Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Question to Ponder...

How do you feel about the vastness of the universe? Does it terrify you with your own insignificance, or do you like being part of such a huge, mysterious whole?
(submitted by Steph)

5 comments:

Suze said...

Depends on my mood, actually. Sometimes I'm terrified by the vastness of the universe, but mostly I am reassured that I'm not really so important after all. If I screw something up, the sun will still rise in the morning and all that.

Pam said...

Great question!!

There are times when I think of "the universe" as this amazing sea of love that we're all floating in. My mom refers to the universe in the way many other people refer to God, so I often find myself thinking in her terms.

Other times I get super freaked out thinking about it. Historically, whenever I try to grasp where the universe ends or how something could have no end, I pretty much go totally bonkers.

Ian said...

I think that's a false choice -- generally when I think of the universe it is with regret that I won't be able to see much of it at all. If I'm more optimistic, I feel the thrill at the prospect of extraterrestrial exploration in my lifetime. I don't recall ever having felt either of the options presented.

Terri said...

I am infatuated by the thought that we could be so small, so meaningless in the grand scheme of the Universe - and yet contain within in us such light and love, such mysteries and miracles... can you even imagine how beautiful the rest of it must be out there?

John said...

Yes.

Well, actually, the vastness doesn't terrify me. How could the vastness of anything (other than human stupidity or a shark's appetite) be a threat to me. But it is humbling to realize that were I to get run over by a bus tomorrow, not even the workings of the local solar system would be affected.

One of the most pleasurable things I've done is participate in galaxyzoo.org, a crowd-sourced effort to classify millions of galaxies. (Turns out the human eye and brain are still better than computers at distinguishing elliptical galaxies from a spirals, especially when the image is fuzzy, at random angles, or actually an image of something else entirely. Go brains!) The work, if you can call it that, entails looking at galaxy after galaxy, and some of them are breathtakingly beautiful -- and I imagine that in at least one of them there may be an intelligent life form looking at our galaxy and wondering if there's any intelligent life there. At that point I get pretty thrilled to be part of something so unimaginably huge.