How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Universe

02/09/2010 at 8:34 am (Uncategorized)


For a birthday treat from my boyfriend, I was taken to the Peter Harrison Planetarium at Greenwich to witness The Violent Universe. With Sir Patrick Stewart’s warm narration, we were guided through the spectacular wonders of the cosmos.

As the name suggests, the universe’s most aggressive and destructive capabilities were shown in all their splendour. The universe is a big place, right? So all these wild, extreme forces are billions and billions of miles away, and we’ll be fine…

Oh boy.

I shan’t dwell too much, but if we’re not all wiped out by a gamma burst or a supernova, we could be hit by asteroids like Apophis. Or a random black hole could sweep into our solar system, like some intergalactic Feng Shui expert, either crunching the planet into a singularity or rearranging our orbit and the like. I prefer the gamma burst idea. Much quicker.

But here’s the thing – so what?

I walked out of the planetarium thinking, “I won’t worry so much about dieting then.” We face hundreds of horrors all the time, many unseen, and we can’t be bullied by this. We have lives to get on with! All these terrible things are buried deep in our minds as life takes over, quite rightly. If anything, it reaffirms what we all know; live well and enjoy life as best you can.

Oh I know it’s not that easy. Work, family, money… there are as many reasons to feel overwhelmed as there are stars in the sky. Something I’ve taken away from that rather hefty portrayal of cosmic destruction is that the universe is constantly changing, much like our own lives. We all get a chance to experience the good and the bad.

But if you see a lump of rock the size of Basingstoke coming towards you, you’ve probably had it…

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2 Comments

  1. archie_pelago said,

    “For a birthday treat from my boyfriend, I was taken to the Peter Harrison Planetarium at Greenwich” … “I walked out of the planetarium thinking, “I won’t worry so much about dieting then.””.

    Can we get a link to the YouTube video of your bf’s *facepalm* when he read that please? We’d like to see it 😉

    In all seriousness, this strikes a chord – without wanting to be overly morbid, there comes a time in one’s life where you start to consider death. Quite a lot. I’d like to think that if I can remember to contemplate the enormous scale of the universe when that time comes, I’ll somehow feel better about things – putting the speck that is I into context may just help.

    On another note, I saw some funny stuff on lolcats earlier!

    • peacockpete said,

      Ha! Well, it made the woman next to me chuckle!

      Overthinking stuff can make your mind go completely oooble-fooble, and it’s nigh on impossible to guage the enormity of the universe. What happens in our lives is a big deal in our own personal way, but yes, in context it’s not such a huge thing.

      I haz meatyor from spayze…

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