Space teaches humility

When I was 8 years old, my mother introduced me to the vastness of space by gifting me a sweet little book about it. The book titled "deep deep space" published by scholastic still remains fairly clear in my memories. That there was a world outside of the earth and much more bigger and wilder was eye-opening as well as captivating!

But today as I have grown older and probably wiser I think, tears come to my eyes when I think of the injustices and atrocities we as human beings have carried out against each other on the basis of color, caste, sex, religion, race, ideologies and so on. When in fact we should have worked together for one another, in harmony, for the betterment of the earth as a planet.

Throughout history, differences and rivalries have been artificially created in order to gain power over people and there is a thing about power, it "corrupts". Power corrupts not only the one who's leading in charge but also the ones who are supposed to be following in large numbers. Power attacks each and every sane human mind and transforms it into an egoistic, hateful and nonsensical machine.

However, when one has knowledge about the immensity of the universe, one tends to become a more humble person generally. The petty differences and rivalries fade away slowly but surely. Then, we begin to look at one another as fellows and not as enemies. Then, we start saying that differences enrich humanity and not belittle it.

Astronomer Carl Sagan had once famously said, "If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another." This is why I love space... I love it not because of some fancy objects such as pulsars, black holes or what have you. I love space not because I have a favorite planet or asteroid or moon. I love it also not because I believe that the motions of the stars and planets have influence on my life in some way. No, never, not.

I have loved space for so long because it gives to me a deep meaning, new purpose and a better perspective in life. It teaches me humility. Space humbles as well as lifts me up and that really is the beauty of it.

All throughout history, we have spilled rivers of blood in the hopes of control over land, money and "ultimately" mind. That last "bit" is the most crucial one because once you inflict a young impressionable mind, you damage the person wholly for the rest of his/her life. And what tools have we used to do so: sword and belief (more generally, fear). In our short-sightedness, we became more animalistic and less humane.

But thankfully, in the last one hundred years or so, quite a lot has been learned. First, a great understanding that the earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. We must therefore work in unity to conserve it. Second, that the universe is governed by a certain set of laws. Therefore, we must be willing to study and examine honestly. Lastly, that our greatly regarded beliefs are really the cause of dispute. Therefore, we must be open to change and not fear it.

I will end this post by saying this to you that astronomy is truly a humbling and character-building experience. Let us love it not for what it is but for what it shows us to be, and use it to lead sincere, purposeful lives, with modesty.

This post was written by Vedang Sati.

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