When we look up:
“When we [look at stars in the night sky], we feel ourselves pleasantly diminished by the majesty of what we contemplate. As we renew our connection with immensity we’re humbled without being humiliated. It’s not just us, personally and individually who are diminished in comparison. The things that trouble and bother us seem smaller as well.”
When we look down:
“When [space physiologist] Russomano met Buzz Aldrin, he told her of how, as he stood on the Moon, he held his finger over the distant globe of Earth, effectively erasing it from view. Nothing in an astronaut’s training, he suggested, could possibly prepare a human being for such an immutable revelation of our own smallness, our own fragility, amid the endless universe. ‘This is, according to psychiatrists, something too big for a human to experience,” Russomano said.”
Career aspirations, relationship fulfillment, choice of movie on a Friday evening: there is much that is capable of making us feel our insignificance. Grandeur or terror. Humility or dread. It’s not the stars that change. It’s where we look.