Here on Earth, with our feet planted firmly on the ground, we also tend to plant our minds firmly in Earthly affairs. And as important as it is to tend to our Earthly joys and worries, we take too little time to wonder about our existence. For I believe that only if and when we truly understand how interconnected we are with each other, the planet and the universe we will reach our true potential as a species, whatever that may be.
The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field image. source: Wikipedia
Also, through the life-giving light of our Sun, and the lights of countless other Suns we are connected to the universe, to the whole of existence. We're literally made of stardust as the atoms within us and everything else were forged in the hearts of now dead stars. Sub-atomic particles, launched from intergalactic distances away and billions of years ago, pass through us every second, but we don't notice because they're so small they can pass through the gigantic spaces between the nucleus and electrons of atoms; they almost never hit anything... We are galactic beings, yet the galaxies and the unimaginable size of infinite space-time they're contained within, make us feel tiny and unimportant, insignificant, disposable.
If you feel like this, if you think you are just not important enough for the indifferent universe to care about, let me try to convince you, no, let me try to convince us of the opposite. For we are the universe's greatest achievement, it's greatest miracle. As far as we can scientifically determine our universe is approximately 14.5 billion years old; for a human mind to try to comprehend such vast amounts of time passed is almost impossible. Our universe has had 14.5 billion years to evolve. And initially it was only "stuff".
And it still is only stuff according to the so called "hard sciences" like chemistry, physics, biology, you know, the "real world" sciences. Well, even if you believe that, or maybe especially if you believe that, there's no escaping that you, yes I'm talking directly to you now, dear reader, are the greatest miracle that ever happened in the entirety of existence. Let me tell you why.
Our fragile spaceship. source: NASA
Everything is made of "stuff", right? The exact same "stuff" even; everything, including ourselves are built from the same atoms, that are in turn made from the same sub-atomic particles. We are made from the same "stuff" as any other being on this planet, yet we resemble none of them. The mere fact that ultimately we're made from the same "stuff" as any table, chair, stone or drop of water, is a small miracle in itself. But maybe that's a miracle that makes you feel disposable again, you're made of nothing special after all...
But the other side of this is that this also means that we are intimately connected to the universe, we are made from the stuff that makes the universe itself and are therefore one with that universe. But it doesn't stop there. I said before that the universe has had 14.5 billion years to evolve. Like life on Earth evolved from a single cell organism to the highly complex life-forms we know today, with ourselves as the most complex ones, the universe itself has evolved in an even more miraculous way.
This greatest miracle in all of time is this: the universe has, after 14.5 billion years, managed to combine it's basic particles inside us in such a way that the universe itself can ponder on it's own existence. In us "stuff" is combined in such a way that the universe can think about it's own existence and about the meaning of it's own existence. You are the universe's greatest achievement and you are the universe's consciousness. You are the universe, trying to understand itself...
So, now that we got that out of the way, I want to leave you with this video about the Overview Effect:
The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface.
It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, "hanging in the void", shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this "pale blue dot" becomes both obvious and imperative.
The Overview Effect
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