“Billions and Billions,” Carl Sagan would say, with that weird bombastic emphasis on the ‘B’ that we liked to mimic. I believed him when he told me that the universe was bigger than I could ever imagine. Even if I didn’t understand the concept of infinity, I got the enormity bit, and I started feeling small. Tiny.
The other day, I saw a video, a visual representation of a gargantuan universe. Carl, it turns out, should have been saying ‘Quadzillions’ instead of Billions. This is a quick video, three amazing minutes, well worth your time. You may want to look at it before you read on-it helps get your mind around the breadth of the universe. Turn off the music...you don't need it and it's annoying.
Do you see my point? I have shrunk (in relative importance/meaning) to a size you couldn’t even see with the human eye. I used to think I was as big as a grain of sand. Now, I'm smaller than one of the 100 species of insects hanging around our homes…that we never see. (Creepy that they’re there, huh? But true.) This makes Jonathan Swift a terrible under-estimator in Gulliver's Travels!
Relatively, says Hubble, I am less than itsy bitsy in size, and my importance diminishes with every new discovery. My effect: a lot less than a butterfly winging it.
Usually I rise each morning buoyed by big ideas and tall purpose; we writers live by making comparisons and setting hefty goals. But I have to admit that size does matter and my ideas and purposes seem whittled down by the ballooning universe.
So I’m interested. How are you dealing with the your shrinking importance in the world? Humor is welcome, of course, whenever we have these crazy existential conversations. Example: One good outcome-I have lost ‘weight.’ ;-)
To go with my 'diminished' theme, I’ll trot out FAINT, the third in my Funeral Planner Suspense series. Here are a couple tweets:
Thoughtful #dog, sweet man with #Alzheimer’s, #blind forensic investigator FAINT-3rd in series http://amzn.com/B0180LJBRI #suspensest #romance
Criminals challenge brains & relationship of freelance embalmer & blind forensic investigator #suspensest #romance http://amzn.com/B0180LJBRI
"Oh, man" is right! Every time I see things like this, all I can think is "WE ARE NOT ALONE." :-)
Oh yes, Rolynn, physically we can measure ourselves as smaller than small BUT there is no way to measure our ideas, our thoughts, our vision and how far they reach. Put an idea out there and who knows how far it reaches or grows. Send out positive vibrations and they travel and travel and balloon into such proportions they just might make it to the next galaxy. You could be influencing not only generations of us small people but races beyond our imagination in a galaxy far far away. Physical size may not matter but the breadth and depth of our mind knows no size. May the force be with you.
Very thought provoking, Rolynn! But there will always be larger and smaller things around you. Think how you look to a mite!
This is why I believe there is life everywhere. Maybe it can't get to us (yet) anymore than we can get to all those other worlds, but it seems incredibly "small" sighted to think Earth is alone in supporting life in all the gazillions of universes. Then again, maybe lots of other civilizations are way smarter than we are, and they're watching us right now and laughing... Why would they laugh? It's election season. Enough said!
Pardon me, friends, but I guess the storm in California played havoc with the internet, which went out last night. I just got on at 9:30 a.m. (PST).
Leah, I am absolutely sure we are not alone...and I get why some are hooked on writing/reading/watching paranormal stuff.
Brenda, I like your idea of the outreaching mind. For instance the concept of goodness in people, when multiplied is/could be a HUGE force.
Ilona, I love the concept of perspective/relativity...which is why I enjoyed Gulliver's Travels so much!
Yes, Jannine, if we don't laugh about politics, we're going to surely cry. 30% of the population believes in alien abduction; the same percentage likes the hotel guy with the hair. I wonder if it's the same 30%? Sorry, couldn't help myself!
"Gulliver's Travels" -- a blast from my childhood!
Yes, Angela. I think it's worth another read, now that we're wiser...ahem, older, that is.
Oh, Man! Again. There is no way we are alone. It's even possible our solar system/galaxy is a science project (like one of those plastic ant farms) on the dresser in some alien kid's bedroom.
Margo, you made me laugh out loud. I imagine the owner of this 'ant farm' laughing his/her/its head off at our CRAZY activities. I'm glad we're the source of amusement, at least.
A lesson for me was when my grandson, Ryan, carried his 6 foot by 8 inch telescope outside and we looked at stars and planets and their moons. Yeah, I felt small and insignificant.
Vonnie, I feel as if I know Ryan...such a smart kid and in my favorite sport, wrestling. I have to think that the insignificance we feel about the universe is a healthy sign. I think we're motivated to do the best we can in our time on this earth. Mix awe with a sense of luck and smarts and enough energy to make a difference...why that's the stuff of heroism! Mush on, I say!
Very thought-provoking, Rolynn. I had to laugh at Margo's observation. Without humor, this could be depressing.
Wow, a post to really make you think. I haven't really put it into that perspective. But, I'm not going to be concerned about it. I am happy with my place in 'my world' and I have too much on my plate to worry about the rest :) Great post!
Alicia, you are in a healthy place. Good for you. My brain does love to wonder, compare, etc...but I try not to let the BIG issues give me ulcers.
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