I can’t really say it better than this, which leaves me in a bind.
My instinct is just to repeat that notion. We are all made up of the same matter as everything else. Forged in stars, the universe is us. We are stardust.
There is an incomprehensible vastness all around us, and it doesn’t have to make us feel tiny and insignificant, because we are connected to it. If you are looking for power and influence, maybe that’s a trickier conceit, but if you are willing to be part of something immense, then you already are.
The universe is a dancing mass. A huge song, or perhaps just one verse. The elements and particles and structures and explosions are cascading around each other. We are spinning on a ball, rotating around a sphere, on a swirling arm of galaxy, that’s dancing through the infinite sky. In every direction, there is more stuff than we can ever hope to see.
Looking intently with the hubble telescope at a ‘blank’ spot in the sky, a spot that could be covered by a 1mm by 1mm square piece of paper held a meter away from your face, you see this.
Those are galaxies, and clusters of galxies. 10,000 galaxies or thereabouts. In every squared millimetre.
The most astounding thing about the universe is how incomprehensibly large it is. Some of it is so many light years out, that it is utterly impossible to see them. Further away than any light has traveled since the beginning of time.
The most astounding fact about the universe is that we are in it, we are part of it, and that part is us.
I exist. I am here. Out of this roiling cauldron of chemicals was born a planet, with a star, that saturated in liquid. From the liquid, grew patterns, which grew life, another birthing explosion. Life expanded and evolved and filled up and got stranger and stranger and more incredible until eventually I, and everyone else around, became.
Technically, given the right kind of knowledge, this scattering of atoms I call my self, could be traced back directly to the birth of the universe. All of the basic parts were already in place. I am as old as time, at least in my matter.
Sure it’s been through changes, but haven’t we all?
And that’s a wonder in itself. This universe is nothing but change. Everything constantly exploding and collapsing and contracting and expanding. Yet everything in it, has always been in it. The things that make us different are always changing and transmuting and dying and being born. No structure can last forever, everything must go.
But, the things that join us all together, have been here forever. That eternal matter that binds us all together, its a simple scientific fact. The conservation of matter and energy.
The most astounding thing is that we share this universe.
This universe is nothing but astonishment.
We dance through it. Sometimes we glance upwards.
Illustration by Emma