|the black hole, Cygnus X-1 (NASA)|
It’s interesting to note that while you’re going about your business, perhaps waiting for the next gaffe from The White House or anxiously waiting to hear whether the proposal for your project will get the green light from your purveyor of choice, that there are bits and pieces of matter moving toward the event horizon of some distant black hole where they will be sucked into oblivion by an almost unimaginably powerful magnetic force that makes the gravitational pull of the earth pale by comparison. Thinking about such things can be like escapist entertainment, especially when the realities of everyday life don’t present a particular pleasing palette of possibilities. One recourse from a competitive dog eat dog world can be to look at everything under the aspect of eternity. From this perspective mankind is just a speck, a minor footnote in the 13.8 billion years since the advent of the Big Bang. Imagine matter being sucked into a black hole and then imagine the fate of Trump’s Tweets swirling into nothingness like the heroin swirling down the toilet in that famous scene in Trainspotting. Go out one clear night this summer. If you are lucky you will see shooting stars or meteors raining through our galaxy. The point isn’t only that we’re small and insignificant by comparison, it’s Hamlet’s old saw, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy…” It’s very hard to see the wood from the trees when you’re in the middle of a tornado, but when everything settles down, you begin to get a glimpse of an enormity that often eludes perception.