I’ve mentioned before that in my last teaching job, I used to teach a skill-based unit of work entitled ‘Time,’ starting with the ‘Cosmic Calendar’ presented by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Below, you’ll find a link to the 12 minute video clip, in which he breaks down the history of the universe on the scale of a year-long calendar. It’s wonderful and fascinating and actually easy to understand, even for an illogical ‘Science-thicko’ like me. And that the man’s voice could melt butter.
What really hits me personally as I watch this, is the notion of just how completely tiny and insignificant humans are in relation to the universe.
In the Cosmic Calendar, every month represents around a billion years and a day, around 40 million. So on that very scale, we can see that the universe was ‘born’ on January 1st. The first humans (homo sapiens) weren’t around until December 31st, 11:52pm – 8 minutes ago. In fact, History as we know it – the kings, queens, battles, disasters, inventions and discoveries – all happened in the last few seconds of the calendar.
In a lot of self-help material, we’re constantly reminded of how incredibly significant we are; masters of our universe, creators of our own worlds and destinies.
And while I do think there’s a place for this in part, I personally find a lot of comfort in seeing how completely unimportant, tiny and insignificant I am on the grand scale of things.
When I’m feeling anxious and my mind is jumping from worry to another, I remember….
My life – and my worries, thoughts and concerns – are a drop in a world made entirely of ocean;
A speck of dust on a speck of dust, floating in an endless sky.
When I remember that on average, a human life lasts for 0.23 cosmic seconds on this calendar, beating myself up with shoulds, shouldn’t have and what ifs… just seems incredibly narcissistic.
And pretty dumb too.
If we’re only around for the blink of an eye (and that’s if we’re lucky); then it seems much more sensible to enjoy and experience as much of life as possible.