to think that all living things and the universe around us are just fluctuations in energy. Think about the complexity of that! It also implies that we are all joined together in some way which could explain certain phenomena that exists but doesn’t fit into a classic scientific model. How did all of this happen? God? Chance? Other? I’ll leave that for you to ponder.

Can Science And Religion Co-Exist?

As a scientist and a Christian, I have never had difficulty reconciling science and religion.  However, many others feel differently.  This has been confusing to me and also troubling.  Troubling as some feel that these two areas are mutually exclusive of each other. In other words, if you believe in one, you must denigrate the other.  

For many, a belief in a Higher Power is integrated with a particular faith system or religion.  I grew up when mainstream religions were dominant. In those days, science and religion were neither integrated nor mutually rejected.  You didn’t have to pick sides.

This attitude changed as evangelical and fundamental denominations grew in popularity and power.  Evangelical and fundamental denominations believe in the inerrant interpretation of the Bible, with fundamentalists emphasizing the accuracy of Biblical timelines.  For instance, the belief that all life on earth was created in six days and that the earth was formed 6,000-10,000 years ago.  This contrasts the scientific understanding that life evolved over 3.7 billion years, and the earth is 4.5 billion years old. 

The rejection of science is not only a Christian fundamentalist phenomenon but can be seen in non-Christian religions.  The middle east was the progressive seat of learning well ahead of Europe until around 1500 AD when scientific ideas became blasphemous.  

Recently, certain groups have been hostile toward basic and applied science.  Gurus rallied their charges against vaccines using pseudo-science, and individuals violently rejected community health orders to wear masks during the COVID pandemic. Some religious individuals’ reactions may be due to science types who wholly and vocally reject any belief in God and ridicule those who do believe.  Lines in the sand are being drawn to the detriment of all.

There are multiple examples of conflicts when literally interpreting the Bible and then comparing that interpretation with scientific knowledge.  Natural selection vs. intelligent design is one prominent controversy. Some religious argue that evolution is “just a theory,” but this shows a lack of understanding.  It is a theory in scientific terms rather than common language terms.  It is not a hunch but broadly accepted and well-supported by available data.  

Elly, of the Ex-Fundie Diaries YouTube channel, remembers her fundamentalist education via home and church schools.  Science is a state-required part of any educational curriculum, but her science experience was anything but scientific.  For instance, If a science unit was on weather, she was instructed to find passages in the Bible about storms and floods. Why wasn’t she taught science? If you keep people ignorant about science, it is easy to convince them that it is wrong and evil. 

During the pandemic, I talked to an intelligent Amish man, and the topic turned to COVID.  I dreaded this turn as I had some idea where the conversation would go.  Amish are educated until the 8th grade, but that was not the problem.  His only source of current information was his church bishop and deacon. His knowledge of infectious diseases and COVID, in particular, was extremely limited. Any attempt on my part to offer insight (as a physician and microbiologist) was rejected and viewed with suspicion.  I changed the topic.

As humans, it is easy to silo ourselves with other like-minded individuals. Information is passed down from leaders to followers.  If a follower hears only one line of thinking, it becomes their truth, even if that truth is completely false.  It is easier to fall into one of these traps than you think.  Groups can be formed in many different ways beyond religions.  Those who exclusively watch CNN or Fox News would be just one example, but groups with shared erroneous beliefs can happen anywhere.  

Religious groups may cite the many times that science has been wrong.  They are completely correct, but their assumption misses the point of what science is. Science attempts to understand observations.  Why does an apple fall from a tree?  How fast does it fall? Does it accelerate or slow down when falling? A hypothesis is formed to explain an observation, which is then tested.  If the explanation pans out, the information is shared with others, who test it to see if their findings concur. If the answer is yes, then the hypothesis is accepted. However, the hypothesis may be modified or corrected as new information or observations become available.  The goal is to come up with the truth. That is how science works.

Most are more interested in using their cell phone (a scientific marvel) than understanding string theory (a scientific theory).  It is much easier to accept science when it is giving you something. 

Very conservative religious groups accept scientific advancements when those advancements benefit them. The Amish man I mentioned above owns a furniture factory.  Amish believers profess to disconnect from society to be closer to God. They don’t attach to the electric grid, drive automobiles, or use other common conveniences.  However, in today’s era rejecting practical science make business competition difficult.  The Amish man’s factory was full of modern equipment powered with electricity, but his workaround was to use his generator instead of connecting to the power grid.  In addition, many homes I saw in his area had solar panels on their roofs. By being a little flexible, these Amish folks found a way to hold onto their traditional values while benefiting from modern technology. 

