Homage to the cosmic perspective
All of our ancestors down through the eons of time have lived here on a small seemingly insignificant planet drifting aimlessly in the void of space, each of them living out their lives briefly on the surface of this planet, underneath the radiant sun for but a glimpse of cosmic time; totally devoid of realization to the true size of themselves in the universe. Through the eons, slowly but surely creating for themselves from the tools they had available, with the resources they had; cultures of grandiose sizes and eloquence, languages of sparse diversity, religions and myths to explain their origin, philosophy to contemplate their place among the cosmos, science to understand the world around them, art to capture their imagination, and all the things that now make our species what they are, slowly progressing as the planet they stood on slowly drifted aimlessly in the void. We were trapped in a long slumber to the rest of the universe we were. Waking only in recent decades with those same but more advanced tools of our origins, breaking the hold of the planet’s surface, boldly with courage verging into the unknown, into space; we found ourselves staring back at the small spec. It was in this awakening, that we found our true size, being much smaller than we had imagined; many gave a sigh to this realization. The anthropocentrism that long gripped our ancestors, the notion that all of life is for humanity and that he is the be-all-to-end-all; finally was challenged by the realization of the real size of our planet in the universe. Others averted their eyes from the places where they hung their heads and gazed upwards to new heights, to new distances, to new dreams. We have finally done it, finally we have broken free from the cage that has long held us stationary on this drifting planet and have opened the way into the heavens. With space travel and the notion of travelling into the unknown, it has given us humanity hope for the future, we have unleashed the imagination, and it is from the stars we make our dreams fully realised. Stars that had long been the fuel for our ancestor’s imagination, now give us insight as to our real origins, our real place in the cosmos.
Many individuals have emphasised the importance of a cosmic perspective; in 1980 Carl Sagan released to the world his “Cosmos: A personal Voyage” astronomy television series, that captivated individuals into the imagination of space and the future of human exploration. In it was emphasised the choice of life or destruction, many have through the eons chosen life over destruction; and thus we are still here. In our different lands, across our many oceans, we all are in some way apart of this choice. What we did and what we do is important. Valuing each opportunity to do it, takes time and effort, the road may be long and the path rough, but the voyage is not meaningless for it serves a greater purpose to our species, and to the way the future will span out. Whatever the road for you, or for your fellow man, one thing can be said for certain that the universe is a part of you and you apart of it. It sounds surreal, even overwhelming, but when you understand that the atoms in your body can be traced (as a prodgie of carl Sagan’s put it) “To the crucibles that were once the centres of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life.” Then one can realise that when looking out at the night time sky, or looking at the passing worker ants, what they do is as much of importance to life as we do. In our own ways we shine each and every day with unique qualities, we are able to do great things when we put our minds to it; and we may stuff up, we have stuffed up quite a lot, but yet we stand here together, only across separated boundaries made by ourselves. The fault is in our stars, as well as the glory is in our stars (Stephen fry); whatever we make of the life we have, is of us and when it is done our bodies will be broken down and recycled, with the memories of us being left within the people we have touched. Yet before that point we live within the moment, experiencing every good and bad thing that makes life worthwhile. That is what it means to live within reality. The cosmos is open to us as it has always been, but now we are just a little bit closer to reaching what lay beyond our solar system, what may lay beyond our galaxy, and dare one says the universe!
Enjoy the journey of life for what it is; a privilege.