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Putting things into perspective

At times I like to remind myself that we are floating on a space rock in a universe so vast as to be functionally infinite,

where time in either direction stretches so far past the limit of human comprehension it’s almost laughable,

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Where the notion of time itself breaks down the further one travels from the known,

Where the fundamental building blocks of our universe are called into question,

Where the vast majority of speculated matter in the universe is completely unaccounted for, a mystery to which we can currently only hypothesize on,

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A universe where there are black holes with the mass of a billion suns,

Event horizons past which light itself cannot escape,

A universe where on the cosmic scale our life-giving star is a grain of sand compared to an ocean,

A universe where our solar system is but one of tens or even hundreds of billions in our galaxy,

A galaxy whose siblings potentially number in the trillions,

Each one among these trillions so vast as to take light hundreds of thousands of years to travel from one end to the next,

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The distance between any of these galaxies an order of magnitude greater still, so far apart that billions of years could pass by before light could make the journey across the void,

A universe that is at once both standing still and sprinting, all dependent upon the scale chosen,

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A universe where all of this has gone on—and will continue to do so—with or without a single one of us.

Where even this unfathomable universe may just be one thin thread of a massive tapestry, intertwined with a billion times a billion more,

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And even from the safety of our backyards—as we wait out a virus running through our communities, watch an economy tank—we can stare up into the night sky and view visions of the past play out on a million different stages. A past that predates the very existence of humanity.

Illustration for article titled Putting things into perspective

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