Saturday, April 12, 2014

Earthly Beauty

Nature and Human Nature
Dr. Kelrick
February 27

Today has been quite interesting. I started it off watching an episode of “How the Universe Works,” this one dealing with alien planets. To go from the state of mind it took to watch that show and then to come here to the farm, it sure throws one for a loop, brings it all into perspective. Though we have the insane capabilities to see with NASA telescopes even into universes beyond our own, we still have yet to find another human-habitable planet. Even just to think about that moment in time that we do find a planet similar to ours, and how amazing it will be for our species, and then to think back on an argument I recently had with a family member, I wonder how I could possibly have been so narrow-minded. So many human concerns orbit our lives, when the real concern should be seen at a grander scale. I used to think I was a “big picture” type of person before I recently got into the habit of letting little things get to me. I find watching documentaries like this every once in awhile a great way for me to keep grounded (even if it really means seeing humanity as a whole from the point of view of an alien galaxy).
            Sitting here and looking out on the still-dead February prairie landscape, it’s difficult still not to see the beauty in it. Yes, it’s completely possible that there is an identical planet out there just like Earth, but I like to think their humans (or what would be the cognitive equivalent) have few enough little concerns to enjoy their parallel Earth the same as I am right this moment. I care little for the notion that Earth is unique and we should love it all the more and yada yada. I agree with “the more the merrier” expression and how it may be applied here. I think it’s much more beautiful to think that there are other similar life forms in alien universes wondering the same thing about our existence, looking over a similar prairie to this Earthly one.
            I may be so bold as to claim that it is a greedy prospect to think that Earthly humans should be the only ones allowed this kind of beauty. Sure, the similar alien planet in question may have an arguably better view, possibly even with the freaking awesome ability to see x-rays and gamma rays in space, but there is also innate wonder in our specific version of the circle of life, the struggle of modern human life, and the ways these factors make Earthy life more precious.
            Perspective is such a fragile thing. Just one semester abroad in Northern Ireland, I believe, has changed my view of America as well as other cultures for the rest of my life. I will never forget the lovely nights spent walking for three miles to the nearest pub with my French and German friends, connecting one another’s culture as well as laughing at the key differences. But after seeing that documentary, again, I can’t help but look at this experience from a big picture. I notice now how those cultural experiences surmounted geographical, social, and cognitive lines. Geographical because most likely I would never have encountered these other human beings had we not met “half way” in Northern Ireland; social, because had we not been in the same international group of friends, I probably would not have found the guts inside my introvertive nature to otherwise approach them; and cognitive, because I was able to share for these few pub-going experiences a bit of what made me think the way these other humans did.
            To wrap up what potentially could be a life-long conversation (based on my interest in this discussion), I would have to say that human perspective itself is such a beautiful thing. And I hate to write some sort of variant of “beauty” so many times in this journal, but I don’t know how else to describe what is the make-up of our universe and the many other universes with which we are still unfamiliar. I sit here in our little earthly version of this beauty, and for now that is more than enough.

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