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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Not-So-Small Slice of Humility for Humanity

by Charles Harmison (writer), Kauai, Hawaii, November 03, 2006

Credit:

Lately I have found myself angry and unsettled almost every evening and I spend most nights sleepless reading the news reports from one bias to another attempting to gather the whole picture. I am finding myself ill and unable to figure out why until last night; I reached a boiling point. I went surfing the internet doing my best to avoid thinking about politics and dirty campaigning when I stumbled across this picture.

What you are looking at, although this small image does nothing to show its grandeur and I recommend finding a larger one if you have a second, is the Hubble Ultra Deep Field or HUDF. It is called the single most important and greatest image that humankind has ever looked upon, ever. The image required 400 Hubble orbits around the Earth taken over 11.3 days between Sept. 24, 2003 and Jan. 16, 2004.

This photo is of 78 billion light years about the width of looking through a straw at the night sky and represents the furthest that we have looked into our universe. The dots and smudges that you see are not stars but actually entire galaxies about 10 thousand of which each containing millions of stars apiece. This number is what exists in the space of a pencil eraser and it would take hundreds of thousands more to fill the entire sky that wraps around us.

At the same time as this picture was taken California elected the Governator, the Cubs lost the World Series, and Saddam Hussein was captured by Coalition forces. For many, these three events were the most important things to occur and their entire lives were tipped upside down by them. However, were they really as important as the reporters of them made us believe?

In this relatively unremarkable galaxy on an outer rim sits a small star and on that star's third planet exists a civilization which thinks of itself as the most important occurrence in all of these tens of thousands of millions of stars.

These delusions of grandeur are brought to our thoughts by news media, religious groups, and various other special interests who are paid to instill in us the idea that our lives are based upon what happens in the polling booth, or on the sports field, or in a hole in the dirt. They convince us over and over that our lives will change dramatically for better or worse based upon the box you mark. They instill in us that the pressure to decide correctly is more important than any other.

If your like me and you find yourself becoming bogged down by all this rhetoric and campaigning and candidate backstabbing just think to yourself about how little it all matters to the blips of light in this picture. Close your eyes. Hold this image in your mind and consider its significance. Meditate for a moment and breathe deeply in and out . . . in and out . . . in and out.

Now vote.


About the Writer

Charles Harmison is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on A Not-So-Small Slice of Humility for Humanity

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By adchla on November 03, 2006 at 04:13 pm
This is a great piece of written "thought"..... IF only ALL of us on this portion of the universe could "file" this into our grey matter and keep focusing on it,so that when we become a mite "upsidedown" about whatever, we can remember these words/thoughts....again GREAT words!
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By V on December 04, 2006 at 02:22 am
In my newly found American words, "Right on!"
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By Kay C on May 07, 2007 at 01:15 am
Awesome image. Thanks for the reminder!
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By Kamilia88 on May 30, 2014 at 06:43 am

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By Fabina88 on June 03, 2014 at 03:55 am

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