Ease with uncertainty using the cosmic scale

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”

The Call of Cthulhu – H.P. Lovecraft

As you read this, sitting on your chair, sipping on your coffee, you are hurling through a dark, cold and incomprehensibly vast space on a gigantic ball of dirt which is rotating around our sun at 30 km/second. Us and our neighboring galaxies are rushing at 1,000km/second towards a structure we call the great attractor, with a mass of 100 quadrillion times that of our Sun and 150 million light-years away.

You are not an individual. The visible universe is composed of 1080 atoms. You are composed of 1027 of these same atoms, 99% of which form hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. These atoms that compose you, group in molecules, which group in cells, which create you. These cells are living and performing tasks like digesting your food, transporting endorphins to make you happy, or killing other beings which are inside your body so you don’t get sick.

Check out below, a kinesin protein which is walking around inside one of your cells right now, transporting some vesicles to keep the cell working.

kinesin

The universe has existed for over 14 billion years, and will exist for many billion years to come. If we compare the age of the universe to one calendar year, on the first of January we would have had the big bang, around September the solar system would have formed. Dinosaurs would have become extinct on 29th of December, and Jesus Christ would have been born on the 31st of December 5 seconds before midnight. Columbus would have reached the Americas 1.2 seconds before midnight. Your whole life, with all your trials and tribulations will have gone by in less than 0.23 cosmic seconds.

Think about this when you are worried about your performance review or your project getting delayed.

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