“To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold–brothers who know now that they are truly brothers.” – A. MacLeish
I need to go to space.
The world is such a massive place, full of literally everything there is to do in the world. Everything we know is here on Earth, every existence, every action, every idea we’ve heard of. Then I’m reading Beetle Bailey today, and old dummy Zero asks the question of what space means. Is it the space between everything, or is it the distant stars?
Now, I have experienced a vast nothingness. I went to school in Illinois and vistas of nothing but cornfields were never far off. I drove from Minnesota to California, and I haven’t seen such nothing as is in Nebraska, or Utah. But even in this nothingness, there’s stuff. There’s dirt, sand, in Utah’s case, salt. Obviously corn in the corn fields. But there’s never nothing, like there is in space. I want, I need to experience this nothingness, an empty void where all that surrounds is a cold, dark vacuum. Emptiness, the true emptiness that smells strong, metallic, and unique, according to astronauts. And who doesn’t believe astronauts?
I’ve always had a place in my heart for space travel. That sounds a little weird, because who wouldn’t like to go into outer space? But even as a kid when Star Wars enraptured me I would look to the heavens and wonder. Not about anything in particular, you understand, just wonder. Let the mind travel to wherever it wanted, even to the stars. Looking at these points of light and realizing they were the same thing as the sun that was so bright during the day, sometimes even bigger and brighter. As a young’un this was incredible. When someone told me that the light we see from stars is thousands of years old, that if you were in that stars’ solar system you would see Roman centurions and whatnot, I was floored. That was incredible to me. That meant that even if I had a telescope to look that far, I would be seeing the past! That opened up whole new avenues of thought into time travel, but that’s a story for another day.
The picture entitled Earthrise (it’s at the top of this post), taken by some astronaut whose name you could find out if you were less lazy than I, is to me one of the most thought provoking pictures ever taken. Maybe not even thought provoking as contemplation provoking. Someone once said that the unexamined life is a life not worth living, and a picture like that, to me, forces a look at oneself. We all have a sense of self worth, whether high or low (personally, I feel like I’m worth my weight in gold, which equals out to $3.6 million, from my last weigh in) but a picture like that just makes you think about existence. If the light from other stars is thousands of years old, that means that all you’re looking at is dead light, and if you see another life form, you have no idea if they’re still there. It’s just a dead image. That means that if they see Earth with a telescope, they’d either see the centurions, or, if they see you they see you dead 1000 years. I don’t mean to be morbid, but more just that images of Earth as this little rock, the Blue Marble photo, things like that just make you realize how big it all is, and how small you are. Seriously, the earth is 3.6 billion years old, the sun almost 6 billion or something, and we’re around for about 80 years if we’re lucky to live in the US or whatever. What does that mean, what do we mean, in the scheme of things?
I’m not going to sit here and say go crazy, life doesn’t matter, but I don’t think I can agree with taking life as seriously as some do. I mean really, we are only here for a little while when it gets down to it, so doesn’t it seem like there’s no room for getting all worked up over bullshit. There’s things that matter, sure, like nuclear war or global warming, things that impact future life on Earth that could impact eventual growth into space. But the bullshit? Nah, man, that’s nothing to get pissed about, that’s something to have fun with. Although I wouldn’t suggest actually finding bull feces and playing with it, that sounds unsanitary.
Earth is a big small place, just as a peanut M&M Is salty-sweet. Best of both sides I guess. We have room to look around, explore, but it’s like a big ol’ play pen before we break out into the universe. And we weren’t allowed to fight or be mean in kindergarten, it wasn’t copacetic. So what’s the deal with doing it to other countries? Anti-war, etc. Space is big, and we need to get there. So do I. I’m out of words. Good luck.