That is an extreme example, but it illustrates that it is almost impossible to reject science and live in a modern world.  Electric power, antibiotics, computers, the Internet, and so much more are available because of science. I find it amusing to watch a YouTube video that rails against science while recording sound and video using devices that only exist because of science.

However, science can not answer every aspect of existence.  There is plenty of room in the universe for believers of a Higher Power. There is an order of things on every level, from subatomic particles to the way that galaxies group together.  The chances of all of this randomly occurring are astronomical. In a universe as huge as ours, there are likely beings far superior to us and would therefore be godlike to us.  Lastly, there is no reason to refute the idea that some larger force had a hand in creating the universe. Being unable to test something doesn’t make the idea false. Sir Issac Newton defined gravity in 1665, but it took scientists until 2015 to measure gravity waves.

Beyond believing, having a spiritual life is important. Individuals with a spiritual life have a sense of purpose, security,  and well-being. Who doesn’t want that? Faith doesn’t have to be proven; it just needs to be believed.

When religious leaders demand that a follower believe something that seems contrary to the world around them, it weakens faith, not strengthens it.  Such expectations are likely a reason why people leave religions.  By demanding robot-like compliance, the real message of most religions is lost. Is it necessary to believe that God is some old white dude with a flowing beard?  It is more likely that God exists in a form that is incomprehensible to us. 

In the Old Testament, Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah was 90 when Issac was born. The average person lived 35 years when Jesus was alive and likely less during Abraham’s life, who lived 18 centuries earlier. Does the above story make literal sense?  I think it is more of a metaphor that God keeps his promises.  However, just stating that is pretty boring, it is much more memorable when attached to a lesson. 

Science has its dark side, and I see how some would want to reject aspects of it based on that.  My view is to embrace the good that science gives us.  Basic research provides us with the knowledge that turns into practical advancements.  I am also comfortable with the concept of God, a supreme being who has an active interest in our individual lives.  However, this belief is based on faith, not fact. I’m fine with that uncertainty.  The idea of being forced to say that I believe in the Bible verbatim is completely unnecessary.  I don’t need to believe that all life was created in 6 days or that barren Sarah was 90 years old when she gave birth to Issac.  Instead, I can look past concrete concepts and explore their real embedded message.   


I ended my private practice over five years ago. Four years ago, I left my part-time doctor job at Rosecrance and fully retired.  I like to review my status annually to understand better where I have been and where I may be going.

This year’s review deals with concepts more than actions.  I did not plan this post that way; it is just how it evolved.

As my retirement has progressed, I have been aware of a slow change in me as I grapple with more existential questions. Concepts of my significance have broadened to include the greater significance of humankind.  I am not trying to determine why we exist; that question has been a philosophical problem for eons. Instead, my pondering has centered around several concepts that seem dissonant on the surface but are unified at a more intrinsic level. These thoughts are not meant to be a template for others to structure their lives.  As I have written many times, you do you. 

What is my significance?  I have come up with two possibilities.

Possibility One

I am significant, and every action I make impacts my species, other organisms, the planet, and ultimately the entire universe.  I consider this my George Bailey position. If I turn right instead of left, that impacts the world.  Some of my actions will have a greater impact than others.  At times, those actions will be deliberate; at other times, they will be random.  

I exist because of prior generations. My children exist because of me (and, of course, my wife) and will impact our world in their own ways.  Simple events, like typing this post while drinking a cup of coffee, change things in ways I’m incapable of knowing. In this view, everyone impacts the universe, regardless of their status.

Possibility Two

I am insignificant.  This is my existential nihilism position.  Not only am I insignificant, but all humans are insignificant.  The earth is 4.5 billion years old, but the first primitive hominids appeared only 2 million years ago. Homo Sapiens have only existed for several hundred thousand years. Five mass extinctions have decimated most living organisms on this planet, and it is thought that we are currently in the throws of the 6th mass extinction. 

