An Exercise in Perspective

Taken from regarding the Galaxy:

“As a guide to the relative physical scale of the Milky Way, if it were reduced to 130 km (80 mi) in diameter, the Solar System would be a mere 2 mm (0.08 inches) in width.” 

Just try envisioning this. You are at a computer, reading this. A mile might be the grocery store down the street. New York City is 400 miles away. The Moon is about 240,000 miles away. The entire Solar System itself, we’ll say extends to the orbit of Pluto for simplicity’s sake; which at it’s farthest is 47 Astronomical Units (4.371 Billion miles, or 7.4 Billion Kilometers). All of that is only 2 millimeters. Out of 80 REGULAR miles that composes the rest of the Galaxy…

And the rest of the Universe is orders of magnitude larger still. All those specks? All of those are Galaxies, some larger, some smaller than ours, but Galaxies all the same…Just a small snapshot of our Universe, at that. Are we truly so conceited as to believe that all of this exists for our lonely little spec of blue? 

If anything, does the Universe even know we exist, I wonder…

The scale is just too massive; I can’t keep up with it in my head. Anyone else find this stuff fascinating, or am I just rambling?…I think it’s kinda poetic in an existential kind of way.

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  1. On a macroscopic scale, I may as well not exist.

    On a microscopic scale, I am a Universe.

    It’s mind blowing, to say the least.

  2. To me, it’s very humbling, as well as fascinating, especially since I don’t think I can even properly grasp the distances involved.

  3. i believe that you’ve explained a good part of why einstien thought god to exist. the poetry of it all. its incredible efficient simplicity that ranges from the smallest to the grandest physical objects we’ve ever observed, and even beyond. but life? i dont know, its origins are as mysterious as those of the universe it exists in, a form of concious matter capable of conceiving everything around it, altering our surroundings in a chaotic pattern if you will. where everything else mearly reacts as its predestined to by laws, so we know some we dont yet understand, every living thing i believe has been given the choice to interact with its environment as it chooses to within the confines of nothing more than its imagination. or intelligence. akums razor would clearly state that our being the only life forms in our universe is highly unlikely. but unless life is another state of matter as natural as iron, maybe a creator isnt so far fetched. though i would envision less a god than a microbiologist, a specific belief seems to matter less than the question. does god exist, or are we just dreams in clay.

    • Okay, first things first: baby, its Occam’s (and sometimes Ockham’s) razor. But its definitely not “akums razor.” LOL. I love you.

      Secondly, there’s a philosophical quotation that I think you might like: “We are the universe, or at least a part of it, conscious of itself as a problem.” I don’t think this is the full sense of the quotation, but sometimes I like to think of consciousness as not merely consciousness of the self, but as sort of a partial tapping into the fabric of the universe, a consciousness of that eternal connectedness of all things, living and nonliving (whatever the distinction between those two forms of matter might be defined as).

      Thirdly, regarding the mysterious origins of life: I think I discussed this with you already, but astronomers recently found that galactic dust could spontaneously transform into helixes and double helixes, and that the “inorganic creations had memory and the ability to reproduce themselves.” I just think that that’s cool, and also brings into question just what our definition of “life” is, and whether it can form out of inorganic as well as organic material.

      Fourthly, what you seem to be talking about is the idea that conscious life has a sort of “free will” or the freedom to make choices. I think that it does, but not everyone agrees on this; some think that everything, including our apparent “choices,” have all been determined by the initial state of the universe, and could not be any different. You know, of course, that I believe otherwise.

      Finally, as to the idea of a “creator” in the traditional Judeo-Christian sense of that word; surely possible, but I think its more likely that the universe is its own creator, a sort of eternally pervasive thing which just is. While spacetime of course has a begininng and will most likely have an end (part of the reason I think that all change occurs only in time, but I digress), the higher reality of it all, whatever it is, must necessarily always exist. Whatever that is, I suppose you could call it “God.”

      • I like the question you posed in the second paragraph…Reminds me of another famous philosophical question: “If the universe has no observers, does it truly even exist?” Which gets us into quantum physics (not that I pretend to even understand any of that crap)…Meaning if the answer to the question I posed was “no,” then perhaps we are truly the consciousness of the Universe because an observer is needed to realize it’s existence.

        I hadn’t heard about the galactic dust thing…That IS pretty cool. And I agree with your creator ideas…I lean towards the idea of a conscious creator only because we are obviously conscious and are only a product of the created Universe. While a creator need not be necessarilya conscious entity, or even an entity at all, it’s hard to imagine how else we might have come to be before the Big Bang (I hate typing that word; scientists need to get more creative with their names…)

  4. the universe is a sandwich

    trust me man, ive done studies and my research is delicious

  5. Earl, are you really leaving December 6th? That’s before Christmas ::sniffles::

  6. Hey its Felipe!

    Hey Earl! I think im gonna sign up for face book. It sounds like thats where we are hanging out these days. Going to try to catch up on your posts here, it looks like your doing well! My email is Drop me a line some time. Ill periodically drop a note here as well. Be safe buddy!

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