My fellow sapient carbon based life forms, I know that life is sometimes not exactly as we would like it. I know about depression and worries. I know that it is difficult to find your happy place when things go badly.

Maybe I can help. I was perambulating gently around what is optimistically named the Riverside Country park this fine autumn morning.

I happened to look up just as the Sun cut through a cloud and it nearly blinded me. You can imagine I wasn’t amused but it began a random chain of thought. It has to do with the futility of complaining about the Sun doing whatever it damn well pleases but also about miracles.(You should be aware I am in a more facetious mood than is usual for me.)

Out there is a bloody great Universe, you have no hope of learning much about it without a few million lifetimes or Warp Drive.1

So somewhat smaller then. The Galaxy. Same applies. Maybe a few less lifetimes. Or a sublight spaceship and committing a fair few of your descendants to a lifetime in space.2

Ok now we’re cooking. The Solar system. Our neighbourhood. We have already visited another planet like thing viz the moon. Mars is coming within our reach. At it’s centre is the Sun which is about 94.5 million miles (152 million km) away. This body provides gravity which holds 8 planets and hundreds of minor moons and asteroids in orbit around it. For my purposes the most important is Earth.3

Now this wonderful sun radiates heat across these millions of miles. It reaches Earth with enough energy to cause us to complain how hot it is. Yet without it the Earth would be totally lifeless, plus you and the rest of humankind (Past and Present) would never have existed. It is the basis of our industry and agriculture, our lives are regulated by it’s presence or lack of presence in the sky. All life depends on it.

Next then the Earth. it’s down there beneath your feet, look down and there it is. Not much is it? But hang on. It revolves very fast generating gravity. You don’t even feel the rotation but it’s happening.  Gravity. Stops you from flying of into space. Then there’s Electricity. Properly harnessed it provides more heat and light when that pesky Sun goes. Properly chopped into little pieces it powers our beloved machines. Chop it up a little smaller and it provides communication between those machines.

Then we dig minerals, gases and metals to make more machines, specially those wheeled devices which we use to go 100 yards to the shop or do the school run. The oil removed from the Earth and grown by energy from the Sun provide them with their power. Gas provides cheaper heating.

The atmosphere protects us (Despite our best efforts!) against radiation and stray asteroids. We are reasonably assured of that protection until our bodies eventually wear out. Maybe one day we will make new ones.

Not very inspiring so far? Well try to imagine all the energy and effort that the universe goes to in order to maintain the Galaxy. The galaxy does the same for the Solar system. The solar system looks after the Earth and the Earth looks after you. How can you think you are not loved or that no-one cares when all that energy has ben expended to ensure that you can live your life. It’s bloody miraculous?

  1. It would be nice, if ever Warp drive or Matter transporters are invented, that those responsible give credit to Gene Roddenberry for the concept.
  2. I like star Trek, Deal with it.
  3. I’ve been there, it’s rubbish. Galaxy song, says all this but quicker and funnier.