The Center

Long ago, humankind thought that creation ended at the edge of land. Then, we learned that the square footage of our creation was a billion times larger, an entire sphere called Earth. As knowledge grew, we discovered that the lights in the sky were not simply hung on a blanket, but were distant suns, and our own sun was just one of thousands of stars in the universe. At that time, we thought that creation, the universe, revolved around Earth and consisted of those stars.

In the more recent past of a couple hundred years and less, we realized that our sun was just one of a billion suns that were involved in a large rotating mass we now call a galaxy, the Milky Way. We conceded that our sun and even our planet was NOT the center of the universe, in fact we are far out on the rim of a spinning galaxy, nowhere near the center, the diameter of which it takes 100,000 years for a beam of light to travel across - 100,000 light years. Then we had to admit how very small we are.

Now, having just a little more knowledge gained through mighty tools of technology like the Hubble Space Telescope, we realize that our galaxy is only one galaxy of billions of galaxies. How very, very, very small we are. Our sun, one of billions of suns in a galaxy which is one of billions of galaxies. How far we are now from once believing that our little village was the center of the universe. And, at least now we are smart enough to understand that we dare not believe we have yet learned how extensive the universe is.

Possibly, our next discovery will be that our universe is only one of billions of other universes, remembering that over the past several hundred years each time we thought we had learned the extent of the universe our persistant science found that it was a billion times greater than we had imagined. What then shall we think of ourselves?

~ April 6, 2010

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