Creatures in the Cosmos

Posted July 13, 2017 11:28 pm by Editor

What are we humans doing in space? The anxious words of Pascal ring true: “The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me.” The seventeenth-century Pascal looked up at the night skies from earth; now we encounter these “infinite spaces” from the heavenly realm itself. Though liberated from the earth by our near-divine technological capabilities, before the fullness of an immense universe, we are still the feeble and tiny creatures we always were. The Hubble Telescope is a prophet of our insignificance. We might imagine space exploration to be a visual embodiment of the Copernican Revolution, a continuation of that great modern “displacement” of humanity, which has progressively eclipsed our sense of having a privileged place in the universe. Even more than before, we know the true depths of the universe’s frightening immensity, as well as the corresponding sense of our nothingness within it. Perhaps the most important thing space exploration has revealed to us is not the vast expanse of the universe “up there,” but something concerning us humans “down here.”

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