For the thinking mind, true contemplation of the cosmos is not honestly possible. It is far too vast. Such massive grandiosity is not something that can be held in the head of a simple human, even for a single moment. What the finest minds among us are able to perceive and expound upon — including all of the greatest philosophers and scientists throughout history — is surely but a fraction of a fraction of mystery so great it defies even itself.
And this is where we live. You and I, here, on earth, alive within such a inconceivable impossibility. It is undoubtedly a miracle. If there is one thing we are slowly coming to understand, this is it. Planets capable of sustaining life as we define it are, it seems, extreme rarities, and therefore of extreme interest. Even at our rudimentary stage of technological development, the human race has already begun the search for other life-sustaining planets in interstellar space, through the launch of probes that return pictures to us. And of course! Of course we have. Life as we know it is such a profound novelty in this universe that it calls for us to search it out.
This is a logic that could easily be extrapolated to the rest of the cosmos. In the great desert of space, any observable buds of life are going to come under immediate attention and scrutiny, no matter how seemingly insignificant they may be. Planets such as ours — thriving meccas bursting with life — are sure to be of intense interest to any conscious species with the technological or mystical capacities to see us and reach us.
And, while the question of the existence of these other species is somewhat of a moot point — the utter vastness of the cosmos dictates this — whether or not they can see or reach us is another entirely. We very well could be in a corner of space so distant and desolate that no other race, no matter the level of their abilities, has yet to find us. Or, we could have — and possibly are still being — tampered with in numerous ways. It is impossible to know. Yet theories, of course, abound.
Francis Crick, the Nobel prize-winning physicist and molecular biologist who led the team that discovered the DNA spiral (and was possibly high on LSD when he did so) actually wrote a book dealing with the theory of ‘directed panspermia’, the idea of the intentional seeding of planets throughout the cosmos by species with the ability to send micro-organic material deep into the void of space on unmanned spacecraft on a one way journey.
There is obviously no known evidence for such theories. Yet what they do speak to — especially when purported by an individual of such credentials as Crick — is the undeniable sanctity of life itself. On this both scientist and sage can agree. What we must remember is that we are alive within what is undoubtedly one of the greatest marvels in the universe. Anyone who has ever experienced a moment of silence, a moment of peace, knows this. Anyone who has ever truly felt the breeze on their face, and watched it rustle the leaves on the trees in the distance, knows this. Each moment here, breathing, alive in this most incredible and virtual of environments, is a gift.
Yes, there is darkness. Yes, there is dread, violence, existential angst, terror, all of it. And yes, many of us are consumed by it. Many of us are born in darkness and die in darkness. Many of us take our own lives due to it.
There is something about this experience that lends itself to a level of reverence that is unparalleled. For all of the theories and contemplation, for all of the madness and pain, for all of our terrible tendencies towards self-destruction and all of the impossible, crushing constriction of this life, there is something deeper happening, something more. If you’re reading this, you already undoubtedly know it.
The job, then, is to remember it as often as possible. And to remind others of it. To attempt to live it. To write with our lives a new story into existence that shatters the awful, sardonic solemnity that has us despairing, and taking life, and ending it for ourselves and the planet. To realize that we are, indeed, a rare and precious plant in the garden of galactic improbability that needs to be nurtured.
To remember, wholeheartedly, that this place, right here, right now, is where the action happens.