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Thursday, May 16, 2024

For you were made from stardust, and to stardust you will return

The art of getting by: theories of general relativity

I am passionate about people. There is nothing I care about, nothing I am more interested in, nothing I am more intrigued by than my fellow humans. Humans are amazing, they are beautiful, and the idea that human existence is a weird random occurrence in the history of the whole universe – whether you believe that randomness was a work of a higher power, or science, or both – leaves me in a state of constant awe.

The universe is always expanding, and every moment, more and more space is created — space that you or I attempt to, but cannot really, fathom. Yet here we are, on this grain of sand-planet in the cell of a tiny universe, simply and strangely existing. To some, this notion is horrifying. It triggers a fear that we are nothing, that we mean nothing, and that everything that’s going on right now in our small small space is ultimately pointless. To me, though, it’s comforting that I am small, and something about being a twinkle in the scheme of things puts my mind at ease.

We are made of matter, therefore we do matter. Somewhere in the Bible it says “For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return,” (Gen. 3:19), and to me, that’s pure poetry. My hand is probably made of atoms that were projected from the explosion of a star, or maybe they were a pinpoint of glowing dust in the coldest purple nebulae toward the beginning of time; and the best thing about this is that so was yours.

We, we, we. We are of the same origin, and together we have inhabited this planet for less than a millisecond. We are small. I will continue to stress, we are so small, because we are. But our minds and our souls, they are infinite. Huge. We want meaning, we want hope, and most of all, we want love. We make art, we create ideas and explore until we are once again stardust because we want to be, we want to live, we can feel that we are alive, that we are, we are, we are. We thrive on the knowledge that we can never fully proclaim to know everything, and we look up toward the sky knowing that maybe there’s just as much splendor in mystery as there is in knowing.

At the end of the day, at the center of our universe there are just us, you and I and every human on this tiny rock. We are all we have, we are all we know, really. We are of these same phenomena, of cosmic misunderstandings that resolve for the love of gravity and the need for grounded-ness, of light that perpetually progresses forward to illuminate every deserved particle in the corners of space-time. Though I am native to purple nebulae and you are partial to aged stars, we exist in astonishing harmony and cannot help but admire that we are derived from the same unlikely origin. I can’t think of any truth more beautiful.

AKIRA OLIVIA KUMAMOTO can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

Photo by Akira Olivia Kumamoto


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