How did it get there?
Monday, December 21, 2009
Your privileged place in the universe
Once upon a time, humanity thought the earth was the center of the universe. But as it later turned out, earth was a tiny speck orbiting a small and unremarkable star in a nondescript fluff of solar systems on a secondary branch of one of the four arms of an ordinary galaxy in a remote suburb of the Virgo Supercluster, two hundred fifty million light years from the Great Attractor.
Additionally, it turned out the universe didn't even HAVE a center. Either it was infinite, or it just wrapped around, like the game Asteroids.
In hindsight, the idea that the earth was the center of the universe seemed rather naive, and rather presumptuous as well. A failure of the imagination.
Once upon a time, humanity thought that they were created in god's image. But as it later turned out, they were created by the same mindless process that produced bees and pelicans and poison ivy, and this process began by accident.
Not only were they not created in god's image, nothing was. God didn't even exist.
Examples of this sort generally come in threes, and this is no exception.
Once upon a time, humanity thought that the world they lived in was real. But as it later turned out, the world and everything in it, including them, was a fiction. And not only was it a fiction, it was a fiction within a fiction, a simulation in a story in a dream, a thing so insubstantial, by the standards of the time most would not have considered it to exist at all.
Moreover, the reality to which they aspired did not exist. Avalon, the one true world at the top of the hierarchy, was a myth. And in its place, an infinite regress.