As we look up to the sky at night and see all the stars that are light-years away from us, it hits home how small we are. A child might look up at a stately oak tree and be amazed at how big and strong it is. As young adults taking our first airline trip, we’re in awe of the earth’s size as we gaze out the window mid-flight. As we get older, we become more acclimated to the way things are, and they cease to amaze us any longer. But every now and then, we notice something that drives home the point again – ‘we are so small’.
We only know what we can experience, so even the most well traveled, life-experienced person only knows what exists on our planet. We have no knowledge of anything outside of our own little world. Which begs the question – how much is there to learn? A famous philosopher once said “the more I learn, the less I think that I know.” The universe is so vast – even just our solar system is more than the mind can comprehend. Astronomers’ active imaginations help to put the universe on our level, in terms of what we know, but what if outside of our little box, the rules are different? Are the distant galaxies functioning on the same physical rules as we experience on earth? Astronomers state that the universe is expanding, but expanding into what? What is beyond the universe? Just a void?
But there’s really not much point in trying to understand what we can’t find the answer to. For us, the universe, its untold mysteries and unending marvels, simply exist to humble us, to put into perspective our miniscule, microscopic contribution that our life will amount to in the grand scheme of things.
Though small and insignificant on a universal scale, we still have vital overpowering importance. Our children depend upon us, look up to us, even worship us as mightily powerful beings that provide for them. As they grow up, they begin to realize what we as adults have known for a while – we are tiny.
So it’s a matter of perspective. To an ant, a mouse looks big. But to a lion, a mouse is a tiny morsel – barely an amuse-bouche, if you will. If you are feeling down and unimportant, help someone in need or look to a child to realize that you are important. If you are full of yourself, look to the sky to understand that everything you ever accomplish or earn will amount to nothing in comparison to the universe.