The pictures above are the Mona Lisa and the Eagle Nebula. Here is a riddle, what do they have in common? Actually, everything! How so?
When we look at Da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa, what do we see? We see a painting of course. But what else? The painting is much more then just the image of a woman. First, the painting is made of pigments used to paint with. It is made of canvas. Look deeper, and we see that the canvas and oil paint are made of molecules, then atoms, and then quarks. Look even deeper, and we see the painting is made of time and space along with energy and matter. Look even deeper still and we see the painting consists of the laws of physics and quantum mechanics.
Look again, and what else do we see? We see the artistry. We see patterns in the brush strokes. We see design. Somehow complex thoughts and emotions are conveyed with the strokes of a paintbrush. When observing the Mona Lisa we actually are looking inside the subtle mind of Leonardo Da Vinci. We are looking into the expression of his genius. Immaterial human thoughts are transformed into material expression.
Can we see more? The painting is an expression of the totality of human culture and civilization. Not only does the painting express the culture of Da Vinci’s time, it is an expression of our culture today. It is Art. Without humanity’s history, culture and art, this painting could not exist. It symbolizes all that is human, our consciousness and our very existence.
What does this have to do with the Eagle Nebula? I suggest the Universe is like a painting. Obviously the universe is composed of atoms and energy, time and space, just like the Mona Lisa. In addition to that, the universe also has a design, sort of like a cosmic paintbrush stroke. This design is the laws of nature, the order behind everything. But is that all?
Look at the universe deeper, and we see the universe also paints pictures! Not just expressed by the beautiful nebula, but through our human created paintings. How? The universe is creative…it creates. The universe created life, humanity, sentience, civilization and art. It all came from the Universe. The Universe literally painted the Mona Lisa. The Universe is an artist.
If a painting is an expression, a reflection of the mind of its artist, does the same apply to the universe? Looking at the universe and its finely tuned design, we can see into the Mind behind the universe. If a painting and the universe are indeed one in the same, then it was not only Leonardo Da Vinci who painted Mona Lisa. The Universe “painted” Leonardo himself, and every one of us as well. We are the Universe’s reflection, made in its image.