It’s easy to turn on the news and find nothing but gloom. From warfare to injustice, our minds are continuously saturated by the inane and sad. But its not all bad. Just think about it for the moment. We exist, and regardless of our failures, it is a multitude of unlikely triumphs that have led us here. So take a moment away from the macabre, and join me in a celebration of hope.
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl, Author.
Suspended in a Sunbeam
Astronomer and Science Communicator Carl Sagan once uttered a soliloquy of such grand insight that the whole of our existence can be reduced to a moment in space. In his polemic, he refers to our ‘Pale Blue Dot’, (a musing on a photograph taken by the Voyager 1 Space Probe,) as the epitome of all we have ever been. In just this small snippet, he says;
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. – Carl Sagan (view the rest here.)
Hidden within Sagan’s prose is a simple message. Every evil, every good, is played out on one stage. And like every yin must have its yang, the good is only ever hidden, not lost. And it is quite a wonder, that we live on a miraculous planet cast asunder in a tiny corner of a plain galaxy, in an average cluster, in universe grander than our imaginations, lucky to be in a time and level of entropy so fertile to life.
A Unique Journey
A peace above all earthly dignities, A still and quiet conscience. – William Shakespeare, Playwright
Eons ago life began. First as a mute congregation of molecules, tuned by chance and selection, dressed by chemistry and choreographed by physics, it evolved into the complex tapestry of life we see today. From the furnaces of long dead stars the very atoms that comprise us tell a story 13 billion years old, and those same atoms allow you to read, comprehend, and share. It is quite an accomplishment.
It has not been an easy road. Mass extinctions, whether by giant rock, disease or climate change, have forged our ecology into today’s nature. Humans are just one branch of an epic tree, and all our mistakes and noble deeds have helped our tender leaves reach for the very stars that formed them. But we are transient beneficiaries, nomadic wanderers of time and space, left to ponder our purpose in it all.
A Bright Future
What you had yesterday is only memories; what you will have tomorrow is your dreams and what you will do today, let it be love.” – Santosh Kalwar
The world of tomorrow is unwritten. Whether it be scorched in Nuclear Fire, or elucidated by the dance of particles beneath Switzerland, the empty pages are ours to write. The ink we use is formed of our judgement, the cursive language our hope and the full stop our dreams. There is little to hold us back, as we have traversed so far. To be sentient, an unlikely biological machine, formed of dead stars in a forgotten corner of the universe, is a blessing.
So, next time you find yourself in despair at the world, remember that you are part of something wonderful, unexpected, and most importantly, unfinished.
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- Whatever the Hell you want.
The views above are those of Dr Janaway alone and do not necessarily represent those of his affiliates. Image courtesy of Pixabay.