It’s all a waste. Before I was born, there was meaningless. After I die, there will be meaningless. The universe is a big mess of meaninglessness.
I was walking outside late last week and I looked up into the sky. I saw a very sparkly red star. I thought it was Mars. I was wrong. It was Arcturus. After a bit of checking things out on the web, I found out that Arcturus is about 25 times the size of our sun. The sun is about 109 times as big as the earth, so Arcturus is really really big. Visually, that looks something like this:
I was starting to feel small…until I came across this pic:
Antares is about 800 times the size of our sun. It is so big that our sun is only one pixel in the image above. A photon of light takes about one hour for it to travel around the diameter of Antares, and light ain’t no slow poke (~671 million mph). If Antares were our sun, its edge would reach beyond the current orbit of Mars (and Mars is the fourth planet from our sun for those who need to think about it). Antares is huge! Antares is so huge that I cannot really begin to fathom how there can be something that big in our universe (and Antares isn’t even the biggest!). I feel smaller than the smallest. No…smaller.
And now I can’t get it out of my head that we (humans) are just some lucky little accident that happened on some tiny, rinky-dink rock floating out in a rinky-dink solar system. The universe is so big (SO BIG) and we are so small (SO SMALL). I look out at our buildings, at our people, at our books and we give them so much meaning. Everything around us has meaning because we put it there. We are born into it and we die in it. But we are but a blip. We are an accident.
One day this will all end. A large comet will someday strike the earth or a large solar flare pointed in just the right direction will completely annihilate all life on earth. And all the history we have, all the knowledge we have gained, all the technology we have developed will vanish without a trace. All our great thinkers will be turned to nothingness, as if they never thought at all. This is probably the single most humbling thought I’ve had. We think we are so special – humanity – but one day all record of us will be gone. As if we never existed at all.
There’s a probability that a large enough comet might hit the earth around 2030. Maybe our dance with destiny is sooner rather than later.
Saying that this is all a waste is too strong. I guess I should probably say that it is what it is and leave it at that. But whatever – we are so much smaller than we can possibly comprehend and yet we think we are so big. Meaningless. From dust to dust. From meaninglessness to meaninglessness.