During our lives we spend years feeling overwhelmed by the puny events that take place in it, worrying about problems at work, yesterday’s argument with your wife or the piling bills on the kitchen table.
Puny?! Who said they were puny?
Oh… I did?
Well… I meant puny within the greater scheme of things.
We live our short existence trapped in this organic and perennial carcass only gifted with our “evolved(?!)” minds -which most times are the cause of our sorrows-.
When was the last time you took a step back to put things in perspective. How far back did you go?
If you ever need time off from your present, either because your own reality has overloaded you or you simply have the time to do it, take this mental tour to the perspective-most point known to mankind and chill out over there for a while:
This is where we start. Our whole lives take place in a small slice of this small planet. A few hundred square kilometers of it for some, a few thousand for others; that unless you are one of the 12 humans that have walked on the moon.
See that Pale Blue Dot in the upper right side of this photo? This is how we look like from our solar system’s backyard. That dot condenses all of known history, your life, the lives of everyone you have known, know and will ever know.
You think this is perspective? You haven’t seen nothing. Keep scrolling down.
This is our Galaxy, or at least how it would look like if we could get out of it. It hosts 200 to 400 billion suns.
Remember how Earth looked like from the outskirts of it? Well… our solar system is not even observable at this scale.
The Milky Way is part of a neighborhood of galaxies. The picture on the right [click to expand] is just a 10.000 unit block within that neigborhood.
There’s 100 apartments in the complex where I live. I am yet to discover intelligent life here but I believe there is, somewhere… in 200 billion galactic homes I bet the odds are better than in my community. JK
Thing is, that these 10.000 galaxies are just a small sample of what there is out there: estimated in the hundreds of billions, so if you think we are alone here… think again.
By the way, the “portion” of the Universe that we are able to see is only 4% of the total. The remaining 23% is composed of “invisible” dark matter and the other 73% by the even more elusive dark energy.
Due to our natural limitations it is impossible for us to logically -actually- commensurate numbers -or even ideas- as vast as these.
Fortunately, thousands of years of cultural evolution have prepared our brains to conceptualize this vastness in a different and more holistic way.
It can be described -as Sigmund Freud once accurately said it- as an oceanic feeling. Those who believe in God/s can relate to this sensation that faith induces. For us, non-believers, this is the closest it gets to that.
Yet, if you are still not humbled by how insignificant we are when compared to everything, think that the millions of galaxies you see in the above picture are just a small sample of all the galaxies that are -and have been- out there. And that those galaxies belong to our Universe, which according to an increasingly number of scientists, is one of many other Universes that co-exist with ours and may have even preceded ours.
Yes, I mean lots of Big Bangs before ours and others maybe occurring as you read this-.
Now, how big you said your problems were?