My passion for reading is second only to my love of writing. I have recently begun reading a book that explains the intricacies of astronomy for those who have never studied the science. I was intrigued by one passage that sought to exemplify the magnitude and vastness of our universe. If you took all of the stars in the cosmos and divided them equally amongst all the inhabitants of Earth; we would each have 1.5 trillion stars! How is that for creating a sense of our own insignificance?
Setting aside the thought that we are but a grain of sand in the great beach called space; I turned inwards towards our own small rotating orb. We are a planet of some six billion people. The majority of us go through life within our own tiny little cosmic system. We have a limited number of friends, family, and acquaintances. Most of us are more than satisfied with the solar system we have created. We are each a sun, orbited by familiar planets who in turn have their own satellites orbiting them. We interact with other solar systems in the form of new people who we meet. After enough time and effort, we are linked with a multitude of other solar system owners and become part of a galaxy.
But the universe is filled with a near infinite number of galaxies. Are we each reaching out to those other galaxies? Are we even remotely interested in doing so? These foreign galaxies are groups of people who have banded together to form their own stellar systems. Those outside galaxies can exist perpetually without ever making contact with you; just as your galaxy can merrily go about its natural course, complacent in its own existence.
There are 960 waking minutes in your life each day, assuming you get the recommended eight hours of sleep nightly. If you took one half percent of that alloted time, you would end up with a number just shy of five minutes. Now imagine if you devoted that small fraction of your precious day to reaching out to other people’s galaxies.
It would be a risky venture, filled with the perils of the unknown that comes with space exploration. You might encounter horrible experiences as you made your intergalactic journey. Then again, your efforts might be rewarded with the joy of making new friends and connecting with your fellow members of the human fraternity!
Going back to your newly allocated five minutes per day; that translates to perhaps touching five previously unknown people in a day. You could accomplish this all within a single time period, or you could split up your five-minute ration. Over the course of a year, your efforts would touch some 1,800 individuals. In an average adult lifetime of fifty years, 90,000 new people would be welcomed into your galaxy.
For the sake of mathematical simplicity; let’s round the number of new people who you touch over your adult years to 100,000. Remember the 1.5 trillion stars that the universe was holding you responsible for? In comparison, touching 100,000 lives in fifty years is 0.000007% of the work required to touch 1.5 trillion stars! Suddenly, reaching out to all those other galaxies formed by your fellow man seems rather insignificant!
Some say that our pursuit of space exploration is pointless and a vast waste of precious resources that could be put to better use. In a world where each of us is our own unique solar system, where we form galaxies with those we already know; it is imperative that we reach out into the unknown voids of the human universe. The rewards to be found in those other far off people’s galaxies are too precious to ignore!
Now if you will please buckle yourself in, we are ready to go. 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .