Cosmic Perspective

Sometimes, when we become a bit too self-focused, it’s easy to feel like every decision we make or every path we choose takes on huge significance. It can feel like if we go the wrong way that we can banish ourselves to a failed existence. This can be terribly anxiety inducing, the pressure to get it right. It’s at these moments that I like to remind myself of my cosmic insignificance, the magnitude of the universe, the length of time life has existed on earth, our cosmic place. That’s not to say we don’t matter. We are incredibly important to our loved ones and we can make incredible positive change in our circle of friends and families. It’s also not to say that we shouldn’t aim to make ourselves happy. I feel like we have a responsibility as the survivor in a long line of evolutionary experiments to make the most of our time, but equally no matter how badly we screw up, all things pass and most of us will have another chance to rectify our mistakes. That’s why I love fossils. They are physical reminders of our vast history. Ammonites are sea creatures from the Jurassic and Cretaceous period, 201 to 66 million years ago. I am still awe struck by this fact, in the same way I was when I first heard it as a child. The civilisations we tend to label ancient like the Egyptians existed around 5000 years ago. You could multiply the time between now and the Ancient Egyptians by 13200 and you would still only just be at the point where Ammonites and Dinosaurs were dying out. Equally mind-boggling is the sheer size of our universe at 93 billion light years. That means that a photon of light travelling at roughly 299,792,458 metres per second would take 93 billion years to travel the length of the universe. Let that sink in for a minute and tell me that that the stupid thing you said back in 2005 still matters. Ultimately we have a responsibility to ourselves to be the best version of ourselves we can but to me that comes with the acknowledgement that we are all flawed, all have vices either realised or un-realised and all have moments where we wish we’d of behaved differently. For me cosmic perspective allows us to take ourselves a little less seriously and recognise both our failures and achievements as the speck in human history that they are.

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