The Brightest of Stars

Often you hear it said that to stand in awe of nature is to realize the comparative insignificance of man. There are many references to this in popular culture. I have always held the opposite view, the one implied by Einstein when he quipped: “The most incomprehensible thing about our universe is that it can be comprehended.” Here’s an even better quote by English mathematician and philosopher Frank Ramsey:

“Where I seem to differ from some of my friends is in attaching little importance to physical size. I don”t feel the least humble before the vastness of the heavens. The stars may be large, but they cannot think or love; and these are qualities which impress me far more than size does. I take no credit for weighing nearly seventeen stone. My picture of the world is drawn in perspective, and not like a model drawn to scale. The foreground is occupied by human beings, and the stars are all as small as threepenny bits.”

Another quote which I like for its accurate portrayal of our relationship and significance to nature is this one (I can’t track down the authorship): “We are the universe”s way of comprehending itself.”

Pretty significant if you ask me.

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