Where We Live

Sometimes, when you find your problems getting out of proper proportion, it’s a good idea to look at yourself and your world in the proper perspective.

I was reminded of this recently when I read an article titled, “Why Are We Here?” by James R. Allen. He suggests we take a look at the known material universe to which we belong and of which we seem to be a part.

“We see mankind living upon the earth, one of the nine planets of a rather mediocre sun around which all are revolving while incessantly spinning on their axes. Now, visualize our sun as belonging to a galaxy of 100 billion other suns; the nearest 4 1/3 light-years away, the most distant 100,000 light-years. A light-year, as you know, is the distance light travels in a year, traveling at the rate of 186,000 miles a second.

“This island universe to which our sun belongs is about 100,000 light-years in diameter, and, viewed from a remote point in space, would look like a spiral nebula – much like the photos of spiral nebulae we see at the Planetarium.

“Now, visualize, beyond our galaxy of stars, several billion other island universes, each containing billions of suns. The nearest to our own galaxy being about 150,000 light-years, the most distant over two billion.

“A billion or more galaxies, each containing billions of flaming suns! Sir James Jeans said: ‘The number of stars in the universe is practically like the total number of grains of sand on all the seashores in the world.’ Each star, on an average, is a million times the volume of the earth; yet, so vast is the universe there are millions of millions of miles between them.

“Let us now turn from the magnitude of the universe to the minute. Visualize a speck of dust. It is barely visible, yet it contains millions and millions of molecules. And a molecule consists of two or more atoms. And an atom has one or more electrons revolving around a nucleus of one or more protons.

Here is the wonder:

“These billions of stars, our sun, the earth, and all material bodies, as well as the atoms of which they are composed, are all made of the same thing, something we cannot see and which eludes our touch! It’s called energy. Scientists tell us that matter is a form of energy. That atoms are miniature solar systems with electrons spinning at tremendous speeds ’round a nucleus of protons; and that electrons and protons are simply bits of negative and positive electrical energy.

“So, the universe is made of energy and every material thing therein. But what is energy? We know energy in light and heat, the stored sunlight of wood and coal. We know the energy of motion in the steam engine, in the wind or the bullet, and the many forms of electrical energy. The scientists tell us there is enough energy concentrated in a small lump of coal to drive a large steamship across the Atlantic and back. Or, in the atoms of a cup of seawater, there is enough energy to light many cities for a year.

“In summing up, the universe is of a magnitude that is overwhelming, and of a minuteness utterly inconceivable.

“All the parts are made of the same thing, something also almost inconceivable – energy. They are all in unceasing activity, and all activities are so ordered that they form an organic whole.”

Think about all of this for a while and notice how your problems have a way of disappearing.

So, what is life?

“Life is a process of transforming energy, or of organizing energy into higher forms. Life is a way of converting energy into action.” And what we know about it is like comparing one grain of sand to all the sand, on all the beaches in all the universe.

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