Saturday, December 4, 2021

Sun is more than just light - it provides life

It’s not just light.

And it goes far beyond warmth. Past the beautiful MSU women (all of you) who take off their winter coats, and the flying balls and Frisbees orbiting the residence halls. It’s not a matter of the Guinness on the deck outside The Peanut Barrel Restaurant, or even the color that returns to my skin.

But I love the sun more than anything.

All the energy around us, all that you, the readers, are, and all that will ever be starts with the sun. It creates and supports all life. It is life.

Everyone knows all living things would perish without it. Most people realize it is the fundamental basis of all energy around us on this planet, and it creates life from lifelessness.

But it wasn’t until recently that I realized how deeply the sun affects my soul. I am grateful for Michigan winters because they remind me every year exactly how important the sun is to me. I can observe my gradual decline through the winter months, see how my hunger for living transforms into listlessness and subtle depression, and reaffirm what I know inside myself so well.

I am sick and wretched without the sun’s touch.

Recognizing the sun as my creator is as natural to me as breathing. Everything I will ever know literally revolves around it. It creates incomprehensible cosmic order from chaos, and it holds the atoms inside me to their physical state. It feeds the vegetables I eat and maintains the water I drink. It creates ozone to protect me from its power. It is the closest thing to a god I have ever seen.

Although I can’t look directly at it, I can see it all around me. And faith is fine, I guess, when you’re in a pinch. But who needs it when you’re surrounded with the irrefutable, incontrovertible warmth of the mother of all life?

Perhaps you think referring to the sun as a god is extreme, and that the ancient Incas, Maya, Celts, Persians, Greeks, Babylonians, Druids and Hindus, and most of the Native Americans, were all pretty foolish. They all worshiped the sun. To the Egyptians, the sun, Ra, was everything about which their lives revolved. They were pretty fanatical about it. They worshiped their leader, the pharaoh, who claimed to be descended from Ra, the sun. And when a descendant of Ra tells you to make a 137-meter pyramid with chisels and ramps, that’s what your civilization spends most of its time doing.

All that worshiping junk and pyramid building is probably unnecessary, unless you’re pompous enough to believe in a supreme deity (with arms and legs) who actually cares how you spend your spare time. The sun doesn’t. It gives and gives without any thought of consequence. The jolt of pleasure sunlight brings me after walking out of a darkened lecture hall comes with no strings attached. It will provide the same for my children, and their children’s children for a thousand generations after.

But in the end, the sun is just a reaction. It’s a reaction to the forces at work we are only starting to understand, and can only barely explain. And it’s the source of these forces that deserves our gratitude, or worship, if you’d prefer. Most everyone has a different attitude, a different method of going about it. Many of you have faith in something no one else can witness, but that seems so very real to you that to deny it would be to deny yourself. And others of you don’t feel you owe anything any thanks at all.

My beliefs don’t seem like faith to me; they seem like observation. Of course it seems that way to me - it’s my belief and I think it’s true.

And if you didn’t think your beliefs were true, this wouldn’t be any fun at all. But I can’t avoid looking at the world around me and seeing the delicate balance that exists, all the opposing forces vying for equilibrium and the vast expanses these forces delineate.

I look and I know nothing can ever really go wrong. The sun will be here for me tomorrow, just as it is today. I can’t avoid walking into the touch of the eternal sun and feeling everything everywhere could be anything but absolutely perfect.

Andrew Banyai, a political science and pre-law junior, can be reached at banyaian@msu.edu.

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