The ride of your lifetime

I should start by repeating what Neil deGrasse Tyson says quite often: “The Universe is under no obligation to explain itself to you.” Keep that in mind while you read ahead.

I lost a bit of my obsession for watches today.

See, for the longest time I was on to watches that would be the *most* accurate. So I would be obsessed with time-keeping. I figured that an external source of accurate time is the only reliable method since the watch itself cannot have enough sustainable energy to keep itself synchronized to the official clock (Cessium-133 or GPS). And I did get myself a neat one too.

Here is the problem though: Our concept of seconds:minutes:days:weekdays:months:years:leap-years and all is pretty arbitrary and doesn’t align perfectly with the way the earth revolves around the sun and the coming and going of seasons either. In fact, we adjust these errors every 4 years with a leap year and every 400 years by skipping that leap day in that year.

And we did not “get” this right away. The errors were known since a long time but were not corrected for a long time and what motivated them was religion (Easter did not fall on a predictable day every year). In a compensation of sorts, we also skipped 11 days.

So with that, I can’t help thinking about the fuss people make about celebrating specific days. No, I am not just fussing about New Years, but also about the violence people have often done to preserve the sanctity of a birthday of their leaders (religious, political and otherwise). While the intentions are usually nice with an aim to find a simple method for people to go about their daily lives, the result is often driven by the desire for influence and power.

It would help a lot if every body appreciated that as mere mortals, we understood that we are sitting atop a planet that is circling around a star while the star itself is circling around the Milky way galaxy. Distances at that scope are so big that if you compare the roughly straight line that you travel in your lifetime (of say, a 100 years), it would not even show up a a dot in a picture of the galaxy.

Image result for earth motion in space
Earth moving …

So chill out. Breathe. Take it easy. You are on an awesome ride of a lifetime and in the larger scheme of things, it looks like you will be doing a one-meter sprint in a stadium the size of an entire city.

I was inspired to write this after watching a few vSauce episodes today.