No seriously, only about 6 to 7 billion of us live on a small speck of dust, which is just one of the eight other specks of dust that oscillate around a hot ball of gas which is just one of the other sagans of hot balls of gases that are aligned in logarithmic spirals around an extremely massive and dense black hole which is at the center of our galaxy which is just one of the billions and billions of other galaxies. Just look at this animated image to (partially) comprehend how small and insignificant our tiny planet really is:
Surprisingly, even the humbling realization of our own insignificance hasn’t stopped us from brutally murdering each other for money, religion, land, power or just sheer blind hatred. Neither has it stopped us from ruining the environment of the only planet we’ve got (for now).
Anyway, as much as I like to despise my species, I must resist the temptation since the problems of humanity are beyond the scope of this post. In this post I would like to emphasize on how microscopic we are compared to the universe. There is an old 1977 short-film made by Charles and Ray Eames which addresses this very concept:
Also look at this interactive website which is based on this film.
Considering all of this, one has to admit the fact that we aren’t really as important as we though… yet. When our ancestors began to migrate out of Africa about 60,000 years ago, they were just a bunch of savage hunters and foragers. They probably looked up at the moon and wondered what that shiny circular object was doing in the sky. Some were confused by it, some were fascinated by it, some even believed it was divine, but I doubt any of them could have imagined that one day their descendants would be walking on it.
Therefore, seeing the unimaginable progress we’ve made in our brief tenure as the masters of the Earth, it is a bit unfair to underestimate the human race. Who knows the fetes our future generations may accomplish! Although it is true that for now our effect and influence on our home galaxy is practically nil, we may in the distant future, if we don’t destroy ourselves (and our planet isn’t demolished unexpectedly by Vogons to make way for a hyperspatial express route), conquer the solar system, nigh, the galaxy, in the same way we conquered the earth. As Carl Sagan said:
The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.
There is also a very inspiring video on youtube, (part of the Sagan series, a tribute to Carl Sagan) that discusses our origins and future ambitions: