“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
― Arthur C. Clarke
Our planet, as we know it, is home to nearly 7.6 billion people. And that’s only the number for humans. There are many more forms of life, what we may know about or not, living in the vast seas and inhospitable wilderness. And yet, every time we look up, it’s hard to overcome the feeling of being alone. It’s tempting to speculate and fall prey to our imagination. What lies beyond the vast bed of blue? What lies in the vacuum of space? What lies in the darkness of the night? And why is the night dark at all?
“Every day you play with the light of the universe.”
― Pablo Neruda
Our universe is believed to be 13.82 billion years old and our planet is roughly 4.5 billion years old. The earliest life forms appeared about 3.8 billion years ago. Do these numbers mean anything? Sometimes numbers don’t really answer questions. They make you want to ask more questions instead. Where did it all begin? How did it begin? What was there before the beginning? Who or what created the beginning? And why are we really here?
“Nothing happens until something moves.”
― Albert Einstein
We’re so used to seeing the sun rising and setting everyday that we forget we’re actually riding a giant ball — moving in space. Life on earth can be quite challenging. And maybe there’s a reason for it. Or we’ll all get dizzy with the dangers of falling asteroids and exploding stars. There’s so much going on in an earthly life and there’s not enough time to worry about what’s beyond our narrow field of view.
“The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson
But, it’s also not easy to ignore the vast universe that lies beyond us. After all, the diameter of the observable universe is believed to be 92 billion light years (One light year is the distance travelled by light in a year). The universe literally calls out to us. For some of us — it holds hope. For some of us — it’s a passage for escapism. And for some of us, it gives meaning to our banal lives and shows us why ‘life’ is precious no matter how inconsequential it might seem to be.
“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
― Carl Sagan,
The universe is a like a ginormous crystal ball. It can you show you the passage of time as you could never imagine it. Every time you spot a distant star — you might as well be looking at a moment that doesn’t exist. And when you look at the countless objects scattered in the vast emptiness of space and try to think of the scale of everything, you realise how small you truly are. It’s a humbling experience like no other. And it makes you appreciate every single bit of life you live, cherish every moment, hold on to every memory, and believe you’re the chosen one. The universe is also the window to our souls. And it shows us how we’re all the same because we all came from the same beginning.