This image was linked on popular “internetting websticle site” Reddit yesterday, meaning I saw it as a result of that link. I shared it myself, as if me showing it to an extra hundred or so people makes much difference when 60 million have already seen it but hey. It had to be shared, because look at it. It literally left me sitting there, mouth agape, staring for minutes. It’s an incredible image.
And it’s one of those grand perspective-formers you get, like Sagan’s pale blue dot speech. It puts you in your place and reminds you that, for all your self-important grandstanding, for all the things that ‘matter’, for all the fears that hold you back, all the joys that push you forward – for all the everything you or anybody else is or ever will be, none of it means shit.
I’m not even being my usual ‘kill yourself, you’re pointless’ kind of twit today. I just think it’s nice to be reminded every now and then that everything on this planet is totally irrelevant, whether it’s done, not done, thought about, enacted, forced on, forced off and for whatever reason, belief, theory or act of thoughtlessness that backs it up. None of it matters, at all.
It’s overwhelming in part, liberating in another. Rather than just being a stark reminder that you are oh-so-little and matter even less, it’s a free pass. The vastness of our planet is nothing in comparison to other, nearby planets. Nothing compared to the Sun. To the galaxy. To other galaxies. To the universe. Irrelevant little ants milling about pretending anything they do matters and with the terrifying certainty of true believers, no less.
The word ‘importance’ loses all meaning and all concept of what it could possibly mean when simply faced with an image like that one above, and humanity as a whole is reduced to nothing more than a curio – a footnote at best in the annals of the universe and its history. A brief, vague distraction that will be forgotten about as soon as it’s gone, no matter how improbable that might seem to the people themselves.
But even with this free pass; this lack of importance in the grand scheme of things, I still need to leave the house and buy bread. The universe is a cruel and unforgiving mistress.