You wrote to me:
Its more like I WANT there to be a reason for my existence. I don't want to just become dust and thats probably why I'm not satisfied by this belief. To think that beyond the seventy-eighty years that I'll live, I'll have no purpose and its all science and I'll just die and go nowhere - when I think of myself that way I barely feel alive.
I'm not satisfied thinking there is NOTHING out there. I've never been good with accepting that there is no answer in any aspect of life. I guess I'm just looking for something more!
I thought that was a rather poorer way of looking at things. It seemed, first, to focus about you. Only you. Surely if you were a writer, like Homer, you'd be remembered thousands of years later (in some parts of the world). If you were Da Vinci, your work would be recognized for centuries (again in some parts of the world). If you were a philosopher, like Aristotle, your words would be found and repeated in many parts of the world for years. But, then, you could also be a tyrant, like Genghis, and Adolf, and Zia and have your tales told for a long, long time. The universe, itself, does not seem to worry about your being good or bad. People do, but depending upon their own views. Some write praises for Adolf today. More than them there are others who detest him. There are even nutcases who think Zia was a great leader. There are several who hate him.
I live in the same world and I am glad that I hope to leave it better than it was when I began … in some small way. I see no advantage to my name being remembered much after I die. A few friends will, for a few years. My daughter will, for longer. But so what? That doesn't do a dead me any good, does it?
I don't know if what I write after this will help you solve any problems that you may have built up and are thinking of. But this is what I wanted to say to you:
If the lights are off in your city some night - so the neon signs are absent - you could look up at the sky and see the Milky Way (Kahkashaañ
in Urdu). If any of you live in a place where these awful multi-coloured neon signs are not there, you can see this galaxy shining away on most nights.
My father was born in 1900: He was 14 when WW1 started, 18 when it ended. That was less than a century ago. I was really surprised to learn that in 1918, the only galaxy that we knew of in space was The Milky Way (Latin: via lactea). Imagine! We thought all the other little fluffy things in the Milky Way were clouds and nebulae, gases and dust … and, possibly, smaller stars,. All within that one galaxy.
In 1919 Edwin Hubble started puzzling the world with new ideas of space. He told us in 1923 "that a puff of distant gossamer in the Andromeda constellation known as M31 wasn’t a gas cloud at all but a blaze of stars, a galaxy in its own right, a hundred thousand light-years across and at least nine hundred thousand light-years away. The universe was vaster—vastly vaster
—than anyone had ever supposed."* The next year he produced a paper that said that the Universe consisted of more than the Milky Way. It had lots of independent galaxies, some of which were bigger than the Milky Way and were much further away from us. Wow!
In 1990 we launched a telescope that we named after Hubble.
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Now we estimate that there are at least 140 billion galaxies in the 'visible' universe. That is a really huge number. Imagine if each galaxy was represented by a frozen pea, the number of peas laid end to end would fill the Royal Albert Hall and a bit more.
Let us leave our Space for a while and talk of something much smaller: The atom! A half a million of atoms lined close together could hide behind a piece of the human hair. Isn't that really, really minute? Think again: At sea level, at 32°F, one cubic centimeter of air (almost just under a small sugar cube) will have 45 billion billion molecules. Each of them would have an atom in it that would be almost one 10-millionth of a millimeter!
was asked what he would say if he had to reduce scientific history to one important statement. He said, "All things are made of atoms." They are everywhere and in everything. Even in the spaces between things.
And they are durable! "Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms—up to a billion for each of us, it has been suggested—probably once belonged to Shakespeare. A billion more each came from Buddha and Genghis Khan and Beethoven, and any other historical figure you care to name. "*
We are al re-incarnations. When we die, the atoms will disassemble and move away to new places. A small spec in a flower. A part of the lovely dewdrop. Or the skin of a laughing hyena. Who knows!
Isn't this magical. More than the lovely-but-false
tales that the stories of our creation and miracles and non-evidence stories tell us? Get Richard Dawkins The Magic of Reality
and see for yourself.
As Carl Sagan said in Cosmos - "
We are Starstuff!"
(* Bill Bryson's A Short History Of Nearly Everything).