The universe has existed for almost 14 billion years. During that time, entire solar systems have formed and have been destroyed.  An average galaxy contains 100 billion stars.  We know that many of these stars have orbiting planets.  There are approximately two trillion galaxies in the observable universe.  Galaxies have collided, and entire galaxies may have been destroyed or altered in that process. Everything that we can measure in the universe consists of matter and energy.  However, we can only observe 15% of the matter in the universe.  Eighty-five percent of the universe’s matter consists of dark matter. We cannot see or detect dark matter; the only way we know it exists is by how it impacts observable objects. If some catastrophic event destroyed our planet, it would have little impact on the universe. As a species or as individuals, we are exponentially less significant than that. No one significantly impacts the universe in this second possibility, regardless of status.


As humans, our ability to think is limited by our small brains. We define events by what we can observe, which we then try to explain with limited understanding.  At one point, humans thought that the earth was flat as it was impossible to think that the world was so large that small segments would appear flat.  Before the microscope existed, scientists felt that infectious disease was caused by miasma.  Even today, individuals disregard known information as they cannot reconcile facts with other beliefs they may hold. A recent survey asked over 2000 Americans if Arabic numbers should be taught in public schools.  The majority surveyed said that they should not be.  This result is tragic on two fronts.  First, most Americans didn’t realize that Arabic numbers are our 0-9 number system.  And second is that those surveyed used a combination of bias, prejudice, and ignorance to reach a ridiculous conclusion.

Humans think in absolute ways. However, this linear logic limits us.  We use simplistic thinking to determine good vs. bad.  Are police good or bad? Who is right, the Republicans or the Democrats? What is the one true religion?  It is impossible to develop a definitive answer to these and many other questions. However, this leads me to a conclusion about the above conundrum. It is possible to have two opposing ideas that are both correct. Therefore, we are both significant and insignificant. Based on the above, it is impossible to determine an objective answer to my life’s purpose.  Instead, it is better to explore how I impact the world.  For me, that is on an interpersonal basis. My significance is based on my direct interactions with others. How important those interactions are, I can’t say. Yet, I need to accept this as it is where I should place my efforts and energy.

How are we joined to humankind and our planet? Most cultures have employed a third factor that provides ways to explain the unknown, gives rules of behavior, and creates a framework for community. Enter the concept of the supernatural. Different groups may understand this differently.  Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme god but talk about spirits.  Hindus refer to a universal soul or Brahman.  Pagans focus on a connection with nature, while Christians, Muslims, and Jews hold a monotheistic understanding of the supernatural.  

I believe that there is something greater than ourselves. I refer to that entity as God.  My beliefs are partially cultural and partially experiential.  I was raised Roman Catholic and migrated to a non-denominational Christian Church, so I am most comfortable with a Christian concept of a Higher Power.  However, my concept of God and Christianity, in general, may be in opposition to more traditional views. Unfortunately, religious beliefs carry even more passion than other emotional flashpoints, such as politics.  I do not need to offend anyone.  I am sharing my thinking process, but I don’t need to convert anyone to my thinking.  

There are thousands of Christian denominations worldwide and dozens of prominent ones in the US.  These groups are sometimes similar to each other, and at other times they are radically different.  Critical concepts, such as necessary actions needed for salvation, can differ radically from one group to another.  Acceptable behaviors are also wildly different.  Denomination A may think it is fine to have an alcoholic drink, while denomination B bans coffee.  Denomination C may believe in the Rapture, while denomination D may believe such thinking is heresy. Demonination E may only allow celibate men as religious leaders, whereas denomination F may feel that married men and women should serve in that role. Denomination G rejects the use of automobiles and electricity, whereas denomination H embraces rock bands and live stream broadcasts of their services, and so it goes.

Who determines the rules?  That varies.  In most cases, at least with western Christianity, it is white men.  However, the way that they command their authority can also vary.  Many will convene a meeting or conference.  Naturally, leaders with the most power will have the loudest voice.  Power doesn’t always equate with correctness.  

Beyond consensus, there is usually some other ultimate source of truth.  Catholics believe that the Pope is infallible regarding questions of morals and faith. Mormons believe that their leader is a prophet. Some protestant religions will note that the Bible is inerrant.  This opinion isn’t conclusively stated in the Bible; it was decided by a conference of Evangelicals held in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare hotel in 1978.  Specifically, they cited the King James version of the Bible as the absolute inerrant source. Many non-Evangelical Biblical scholars would say that there are more accurate translations of the Bible that use better methodology and source materials closer to the original, but that is a discussion for another day.

