Member 83
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Xárene Eskandar
Los Angeles, US
Immortal since Apr 4, 2007
Uplinks: 0, Generation 1

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    How Can Astronomy Teach Social Justice?
    Staring at the night sky one August, anticipating the Perseids, I realized two things: first, that while facing westward, I was tumbling backward through Space at 860 miles per hour; and second that we have a fundamental existential problem by living under an opaque sky.

    Not long after, a news blip on NPR induced uncontrollable laughs when the reporter read something to the effect of 'the United States positioning itself as the World Leader'. Let's take a moment and think about the absurdity of this position and of these power games, and all games for that matter, from the personal to global. With naked eyes alone one can see the depth of Space and begin to grasp the immensity of its scale. We can immediately understand how inconsequentially small we are, how in the scale of space and time our existence is as insignificantly temporal as a momentary air bubble in the ocean... or a mote of dust.

    What does it mean to be a World Leader on Earth when Earth exists within a Universal scale where it doesn't matter if we implode today or keep on going another billion years? We fight and war and steal and lie and cheat and kill, because we don't realize the real scale of our existence as a direct result of living under the Opaque Blue Ceiling.

    What if, instead of the opaque blue ceiling, under which the majority of humans spend the majority of their waking hours, we lived under the Transparent Night Sky? What if we could see, for most of our waking hours together, that not only are we insignificant in the scale of the Universe, but as far as we know, we are alone and that we only have each other. The view of Space changes our attitude. The awe of this realization is empathic. In the basic familial and social units, we seek each other's company when we feel alone. Seeking company is not a cultural, racial or class thing; it's a human thing. But our World Leaders separate us through differentiation and discrimination—and compared to what? To each other, in this blip of a scale that we occupy in all of Space?

    In Orion Magazine, William L. Fox tackles this question of how we see ourselves and how it affects us from another point of view—losing the view of the whole from Space. Both views teach us about ourselves and while I also mourn the inability to see Earth from space and angry that our Leaders have robbed us of the View, the scale is difficult to grasp and the image has become too familiar. Lying under the ever-changing night sky, the scale envelopes us, becoming cognitively and emotionally accessible. The bare night sky, under-experienced because of light pollution, is under-utilized as a space of learning about humanity and humility, and the basic principle of equality.

    Drop everything and go camping this week. The Perseids are back 11-13 August. Go far away from the city and the light of your smartphone screen. Grab a telescope or just take fresh eyes, and do not use any star-gazing apps. Take a kid, a friend or just yourself, but instead of naming constellations, look for Us within and as the Whole.

    Fri, Aug 9, 2013  Permanent link
    Categories: realization, space, rant, earth
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    gamma     Fri, Aug 23, 2013  Permanent link
    grab a kid, grab a telescope, or grab a butt?