Friday, April 27, 2012

Our place in history

Another great video! This one really makes you appreciate how fragile life is, doesn't it?

Each of us could die at any moment. We will die, each of us, at some point. In fact, our whole species could be wiped out by just one asteroid, just one supernova, just one gamma ray burst.

Even easier - much, much easier - our civilization could collapse. How many years would it take to struggle up out of that, especially without the easy resources we've already depleted.

None of this should make us cower in our beds, afraid to get up in the morning. Our ancestors faced the same dangers - much worse dangers, in fact - and faced them bravely. No, this isn't an excuse to fear, but a reason for resolve.

Of course, the dinosaurs didn't know they were doomed, and we do. Well, then, we must treasure every day. We must work to change what we can and face what we can't, while never forgetting to appreciate what we have.

You won a lottery, just by being born. And you won another by being born in our modern era of abundant food, effective medical care, and widespread opportunity. An asteroid could strike tomorrow,... but it probably won't.

So we do what we can to make a good life, not just for ourselves but for others - and for others not yet born. We study. We learn. Eventually, we'll want to leave this planet - some of us - so one asteroid won't take us all out. (And before then, we'll want to learn to defend ourselves.)

Eventually, we'll want to leave this solar system - some of us - so one gamma ray burst won't wipe us out. But none of us alive today will be here for that. So be it.

We've already seen more wonders than Aristotle, more wonders than Galileo, more wonders than Isaac Newton. Should we be greedy? Should we be upset that we won't see them all?

Well, you can be upset if you want, but it won't change matters. That's reality.

We live at a time when videos like this can thrill us, amaze us, inspire us. Let's do our part to make sure future humans have it even better. That's our place in history.

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