Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It's All a Matter of Perspective

I, like most people, have been known to let things get to me, on occasion, even though I try desperately to remain an easy going individual. I firmly believe that this hurry-hurry, rush-rush society we've established makes it so easy to get caught-up in the stressful demands of work, personal issues and merely 'living' in general that we can reach a point where we have difficulty proceeding from one day to the next because of the quagmire we create for ourselves by taking everything so very serious and not stopping to realize there's only so much we can do, take on or keep up with - and that's only for the average person. The people who truly have issues are doubly screwed and I can't even imagine what it's like for people who deal with the real pressure of having other people's lives depend on them. I have a variety of things that I do to relieve the pressures of 21st Century living and help me remember that I'm not as important as my ego would try and lead me to believe I am. A couple of years ago, I ran across something that truly helped my perception and and I still refer to it from time to time.

The image below was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope during the period of September 3, 2003 to January 16, 2004 and is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field or HUDF. The area of sky that the Hubble was pointing to is about 1 tenth the diameter of the full moon as seen from Earth and was chosen because it was relatively dark with very few bright stars close to the viewing field. For Hubble to capture the image, 400 orbits around Earth were required with 800 exposures (pointing to the exact same spot) combined for a total exposure time of 11.3 days. From our perspective, the image covers 11.5 square arcminutes, which is smaller than a grain of sand held at arm's length, and is looking back in time roughly 13 billion years.

Every point, smudge or notion of light is another galaxy.

This single, infinitesimally small area of our universe is displaying (at best count) 10,000 galaxies containing hundreds of millions of stars, each. (Click on it - it's big)

Suddenly my issues seem very small.


Chris said...

John, you're a good guy. You just seem to be able to sense when I'm having a bad day (migraine).

My favourite escape is music, which thanks to my stereo components being across an ocean and another continent in my parents basement doesn't really help right now.

Don't worry, I'm definitely not one of those people that take life too seriously. I am very aware that you can't take it with you.

Spring has very much sprung here in Glasgow. This past week the temp has been in the teens (Celsius) and I didn't even need my jacket at lunch time.

It just sucks that right now the brilliant sunshine is causing me incredible pain.

The good side? You can buy the equivalent of Tylenol 3's here without a prescription.

It's the little things that bring me joy.

John Taylor said...

hi chris-
Thanks and I'm really sorry about the migraine and your separation from your stereo. At least it's in a safe place.

The fact that you're a Python fan, alone, speaks volumes of your outlook on life. And as far as taking it with you - I've always had this fear of showing up at Heaven's gate only to have Peter say, "Hey, where's all your stuff?"

Enjoy your spring - it's in the 80's (high 20's for you) here and soon (just a matter of days) we'll be hot and on the look out for hurricanes. Fun!

Anyway, thanks, again, and I hope, with the help of the T3 and maybe a pint of Guinness, you feel better - soon.