Enormously Significant in our Insignificance

Moored Boats, photo by Drew Vics

There is an intriguing image floating around the world wide web. It illustrates our incredible insignificance in the cosmic scheme of things; how really small and relatively unimportant we humans are on a cosmic scale, compared to the vastness of space, with its 100 billion galaxies, 100 billion star systems, 8 planets, and 7 billion people on the planet Earth.

It’s interesting, and relatively true, but we can look at human existence in another, more inspiring way.

you are enormously insignificant image

We can say that we are insignificant, compared to the nearly incomprehensible universe, the vastness of space and time, but in our insignificance, aren’t we rather incredibly significant?

Right now, as far as we know, we are the only intelligent creatures that can accurately comprehend that notion. Out of the hundreds of billion galaxies mentioned in the image (maybe closer to 500 billion according to a German super-computer simulation), and hundreds of billion star systems, and our 8 planets plus the 2,321 Kepler planet candidates we’ve found so far, the planet Earth is host to a species that has evolved the ability to think, rationalize, explore, examine and understand. That’s cool.

Carl Sagan said, “we are a way for the universe to know itself.” From that perspective I think we humans are unique, and rare in this universe.