In my recent travelling up to Canada and back, I sometimes slept out under the stars and, as always in such circumstances, I was stuck once again by the magnificence of the starry night and in utter awe at the scale of the universe. All the more impressed I am when I read in Parting the Cosmic Veil that modern astronomy has established that our visible universe is but a tiny fraction of the Cosmos out there. And thus, how insignificant we can feel in our own little troubled lives centered on our own personal concerns.And when we combine this with our basic make-up arising out of evolutionary biology, with our drives and psychological aspirations, how humble we can become. I keep swatting mosquitoes and flicking off ants that crawl up my feet with impunity, without fully realizing how analogous my own situation is in terms of life, just on another scale.
Time and space and scale are the interrelated frameworks of our existence and travelling upon their dimensions offers much in the way of cosmic speculation. Combining that with human frailty and aspiration fill out the picture that leads to a modest stoic and taoic perspective that puts my personal life in perspective. The meaningfulness derived from our local relationships, intertwined as we are with the lives of others close and dear, does not overshadow, as it usually does, the setting of operation within which we live.
Is this a proper balance? Who is to know? One’s personal history, and I judge that I have had a marvelous one, by my standards at least, provides us with a certain direction in our thinking. I feel gratified that I will be leaving this pleasant life and this wondrous cosmos after having spent some good time in them. Not that my departure is imminent, just forewarned.
It is finding the right perspective that is the challenge to it all. I believe I have succeeded in finding a good one to fly by in my thinking and decision-making. One that is appropriate to me. One that can hopefully be shared with you over time and understood for what it is.