Religious leaders throughout history have made decisions based on a variety of motivations.  I do not doubt that some of their determinations have been based on their interpretation of God’s will from reading scripture, personal prayer, and other methods. Sometimes, bias can radically impact an individual’s or group’s thinking process. Both Copernicus and Galileo said that our solar system was heliocentric and were deemed heretics by religious leaders. The Inquisition tried Galileo because this finding contradicted the interpretation of scriptures that the Earth was the center of the universe.  Beyond interpretation issues, some religious leaders have used their authority for personal profit or to push their agenda. Here some tele-evangelists who ascribe to prosperity theology come to mind.

I see no evidence that God has granted certain individuals the ability to be infallible.  Likewise, I see the Bible as a highly significant work containing Christianity’s elements.  However, I don’t see it as inerrant.  I base this opinion on the many inconsistent histories given in the Bible that range from the birth of Jesus to His crucifixion and death.  Various Gospels were written decades to almost 100 years after the death of Jesus.  Before that time, his teachings were spread by oral traditions, which would be modified as time and situation commanded.  You can see this effect by reading the first written Gospel (Mark) and comparing it to the last, the Gospel of John.  

The Bible was written during a different time when enslaving others was acceptable and when women were expected to be completely subservient to men. These were the cultural norms 2000 years ago. Unfortunately, some have used these and other Biblical references in modern times as justification to oppress entire groups of humanity.  Others have used incorrect translations of words or their personal interpretations of passages as rational to damn groups of humans. 

The Catholic Bible includes books that the Protestant Bible omits.  Are those books of lesser value?  Other writings were considered and rejected for the Bible as they were inconsistent with the determining group’s ideology.  Some of these books have resurfaced and offer a different view of early Christianity. Should they be included in our understanding of Jesus’s message?

At this point, you are likely asking, “So, what is your point?”   My point is that I think spiritual life is vital for me as it not only gives my existence meaning but it also connects me with our greater humanity.  It is the glue that makes sense out of the dichotomy that my life is both meaningful and meaningless.  However, I cannot accept something just because some authority told me that was what I am supposed to believe.  I find too many flaws in such an argument.  

As I mentioned earlier, I consider myself a Christian, which is the set of beliefs I resonate with.  However, I have some issues with religion and religious leaders.  This may seem heresy as many Christian religions emphasize that only their beliefs offer the golden ticket to heaven.  Further, some threaten eternal damnation if you stray away from their dogma. There are benefits to belonging to a religious group, community being one of them. However, once any religion feels it has the right to damn and condemn others, it has moved from being a spiritual guide to a quasi-god.  

I keep returning to the message that Jesus gave us based on his actions.  It is very simple.  Love all, forgive, include all, don’t judge, be kind, and be generous. Jesus went against the Pharisees by healing on the Sabbath. In doing so, he demonstrated that we should not let the self-proclaimed leaders of the day prevent us from having a relationship with God by overloading us with their rules and regulations. When religion moves against His tenets, they serve their needs rather than God’s will. I cannot continue with any religion when I see an organization professing inclusion but practicing exclusion. Professing forgiveness but practicing damnation.  Professing charity but practicing greed. Professing equality but damning opposing opinions.

This last year of my retirement has focused on these issues. I accept the uncertainty of my existence. I exist, and no further rationale is necessary. My relationship with my Higher Power is stronger now than in the past.  That connection feels truer as I have been able to release me from many of the things taught me, but that made little sense. As my connection to my Higher Power deepens, my acceptance of the duality of our existence strengthens. I will continue to move forward as I attempt to contribute to society and those around me, not for heaven points, but because it is the right thing to do.

Lastly, this year I have been thinking about life goals and legacy. I’m certain that some don’t give these concepts a second thought, while others may think about them all the time.  For some, their life goal is to acquire.  They may want to acquire experiences, the latest restaurant meal, or travel location.  Others want to gain property, money, or power.  For these folks, the more they have, the more they want.  Still, others want to leave a tangible marker that they have been “here.”  That could be anything from a recipe to a university building.  

For me, a life well spent has moved humankind in a positive direction.  Most of us won’t be able to make global changes.  I don’t think that is important.  However, what is important to me is if my overall efforts were more positive than negative.  As a doctor, did I help more people than I harmed?  As a friend, relative, husband, and father, were my interactions more beneficial than detrimental to those I love?  Were my connections with acquaintances and strangers more positive than negative?  If I can generally answer yes to the above questions, I feel that I have lived a worthwhile life.

In a few weeks, I’ll turn 70-a major birthday.  Upward and onward, one step at a time.