March 12, 2011
Just before we head out to the night, let's look a bit into the unknown, for that's where the incredible lurks. Yes, I am paraphrasing a famous quote of Carl Sagan that somewhere, something incredible is waiting...well, you know the rest.
More often than not, the things incredible are unseen--as is the case with more than five hundred exoplanets we have catalogued so far. We infer their existence by detecting their gravitational effects upon their host stars, and by sensing the minute dips of starlight reaching our telescopes.
Exoplanet discoveries are a daily dose of the incredible. These fascinating worlds were unknown just a mere fifteen years ago. But now we live in an incredible moment in history where we can point at the stars and say there’s a planet there, and there.
Yet all these discoveries can shake us to the core, and render us gasping for meaning even more. How do we make sense of all of it? So what?! So what, if there are billions of other worlds out there? So what, if other planets are teeming with life? Worlds and the prospect of exolife can blow our minds, but only up to a certain extent. Only for while, we bask in the knowledge that took humanity thousands of years to uncover, and then at the end of the day, life goes on as usual. We have a busy life to live. And life goes on...
...but sadly, life ends, in different ways, in different places. We are ephemeral partakers in the great churning of the earth.
For a few moments in our lives, we all get a taste of the awe and wonder of what has been revealed during our time, and afterwards we get that feeling of insignificance over our brief stay on this planet. Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, a 16th century writer who wrote about the plurality of worlds, echoes that sentiment, "Behold a universe so immense that I'm lost in it. I no longer know where I am. I am just nothing at all."
Tonight, as you bask in the full torrent of human life, reflect on the Moment. And then give a hug to someone when you can, while you can.
I’d like to set a tone with pages from a soulful graphic novel, Daytripper. And i'll end this post with this thought: The Miracle is Everything, with you, here and now altogether.