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My odd perspective on myself and the universe posted 13 Aug 2004, 02:08 by Grantaire, Moderator

Now, I'm not exactly the most typical guy ever, so I don't exactly know the worldview of most people. But for a random tangent I felt like writing about how I view myself and the universe (please forgive the total randomness and lack of organization :wink: ). Humans. We are (somewhat) intelligent species of macromolecule life living on the surface of a ball of rock orbiting in the cosmos around a medium sized orb of fire and nuclear reactions, in the outer arm of an average galaxy, in a cluster of galaxies, in an unknown position relative the the unimaginably huge universe. Our day to day life is filled with what we view as the ordinary- driving cars, working at whatever our job may be, using computers, going to school, etc. And yet, are the simple things of life that we are so used to, and even consider trite, are they not unbelievably wonderous? Against that foreground on life in which we do what we find to be normal- courting and dating, playing sports, and so much more, should we not find ourselves in constant incredulity and joyful wonder at this very existance? Each day the scientists of humanity discover more and more about the universe around us, from the scale of galaxies to the shadowy realm of the msot fundamental particles. There is so much randomness and uncertainty in the universe, what are the odds that the universe would form in such a way that our solar system would develop in a way that earth would come together in such a way that would facilitate the development of life, and eventually us. Sometimes when I read various passages of science books, I shiver in awe at this, and I feel so insignificant before the mighty expanses of the the foreground of life, I'm a teenage guy who likes reading and music and all that...but in the background that we don't look at all too often, I'm simply an arrangement of billions of atoms in such a way that another creature called a human exists. I gaze up at the stars at night, feeling not only awe at my and their existance, but also feeling like my life doesn't truly matter in the grand scheme of things, the entire existance of humanity is less than the blink of an eye to the universe, and my life even less time than that. My birth, time on earth, and death will have no impact on the grand majesty of the cosmos. And yet I am here to think and to marvel at that. At one moment I am just one person among billions, an ant on this rock, marching out the path of my day with the occurances we view with so much importance, getting good grades, getting a date, and so forth. And yet at another, I am alone in the universe, a spectre haunting the depths of knowledge and the universe. Wow..that turned out different than I expected. I don't think I even got my point across, but it turned out decent :wink: view post

posted 13 Aug 2004, 10:08 by Replay, Auditor

Nice post. And it is amazing how easy it to miss just how wonderous this world/universe/life can be when you are constantly occupying yourself with other things, and don't take the time out to just sit still for a moment and pay attention. But perhaps to some extent it is kind of defense mechanism - that if that wasn't a slight barrier between all that we could take in, all that beauty the world has to offer, we wouldn't get anything else done (and who knows, perhaps that is the problem with some autistic people). view post

posted 13 Aug 2004, 14:08 by FuraxVZ, Candidate

Nice post, Gran. I would have to agree with you. To tie it into TDtCB, it's like Kellhus when he first enters the 'real' world; he stares at a leaf and is lost completely in it. Life is awe inspiring. view post

posted 13 Aug 2004, 17:08 by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

Life is wondrous is you manage to keep curious about things. The trouble is too many are getting caught up in the minor mundane to stay wondering at things as a whole. The world needs to look more and ask questions rather than just stay occupied with the small things. If we think big we get bigger, we understand more. I half wonder if this is why we dont seem to have developed as much over recent time when you consider the mass leap forward that was made during the industrial revolution. Medicine as well doesnt seem to have made any massive leaps forward for the last 40+ years. Still just my opinnion. I just dont understand why robotic limbs arent available for people, they seem like one of the simplest things to build and if they can get images (however primitive they are currently) through to the human mind, why cant it be adapted to a limb. view post

posted 13 Aug 2004, 22:08 by Grantaire, Moderator

Ok, yes, my first point was about the overlooked wonder of life and the universe, but I had another point too (although I didn't really say a lot about it). It's that when you look at the universe, you can't help but feel puny and insignificant, and question why we have to make life so complex, have our petty conflicts, when our existance doesn't so much as make the slightest mar on the face of the universe. view post

posted 13 Aug 2004, 23:08 by Grantaire, Moderator

Replay, could it not be argued though that we don't really need to *get anything done*, if we aren't focusing on the petty differences, the conflicts, the luxuries of life? view post

posted 14 Aug 2004, 11:08 by Replay, Auditor

Perhaps. And whilst those certainly aren't important or needed, there are still things such as eating, making sure you have a safe place to rest, or the many other simple things that make up life such as being able to communicate with others to share ideas. The reason I mentioned autistic people is that, with some of them, the problem is that they see to much. Their senses get so overloaded with everything that is going on around them that they have little room left in their conciousness to do those things that we take for granted. The only thing I wonder about though, is whether some of them are actually enjoy life more than most. view post

posted 14 Aug 2004, 15:08 by Grantaire, Moderator

Yes, one certainly has to wonder what that different perspective brings to ones would be interesting, to say the very least. view post

posted 14 Aug 2004, 15:08 by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

