Your reality has a great deal to do with where you are looking.
I read something recently that really made me think. If you lived on the sunshine side of a tidal locked planet (one in which one side of its sphere always faces the body it orbits around), over the generations you might completely lose sight of the fact that there’s a universe out there, because you’d never see the stars.
How tragic that would be. For centuries, Man has been looking skyward and wondering what is out there. We imagine constellations of stars as being part of a group even though they are nowhere near each other. We give them names. We wonder if we are alone.
Personally, I find it extremely comforting that there’s something so much larger than myself that it practically renders me insignificant. It makes me feel that any concerns I may be having are insignificant, too.
There is so much beauty in the night sky. It calms me. It embraces me. I’d hate to lose that sense of awe.
Our moon is tidally locked to us, which is why we always see the same face. But we are not tidally locked to it, nor is it tidally locked to the sun, which is why we see different phases of it as it continues to face us. If you lived on the far side of the moon, you wouldn’t know earth existed. That’s a profound view of reality, because the earth is comparatively huge, and would be rather hard to ignore in other circumstances.
Tidal locking would mean you’d only get to see one version of reality. And over time that reality would be reinforced to such a degree that it would be hard to leave room for any other beliefs. (In fact, one’s very concept of the passage of time would probably be so different that it might render one incapable of imagination.)
It just goes to show that your reality has a great deal to do with where you are looking. That’s why I love to travel so much. I think it’s important to experience other points of view. And by that I don’t just mean the opinions of others. I mean the points from which I get to view the world and the heavens.
I hope you take time to look about you, dear reader. There are many things to see. And those sights will enhance your connection to the universe.
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What a cruel job to saddle someone with.
I saw a sign the other day that nearly made me drive off the road. It was in front of a church. (Yup. Buckle up.) It said:
“Did the LORD wake you up this morning? No? Who rotates earth?”
Oh, where to begin.
First of all, I instantly got this image of the sign creator gleefully looking at his work and saying, “Yes! Finally! Proof that God exists that NO ONE can argue with!!!!”
I weep for humanity.
To be absolutely clear, this blog post is not about whether or not God exists. I’m not going there. I have a cold, and that’s much too meaty a topic for me to dig into at the moment.
No. This post is about the ignorance of Man and the stupidity, in particular, of this sign.
In the Trump era, I’m kinda getting used to people taking absurd leaps in logic. Mostly I just shake my head sadly and move on. But to ask who’s spinning the planet, you must first believe that in order for the planet to spin, some entity or other must be spinning it.
To that, I can only respond, “Kindly get your head out of the stone age and join the rest of us in 2019.” Anyone with a passing concept of the laws of physics knows that there’s no one sitting at a gigantic pottery wheel in the sky, tediously spinning, spinning, spinning our world for us. If that were necessary, it would be a horribly cruel job to saddle someone with. It sounds more like a task to give someone who is residing in hell.
That there are people out there who have never taken physics or learned of gravity or heard of Copernicus doesn’t surprise me overmuch. (Saddens me, yes, surprises me, no.) But in order to take this sign seriously, you have to believe in witchcraft. Your society would have to be at the developmental stage where you think that you must provide a blood sacrifice in order to make the sun rise each day. You’d have to wear bones in your nose and club your women and drag them into your cave.
If your spiritual belief includes a higher power, I hope that he, she, or it is sophisticated enough to not be wasting time on the minutiae. Because there’s a lot of work to do up in this mo’ fo’. There’s no time for dilly dallying.
I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.
In keeping with my tradition of being several years behind the times, I just saw a really fascinating movie from 2011 entitled Another Earth. It was a romance. It was a drama. It was science fiction. It was a surprise.
It included three story lines, any of which would have made an excellent stand-alone movie, and they had very little to do with one another, but somehow that still worked. There was a romance that was intertwined with an extreme tragedy. There was a subtle little story about the suffering of an old janitor that I dearly wish they had expanded upon. And then there was the sci fi/philosophical element which fascinated me, and which I want to talk more about.
Spoiler alert. This particular story line was about discovering that there was another planet, capable of supporting life, on the opposite side of the sun. For some reason, our orbits finally misaligned enough so that that planet could actually be seen by us. For years we observed it, but it was too far away to make contact. But the closer it got, the more obvious it was that this planet was, indeed, occupied.
Finally, the planet was close enough to make radio contact, and this is when it gets truly weird. A scientist from SETI makes first contact. And the person on the other end speaks English. And that person has her same name. And her same birthdate. And her same childhood memories.
So now everyone is faced with the concept that each person has another “you” out there on this other planet. If you met your other “you”, what would you say to that person? What would you ask?
And then it is theorized that the moment these two planets caught sight of each other, the synchronicity was broken. We stopped living identical lives, and started off on paths all our own. When you turned left, your doppelganger may have turned right. So now there’s no way of knowing what that place is like anymore. It’s no longer comforting and predictable. It’s actually a tiny bit scary.
And then, as is the wont of millionaires, one decides to create a space program so that a ship could visit this other planet. And he holds a contest so that someone can go along for free. Would you enter that contest? Would you want to go? Would you want to know? Would it be a big do-over for you? Or would it be a do exactly the same? Or a do much, much better or worse?
What would you do if you came face to face with yourself?
If you were expecting me to answer any of the above questions, sorry. I got nothin’. But it’s something I’ll be thinking about for a long time.
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