Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We're All Doomed, But It Doesn't Matter

Okay, I've moved on. I've made great progress since that last silly post about anxiety. I am now completely absorbed in the subjects of the futility of life and the insignificance of the human race in the vast scope of the boundless universe. How's that for progress?!?

As an example of futility, I just now attempted to insert a picture of a photo of "The Sombrero Galaxy" taken by the Hubble telescope. Do you see the photo? No? Neither do I. I did manage to copy the text under the photo, which reads as follows:

"The Sombrero Galaxy - 28 million light years from Earth - was voted the best picture taken by the Hubble telescope. The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are as spectacular as its appearance It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across."

Just picture this really cool photo of a zillion stars pressed into a ring of exploding light.


Now think about the puny earth...just an insignificant speck out there in the Milky Way somewhere. The Milky Way is just one of zillions of galaxies floating around in infinite space. And yet! We think we are so important! And goddamn it, we are important! To ourselves, anyway...and what else matters to ourselves but ourselves?


These profound thoughts have occurred to me not only while looking at photos of outer space, but while looking at my kitchen counter. Okay, you're thinking, Madam Z has officially gone off her wobbly rocker. Wait! I'll explain! You see, my kitchen counter is besieged by ants. Small, brown ants that persist in monitering my kitchen, watching for interesting bits of food that would go unnoticed by humans but are, evidently, highly desirable to my six-legged nemeses. Several times each day, I swoop down on the indefatigable critters, wiping them up with a wet sponge and washing them down the drain. When I do this, I feel guilty. I anthropomorphise them. The poor little things try to defend themselves. They run, panicky, this way and that, as the sponge approaches. Some of them rear up on their tiny hind legs, in a defensive posture. Every darned one of them wants to go on living! Just as humans would, if they were being rounded up by a giant, sponge-wielding Martian on the streets of New York City.

I've forgotten just what my point was, but I think it had something to do with Dr. Hubble inventing galaxies. Or maybe I was wondering whether ants on Mars would rather eat bread crumbs or space dust. Or was it this revelation?

5 comments:

Bill Stankus said...

Vonnegut wrote the sole purpose of the human race was to build things like the Great Wall of China - the purpose? It was a coded message to a stranded space traveler stuck on a distant plant but able to observe earth - the message of mankind's efforts - to the space traveler with the broken rocketship, "Help is on the way."

See we have a purpose!

btw, don't turn your back on those ants ... collectively they can gang up on you and drag you off to some dark tunnel or to a deserted 1950's styled mall (without cell phone reception).

Spartacus said...

hey z... We are insignificant in the grand scheme of the cosmos. I think this why people get so caught up in religion and the existence of a god because... well... human existence simply cannot be the height of universal existence, right. I agree with that premise up until the religion/god part, but my point is that despite not being the biggest fish in the pond known as the universe, we are the big fish in the smaller "Earth" pond. And, until, a superior being or intellect swoops in and tells otherwise, I worry less about my insignificance and more about how I would pay my mortgage should I be unemployed.

Now, as for the ants, I had the same problem in my house, too, until I installed these plug-in devices that sends out ultrasonic sounds that freaks ants out. I have had them in my house for several years and have not seen an ant since. You can find them at a big box or local hardware store. I swear by them.

fingers said...

You're such a spoon, Z !!!
That photo of 'The Sombrero Galaxy', with its 800 billion suns, must be huge.
How did you ever think you could fit it on your tiny blog ??
Leave these astrophysics problems to us men...

Connor said...

I though Rush Limbaugh was an alien...shows what I know

Madam Z said...

Bill: You have now given me an indelible image of troops of ants marching along the top of the Great Wall of China, trying in vain to use their cell phones.

Spartacus: It's interesting to read your take on "why people get so caught up in religion and...god..." As I was writing this post, I was thinking, how can people possibly believe in any kind of "god" after seeing how vast the universe is. And yet you had the opposite take. I'd like to ask the ants what they think. (BTW, thanks for the "ultrasonic sound device" tip. I'll look for some.)

fingers: Oh mighty astrophysical alpha male, I apologize for my inferior feminine foolishness.

Connor: Rush Limbaugh may or may not be an alien, but I know for sure that he alienates me!