Another argument that could be made with autistic people is that thier life is restricted in so many ways that the senses that they do possess become magnified, ie some are artists that create wonderous pieces of work, others are brilliant at mathmatical problems. I dont doubt that others have gifts in other areas but perhaps at times it would be better to look at the world through thier eyes in order to see the wonders to behold of everyday life. view post

posted 20 Aug 2004, 06:08 by Orion_metalhead, Auditor

i once heard that the chance of there being life on another planet was about the same as someone winning the lottery all for themself. my grandpa won the lottery with four other people. im pretty sure there are more stars in the darkness of night than there are people on this earth. With that in mind i made an educated guess that there are other planets out there. able to support life. are humans the only people out there? no of course not. if its true that extraterestials helps moses find his way through the desert and presented him with the arc of the covenant - which i find myself believing for some reason as it makes perfect sense - then at that time they had far superior technology than we have even now. they most surely have become more technologically progressed as have we so the still are able to do things we can not. UFO's may be able to come here and then go back to thier own world in a blink of a second. what the hell am i talking about... view post

posted 20 Aug 2004, 20:08 by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

Odds of having life on another planet I think are grossly understated. After all if you look at all the stars out there that are sun's means that there have to be planets and there should be some that capable of sustaining life. To think that this is the only planet that has life on it is ridiculous after all if the big bang theory is right there will be some planets that have a similar make up to ours. I think that it was worked out at some point and came out with a number in excess of 100 million planets capable of life. view post

posted 20 Aug 2004, 22:08 by legatus, Auditor

With the number of factors that are likely required to allow for the emergence of life, I'm of the opinion that the percentage of planets capable of supporting life is abysmally small; but even an abysmally small percent of the enormous number of planets that exist in the universe is likely to be fairly vast. Chances are good that there's life out there, in my opinion. The chances of the conditions on those select planets being consistently favourable for the continued evolution of highly complex, intelligent life, on the other hand, is likely greatly diminished. I imagine if we ever manage to embark on deep space exploration missions, we'll have to remain satisfied with the discovery of planets with only the most basic, rudimentary life for a long time before finding anything nearing the complexity of life on Earth. And less likely still than those lush, highly evolved worlds will be species that managed to advance to the point of space exploration without wiping themselves out in the process. Not unlikely, certainly, but the chances are likely remote enough that I'm not particularly confident that there'll be one nearby enough for us to encounter them even if we continue advancing at our current pace. In this part of the galaxy at least, I figure the most advanced life we'll find on any giving planet will be the life we put there ourselves. At the very least, however, the way in which that seeded intelligent life evolves compared to those of us left behind on Earth should prove interesting. And maybe the distant relatives of one of those Earth born species will survive long enough to encounter the first independently evolved, space faring species of intelligent life. I wonder if I ever had a point in mind with all this... if so, I suppose it would be this: life is out there almost certainly, although its direct relevance and importance with regards to us will likely be mitigated by its relative scarcity within the vastness of space. The mere notion of the likelihood its existence portends a certain abstract, intellectual significance mind you, but I suspect we'll continue to be the same self-important, egocentric species we've always been regardless ;) view post

posted 22 Aug 2004, 02:08 by Orion_metalhead, Auditor

[quote="drosdelnoch":3d3mto29]Another argument that could be made with autistic people is that thier life is restricted in so many ways that the senses that they do possess become magnified, ie some are artists that create wonderous pieces of work, others are brilliant at mathmatical problems. I dont doubt that others have gifts in other areas but perhaps at times it would be better to look at the world through thier eyes in order to see the wonders to behold of everyday life.[/quote:3d3mto29] like that guy in the movie "Cube" who is insane at doing complex math but doesnt know anything else about anything at all. view post


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