The first people to see the Earth from space must have lost their shit. Think about it. You spend all your life looking at the moon in all its’ phases and all of a sudden you’re on the freaking moon and it’s dark and there’s still a lit-up ball in the sky except instead of being white with a funny crater face, it’s blue and green and yellow and white. You’re tiny, and alone, on an uninhabited rock where literally no one has ever been before.
I feel tiny and alone whenever I look up at the stars or clouds and think about where I fit in the world’s grand scheme of things. If I looked at the Earth’s curvature from space, I would have a full-blown existential crisis on the spot.
And then they came back down to Earth, landed successfully and got treated like heroes because America won the moon landing race, fuck yeah! It must have been so strange being immersed in the world you watched from an orbiting rock like an alien god a few days ago.
Because really, the human race and what we’ve done with the planet and society is really fucking weird. We’re essentially a fluke; the only reason you’re reading this today is because 13 billion years ago a huge ball of gas blew up and we got stuck in orbit at an optimal distance to sustain bacteria. We’re ants on a rock, and yet we’ve evolved to develop some crazy shit, like:
- Law. I’m not talking about criminal law, which is basically systematisation of cavemen killing other cavemen as revenge for killing some more caveman, but stuff like marriage – you’re only allowed to be in love with one person at a time (in the past you were basically allowed to own a woman), and you can’t be in love with another person you haven’t signed a contract with. Some countries actually punish that by physical violence (stoning etc). Fuck.
- Fashion. People cut fabric into elaborate shapes and as a society we choose what we should be putting over our bodies every season. People who don’t put a certain cut or pattern over their bodies in a certain season are considered losers.
- Brands. We pay extra money for a name, and we assign status and respect to what is basically a name, in everything from furniture to drinks to cars. We judge others depending on what name is printed on the label of their shirt or on their keyring.
- Currency. We have bits of paper that we exchange for goods. Some countries’ bits of paper are worth more than others’.
- Businesses. Owning companies, company structures (limited, partnership, sole trader, etc).
- Stock market. Just fucking… what.
- Those plants that make you chilled out and a bit hungry? Yeah you can sit in a tiny cell with no human contact for decades for smoking those. Drink these fermented grapes instead.
Basically we’ve developed this insanely complicated world based on centuries of patchwork traditions, yet when it comes down to it we’re just clusters of atoms wandering round a rock that spins around a burning ball of gas. And I think it doesn’t hurt to remember that once in a while.