The Universe and I
By: Matthew Sandoval
October 20, 2014 11:36PM PDT
The Universe and I
There once was a dot, a small one at that, bound by gravity to its neighboring middle-aged star. This dot was special. It was not too hot, and not too cold, it was just right. This dot was host to a one-of-a-kind species – humans. Although at times they may seem insignificant, they are special. They know of their existence, they ask questions, they experiment, they conclude. These beings are known for their intellectual ability and inquisitive nature. They are intrinsically bound to the vastness that encompasses them and their dot.
These beings consist of small fractions of the cosmos. The atoms that are fused in the cores of stars, and the heavier elements created during the violent death of a star make up the molecules that combine to form the complex organism called a human. Whether they choose to recognize it or not, the calcium in their bones, the iron in their blood, the carbon in their skin, and the oxygen that they rely on for daily activities was made in a star. We are made of star stuff. We are merely a complex mixture of compounds and elements organized in such an intricate way that we are able to detect our own existence. We are self-aware, we can reason to conclusions, we can recognize patterns, and we can think as well as know that we are thinking. Many of us may take this for granted every day, but we are the only organisms known that are aware of their own existence. But with this knowledge and capability comes a great responsibility; to care for our home.
We reside on a special dot, only one of many, orbiting its burning candle. We live on a perfect planet. One that is not too hot, and not too cold. One that has an atmosphere to support our stubborn demands of constant doses of oxygen. One that supplies us with plentiful amounts of water. And perhaps the most important factor yet, a clear view of the cosmos that surrounds us. The sky has inspired generations of explorers to question their existence, to look for answers, and to try and understand their home in the cosmos just a little bit more. Even the earliest humans had to understand and observe the cosmos, because it gave them life and death. The cosmos told them when the harvest would come, and when it was time to take shelter from the brutal winter. Without the cosmos, we may not be here today.
We are bound to the cosmos, even in ways that may seem uncomfortable to accept right away. Luckily, despite our common ignorance, our intellectual ability will shine through and pull us towards the truth in the end. That pale blue dot on which we live, and walk, and learn, and question was once described by a great astronomer, Carl Sagan, as “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.” That dot is our home, our only home in the cosmos. We now have the task, a task that has been instilled in us since the beginning of time because we are intrinsically bound to it, to take care of our only home, to care for it, to nurture it, because as radical as it may seem, we are a way for the cosmos that surrounds us to know itself.
- Standing on Top of the Universe
- Wine, Dinner, and The Universe at The Science Cafe -- Nov 15
- View From the Center of the Universe