Curiosity in my early 20s set me on a path, which would later result in my ‘awakening’. I would watch Youtube video after Youtube video on the train, to and from work, on my ancient iPhone, racking up a massive data bill most months. It was worth it though – I would soak in hours of videos documenting the world’s history. I was interested in the history of any topic. I would watch videos on the world wars – I was particularly fascinated with World War 2 – ancient cultures, assassinations, geopolitics, man made monuments like the pyramids, and science. My curiosity only grew larger with each video. One video on the Mayans would lead me to a video on the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, which would lead me to a video on the rise of the Roman Empire, then, somehow, I stumbled across videos on Astronomy.
Apart from religious debates with Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens in them, videos on Astronomy have had the most impact on my life. No doubt, they were the cause for my initial shift in consciousness, as well as helping me realise how special and significantly minute our planet is in comparison to the entire universe.
Some of the unfathomable facts about the Universe required, and developed within me, a new perspective.
Even now I am immensely fascinated with the wonders of the Universe. I routinely watch an astronomy series on YouTube produced by Crash Course, which has brought some incredible facts to my attention. Below are some, and others that are just mind boggling.
- You could fit 1,000,000 Earths in The Sun
- The Earth is 3 billion years old
- The ‘Big Bang’ occurred 13 billion years ago
- Space is expanding, and it is getting faster
- A planet 100,000,000 light years away is now a few more light years away since you started reading this sentence
- Estimates are there are 1 billion billion (yep, a billion times a billion) planets out there, it could be infinite though
- A billionth of them are probably similar to Earth, so that’s 1 billion Earth-like planets
There are so many more amazing and incomprehensible facts about space, you’re missing out if you don’t go to Youtube and type “space” once you’re done reading this article.
What fascinated me the most, and still does, is the sheer scale of the Universe. The incomprehensible size of just about everything out there. 1,000,000 Earths in The Sun – are you kidding me?! Not only that, but how much we actually know about the observable Universe, as well as how much we have a grasp on everything we can’t ‘observe’.
My ever intensifying curiosity with science and newfound fascination with space, ultimately lead me to question my Catholic faith. If God had created the Universe why was he so wasteful? Why did he create trillions of stars and planets, asteroids, gas clouds, red dwarfs, moons, if they were all so far away that we’d never be able to reach them? Why didn’t he just stop at Earth? Something clicked and for me religion became redundant, it wasn’t necessary anymore. I was so amazed at the randomness and isolation of the Earth’s existence that I started seeing religion in it’s true form – an outdated and man-made attempt at giving humanity answers. Finding out religion, particularly Christianity, did all it could to suppress astronomical findings didn’t help either. Astronomy now had all the answers I needed. As did Darwin’s theory of evolution, and Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Chemistry. Physics. Facts and science replaced my ‘faith’ and it was an incredibly freeing and intellectually satisfying feeling.
Not only that, my life philosophy was altered. I was more motivated and driven to make something of myself on this planet. I cared less about the trivial things associated with social dogma, and started taking more interest in the real issues. It’s a freakish accident that I get to live on this planet for 80 years or so, why wouldn’t I want to make the most out of it?
I recently had a conversation with Josh & Eden from Littlefoot & Co. Josh explained that an early catalyst for his new life philosophy was also a fascination with space. Not long ago I was at a Littlefoot & Co Conversation Party (have a look on our events page for their next one) and the first question asked was: “What are you fascinated with most about space?”. There was 20 people there and not one person felt an indifference toward the topic. Everyone had at least one crazy fact or philosophical stance, some people holding the groups attention for ages talking about black holes and nebulae. Even Justin Kony, writer for My Awakening, revealed when I mentioned I was writing this article that a fascination with space was an early influence for him also. In my experience, it seems most people who have an open mind, awareness of the issues in society and an absence of religious faith are all fascinated with space.
Astronomy has done a lot for science ever since it was invented by the ancient Greeks and adopted by the Ottomans. Evidently the progress it has made in science is only matched by the philosophical effects it has on the open minded today.
I encourage everyone to watch a video or two on space. Astronomy is the best gift you can give yourself, for an improvement in your mental state and an adjustment for the better in your life philosophy. Maybe it won’t make you question your faith, or think your existence is more special, or make you look at society in a new way, or motivate you to make the most out of life. One thing is for sure though – it will absolutely blow your mind!
Let me get you started on your journey. Watch the video below, it’s the history of everything presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson. If you didn’t know some of this and it amazed you, watch more videos – and welcome to the beginning of your ‘awakening’.