Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Putting it all in proportion

OK, OK, all this fuss I'm making over where I fit into memories and then I read this* ... it's a statement by Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and Professor of cosmology and astrophysics at Cambridge when asked what single idea he wished was more generally understood:

I'd like to widen people's awareness of the tremendous timespan lying ahead - for our planet and for life itself. Most educated people are aware that we're the outcome of nearly 4bn years of Darwinian selection, but many tend to think that humans are somehow the culmination. Our sun, however, is less than halfway through its lifespan. It will not be humans who watch the sun's demise, 6bn years from now. Any creatures that then exist will be as different from us as we are from bacteria or amoebae.

I'm strangely comforted. And surprised because, yes, of course this is true. We really aren't that important.

*Also in Julian Barnes's Nothing to Be Frightened Of. I've been a bit obsessed by this book recently, to the extent that when I looked at my blog the other day to answer a comment, I clicked off thinking I'd got on to Julian Barnes's blog by mistake. It was the fact I put up a larger picture of him than me, I suppose. Mind you, at least I'm not like the ever-watchful Debi Alper who flagged her own blog up for objectionable content by mistake. Thats still making me laugh.

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