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eworks's picture

Little-ness

Tu-Anh Vu's post said some things that were eerily similar to some of my own recent thoughts, like, "The relative time we spent on Earth is small compared with the explosion of the universe." I mean, it's incredible when you really sit down and think about how small each of us is in the scheme of things. I often find myself feeling a little bit sad and low after completing the readings for this class. Some of the statistics that Professor Grobstein included in his lecture last Tuesday got me feeling even more tiny - like the fact that human history has only existed for about 300 human generations, whereas the galaxy has existed without us for something like 3,000 human generations. So here we are in our class, 1 or 2 human generations in a room, and we're nothing more than a brief flash in everything that makes up the history of our world. It's a sobering thought when you look around at all of the "big" things we worry about and you realize that in about 10 human generations our actions will have a small impact on the world that they live in.

I want to say that when looking at things from an evolutionary perspective that maybe we do have an impact. To me, evolution seems to be an accumulation of successful characteristics and traits that are passed down slowly from one generation to the next, being slightly tweaked here and there. Some characteristics get eliminated along the way, others are created, and in the end you find yourself looking at something far different from its original form. Maybe in an odd way then evolution helps me to be optimistic about my "point" here on Earth, and helps me to think that somewhere in my DNA is a tiny little trait that will make a difference for my children, grandchildren, or great-great-great-great grandchildren. I can't be certain, but it's the best I can do to prevent myself from being overwhelmed by what sometimes seems like a definite lack of a "point" to our existence here and now.

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