Cosmology Gives Me Comfort
When I study the work of cosmologists and learn more and more about the origins and fate of this universe I am comforted. Just as religion may bring comfort to a person of faith I find a deep stillness and calm within the laws of physics and science.
There are stars that are reaching the end of their lives. These stars will implode and then explode. These explosions will then result in a gamma ray burst, and if one of these bursts hits our planet we will all be no more. Not only would we cease to be, but it would be a global extinction event that would wipe out almost all of the life on this planet perhaps leaving intact only the simplest organisms in the depths of the oceans and cavernous regions of the world.
The fact that it is possible for a cosmic event to destroy everything that I love and know might not seem like something that should comfort me, but it does for two reasons:
- Facts like this one remind me that my problems are insignificant compared to the potential power of the universe.
- It was at least one gamma ray burst that created all of the atoms that make up my very being and that of everything else that I have ever known.
This to me is peaceful. It shows me a cycle of both creation and entropy without needing the lie of a mythos to sell itself with. It connects me to both my fellow man and nature, while also connecting me to the countless other planets, stars, and cosmic phenomenon that constitute reality.
Having this knowledge does not paint a bleak picture for me, but instead puts everything into perspective. I am a speck in the universe, but this speck was created by unfathomable forces that put all that I have experienced to shame.
The next time that you look to the night sky and see the plentiful stars of the heavens I hope that you too find peace and solace in their presence. For you and I are the same in how we came to be, and yet we are all still unique representations of the power of the universe. Take comfort in that.