it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world

So here's the thing. One of the hardest things to deal with about being a science fiction writer is the scope of the material. Almost all of us cheat, because the universe is so... inconceivably vast that it's almost impossible to work with. So we work around it.

I keep hoping someday I'll write something that captures how that universe really looks and feels to me. I imagine if I ever swing it, it will be excoriated, but I still think it's a worthy goal. It's awfully neat out there, even if we don't, in the face of it, matter. (Am I unique in not finding that particularly bleak prospect? Sometimes, I think I am. The vast indifference of heaven feels rather inevitable, to me.)

Recently, I've been exposed to two pieces of art that capture that scale, in some regard.

One is here. It's called The Known Universe. 

It's a planetarium show from the American Museum of Natural History.

Another is a spoken-word piece by Peter Mulvey, entitled Vlad the Astrophysicist. You can listen to a live recording here. Right-click to download, and crank the volume: it's soft.

I wonder, sometimes, if that is why so many people cling to what they cling to, even when it's patently cruel or ridiculous. Because we are so small, and the universe is so very large, and we matter so little to it. And we are not adapted to deal with that. We are very, inherently, biologically, solipsistic.

But I kind of think all that emptiness is beautiful.
Tags: science!

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