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The Significance of Man

18 Dec 2006 on musing

Every now and then digg will feature videos like this comparing the size of the Earth with some humongous stars out there in the galaxies...

And every time I see this kind of things, it makes me think we are really so so tiny in the ultimate face of the universe, and yet we always fight about our differences and pieces of land in this tiny Earth. Man is insignificant. Nothing.

But today, I felt different somehow. You know these giant balls of mass out there... it made me think that some how I’m more significant than them. Even though I won't live for 100,000 years like some of the giant stars, even though I don't occupy such a huge space of a million km of radius, Man is significant. We try to understand a neutron of 1 um to stars of million km of radius. We try to understand to what happened 15 billion back to project a time a billion years later. We try to understand emotions like pain, laughter and even the concepts of time and life.

I'm an optimist for humanity. I think Man tries to understand something we can probably never totally understand. This quest for knowledge is significant to me. Why do  we even bother to learn when we know in the end nothing will remain forever. We'll die, earth will perish and even the Universe. But we still do even though we know that our existence as a humanity is undeniably not eternal. Nothing is eternal. Trying to conquer something so eternal makes an insignificant Man… a significant one.

I remember in primary school we learnt 7 characteristics of Living things…

Well, being a man we can add one more - intelligence. I’m glad that this bunch of non-living atoms of carbon and hydrogen have some how coagulated to form a living intelligent me in some miraculous procedure called life. I'm glad to be living... to live a miniscule amount of time and yet understand and feel a tiny bit of what’s so unconceivable out there around me.

Do you think that is why man is born - to convert every non-living mass in this universe to something living, so that it somehow justifies their existence? Remember the phrase We are made of Star Dust? I really dunno. But whoever and wherever You are… Thank you for transforming this bunch of atoms to be a living me. 

It’s so powerful to be a living thing.

I a universe of atoms - an atom in the universe - Richard Feynman