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May 16, 2006

Cosmic perspectives ....

A friend sent me a poem that not only made me smile, it also made me think! In a rather funny way, it does rather sum up the amazing fact that we have life of any sort - and it makes you wonder where we are going. As a chemist friend is fond of saying - being born is probably the single most dangerous thing you can do; and it goes downhill from there! I don't know who the author of this little gem is, but its certainly worth sharing and I hope that they appreciate the publicity it may or may not get from here. If anyone can enlighten me I will gladly add an atribution!

Galaxy Song

Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.

The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the ‘Milky Way’.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It’s a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it’s just three thousand light years wide.

We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go ’round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is.

So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.

One thing is for sure, when you contemplate the vastness of space and the sheer hostility of most of it towards any form of life at all, the wonder of the creation cannot but strike home. Life is a rare and precious gift, it does sometimes seem a pity to waste it on some human folly. We should celebrate it, and be thankful for it in all seasons and at all times. We are the stuff of the stars, our atoms that make up our molecules, that form our cells, that make our bodies are all the dust from all the stars since the dawn of creation - in short we are all microcosmic universes of swirling atomic particles that, in their present combination, give us shape and form - and that in turn is animated by something we call "life".

As the Book of Common Prayer reminds us: "Dust you are and to dust you shall return. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes." Perhaps that is why we are so fascinated by the stars and by the cosmos, yet, in galactic terms, our lives are mere nano-seconds in length.

Certainly food for thought in there ......

Posted by The Gray Monk at May 16, 2006 09:48 AM

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Its from Monty Python's "The Meaning Of Life" film.

Posted by: Steve M at May 18, 2006 05:53 AM

I thought it was familiar - and it certainly makes one think. Exactly as Monty Python intended! Thanks Steve.

Posted by: The Gray Monk at May 18, 2006 02:13 PM