Thursday, January 24, 2019

Looking at the Bigger Picture: Fun With Our Insignificance

We are all on the move. Schedules, appointments, duties, commitments, agendas run our daily lives. We are on the move all the time. In fact, sitting while I compose this blog post I'm on the move. Yes, I'm in the same chair, at the same desk, typing on the same PC but only from my perspective.
We are on the move - all the time.

As I sit, the Earth is rotating (spinning) at 600 miles per hour. Not only that, the Earth is rotating (orbiting) the Sun at 67,000 miles per hour. Further, the entire solar system is orbiting the Milky Way core (our galaxy) at 514,000 miles per hour. From this perspective Earth was 'here, where I sit' one galactic year ago - the time it takes to complete a single orbit of the Milky Way, a quarter of a billion of 'our' years!

But even this doesn't really do it. The galaxies themselves are moving apart at vast and variable speeds and we have no idea of what lies beyond.  In fact, physicists tell us that there is no way to determine what is moving and what is standing still, because you can only speak of motion relative to something else. 

This view of the universe is not new. Galileo deduced it in the 16th Century - yet this relativity continues to defy our intuition and our perception of time and space. And, with it, our realization of our insignificance in the Bigger Picture.

Danish astronomer Ole Romer in 1676 proved that the speed of light (known now to be approx. 186,000 miles a second) was finite - or said another way, the universe has a speed limit.


Light's speed limit is absolute, that being so, Einstein concluded that light cannot speed up therefore time itself must slow down as an object speeds up. By the time you reach the speed of light - by the time you are light - no time whatsoever passes.

What all this tells us is that the universe is strange to our comprehensions - unlike what we experience in daily-life the cosmos eludes our norm.  The reality: we are all on the move but we don't know where we're going nor how fast and it's all above our comprehension.

Go figure,

Jim Lavorato, Principal
Fund House Ventures, LLC