Why Is it Humbling to Contemplate Our Place in the Universe?

2022-02-10 – There are many things in life that are humbling. But “our place in the universe”? That’s more of a humblebrag. Yet you hear it all the time.

I am humbled when I go to a concert and listen to musicians play fabulous music. Why? Because I try to play some of these songs myself and I can’t come even close. I am humbled when I read a great novel. Why? Because I’ve actually written a novel, but I haven’t been able to get it published yet. These are things that I can do, but fall short. So I’m humbled. (At the same time, I suppose this is my humblebrag.)

There are so many things in life that are humbling. But I am not a galaxy, nor do I have an aspiration to be a galaxy. I don’t even aspire to be a planet or even an asteroid. Failing to be an asteroid doesn’t bother me in the least. I am not humbled.

Yet people are constantly telling you that they are humbled by the big things—by the vastness of space, by the power of an eternal god, by the majesty of a forest, by the depths of oceans. I don’t get it. Do they think they compete in those arenas. I don’t.

I don’t care if I’m not a redwood tree.

I am so limited in the things that I can do that I don’t have time to think about the things I can’t do. Not in a million years.

Let’s make that a billion years.

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