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Universe: Journey from Earth to the Edge of the Cosmos
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"If we spend time in it [the vast spaces of nature], they may help us to accept more graciously the great, unfathomable events that molest our lives and will inevitably return us to dust."
(Alain de Botton)
Earth is home. Evolution connects us all. Death comes to all. On this blue Planet we the human species are united by our common habitation, our common origin and our common mortality.
The actual is greater than the superficial and the certainty of death can be a driving force for solidarity and not a suppressed anxiety that drives us towards division and despair. The uncertainty of life and the certainty of death unite all of us who come to this existence on this blue planet.
"Our lives, our past and our future are tied to the sun, the moon and the stars. We humans have seen the atoms which constitute all of nature and the forces that sculpted this work and we, who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos, have begun to wonder about our origins star stuff contemplating the stars, organized collections of ten billion billion billion atoms, contemplating the evolution of nature, tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet earth.
We are one species.
We are star stuff harvesting star light."
"There are some oddities in the perspective with which we see the world. The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be."
"Frequently consider the connection of all things in the universe.
We should not say I am an Athenian or I am a Roman but I am a citizen of the Universe. "
(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations)
"A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Now, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. I have read and heard many attempts at a systematic account of it, from materialism and theosophy to the Christian system or that of Kant, and I have always felt that they were much too simple. I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth that are dreamed of, or can be dreamed of, in any philosophy. That is the reason why I have no philosophy myself, and must be my excuse for dreaming. John Burden Sanderson Haldane (1892-1964) English geneticist. Possible Worlds and other Essays (1927) "Possible Worlds".
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