A cosmic perspective

I’m all in favor of a cosmic perspective.

On the occasions I’ve been lucky enough to sleep under the stars, far from civilization, I’ve found that a small but radical realignment in perception can enhance that perspective.

Instead of looking up, look out — out into the Milky Way and deep space.

In other words, instead of assuming the position that one is lying on top of the globe — space above, earth below — imagine ones back stuck to the side of the globe, looking outwards.

This shift from up to out, breaks the geocentric perspective and puts the Earth in space, rather than making space outside the Earth.

As Neil deGrasse Tyson says, to consider the vastness of the universe is indeed inspiring — but it’s also terrifying, and not simply because it threatens an inflated ego.

However abundant life might be in the universe, the places that support life are miniscule in relationship to everything else.

To see the universe as intrinsically hostile to life is terrifying, realistic, and above all, should enhance our appreciation for this tiny planet. Inside the wafer-thin bubble of the Earth’s atmosphere percolates a complex, fragile, and vital energy — a force by which we are possessed and yet have the conceit to challenge.

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