12 February 2010

The Earth and Human Beings On the Cosmological Scale

On the cosmological scale human beings and the Earth are very small, and precious. I hope humanity will live to see a day when all people and the earth will be treated well. People and the planet deserve to be treated well. Really - does anyone deserve to be treated badly?

Earlier tonight I was sitting outside enjoying the wonderful warm weather and the light misty drizzle, when I noticed a star (maybe Sirius) peeking out from behind the clouds. I mentioned this to someone near me, which provoked a great conversation about cosmology. We talked about the relative size (mass) of human beings and the planet Earth in comparison to the Universe.

The Sun is one of a billion stars in the Milky Way. The galaxy is one of billions in the Universe.

The Sun comprises over 99% of the mass of the solar system - Jupiter, 2.5 times the mass of all of the other planets combined, takes up the bulk of the rest the rest of the mass.

That makes the Earth very small. And that makes human beings very very small.

And so it is important to remember that sometimes the best gifts come in small packages. I think that's a good way to think about people.

(We also talked quite a bit about society, politics and economics, and how necessary change is - considering the many serious ongoing injustices in the world today, including the fact that one billion human beings suffer from chronic structural hunger.)

The photo is of the peak of Mount Rainier peeking out above clouds, from September 2009.

For a bit of sardonic humor, below is the Galaxy Song, from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, on YouTube:

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