Saturday, November 01, 2008

Our insignificance in the Cosmos

The New York Times reported a student at Dartmouth asking: How do you keep from despairing at the immensity of space and the smallness of us?

I remember having the exact same question back in high school, learning about cosmology, the age and shape and size of the universe, thinking about space-time (roughly 15 billion light years wide in at least 4 dimensions) and how insignificant any one life is (whose theoretical limit of one light-lifespan). And indeed I did despair for a time.

My answer at the time was that while one human is mortal, humanity is potentially immortal, and information and knowledge, would outlive even the life of the last man. As was the theme of the Shakespearean sonnets I had to memorize back freshman year. "So long as men can breathe, and eyes can see, so long lives this, and this gives life to thee."

So my answer to the vastness of space back in high school, was to become part of the cloud of knowledge achieved by humanity.

Haven't thought about that in a while. I used to think about it more. Even used it on my first date with R-. Not sure if that helped or hurt.

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