Meteors and reality checks: Our Universe is very vast, and very humbling

The news of asteroid 2012 DA14 expected to approach Earth closer than any celestial object recorded ever by NASA would have been enough, but the Universe had prepared for us a much more powerful reminder of our fragility as a species: A meteor crashing against our planet. An event that even the most seasoned astronomers at NASA and ESA did not foresee, and one that therefore caught mankind by surprise. But really, is there anything we could have done to prevent it? The answer is likely a resounding no. Is there anything we can do to prevent this from happening in the future? Perhaps not, although there is indeed room to improve ourselves and our species from the lessons learned out of this phenomenon.

Analyzed from a strictly social point of view, the event is tragic and its painful impact is noted: Thousands of people resulted injured as a result of the crash of the meteor in the nearby city of Chelyabinsk, in Russia, where damages were calculated in over $33 million dollars. And all that we humans could do about it was to sit, watch, and repair the damages after the event.

russian-meteor_0

Photo: Tumblr

This rare event, however, is more than an isolated astronomical incident. If we go a step further and put the incident in a philosophical perspective, we will discover that the message is much more powerful that the only impact of the meteor itself: It is a powerful, direct, and clear reminder that there is a Universe out there. But that Universe is not an empty space unrelated to us, and we are not rulers over the Universe. All the opposite: We are part of this powerful Universe, a magnificent Universe with the ability to damage us or even make us vanish in a whim.

The sudden crash of this meteor offers a great wake-up call for us to reconsider our lives from both a personal and civilization-level perspective. What is our role in this Universe? What do we want to achieve during our relatively short existence here? What are we doing to make ourselves better?

There is another important message to take away from this event: This meteor came to remind us that Earth is just a planet, perhaps a vulnerable one, yet our protective home. Are we respecting Earth as such, or are we too busy abusing it for the sake of money and egoism? Are we working together as a species for the shared well being of mankind, or are we a rather fragmented civilization thirsty for power and dominance over other humans? What, exactly, are we looking for as a species?

Before taking on the massive task of finding our goal as a species, it will certainly take some time for each of us to think about our own personal roles in society, and to discover our potential to become better individuals – not with the intent of being better than others, but to be better towards our fellow humans. Hopefully that way, someday, our societal mindset will focus on the single goal of making of mankind and Earth better places. Who knows, maybe that is our reason to exist in this powerful Universe.

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The Power of “Hello”

Little acts of kindness can make a world of a difference to people.

Throughout our lives, every day, people experience a range of emotions. Some days we are happy, some days we are excited, some others we are just content or peaceful. At times, we may experience a wave of emotions at a given time – which are usually a result of either external factors (people, work, school, etc) or a reflection of our physical-mental balance.

Likewise, we may sometimes experience emotions that are more difficult or negative in nature. We may feel anger, frustration, boredom, or simply indifference towards our daily routines. It is perfectly normal to experience a wave of emotions because, at the end of the day, those emotions are part of what make us human.

When we start our day, as we start interacting with people, it is sometimes difficult to determine what kind of mood they are experiencing – and sometimes, it is very easy to tell.

What can we do when we know that a person is experiencing difficult emotions? Is having, for example, a difficult day full with anxiousness?

I believe in what I call “the power of hello”, which means the power and significance that a greeting can convey onto a person, especially when they are experiencing negative or tough times. By saying hello to someone, we acknowledge their presence in our surroundings and break the ice. It is also a way to demonstrate our respect and goodwill towards them.

The effects that a simple greeting can have in a person, particularly one experiencing a difficult day, is almost magical. It can indeed make someone’s day better, and it can open our doors to bonding better relationships with our fellow humans And all it takes, is only to say the magical word to someone “hello”.

We all have the power to convey positivity onto people’s lives, and it starts by doing very little and often overlooked acts of kindness – like a simple greeting.

 

Controlling our Self-bias

When talking about colours, it is not uncommon to hear that white is the absence of all colours, while black is the mix of all colours. In other words, we could say that white is the nothing while black is the everything. They are so distant, so opposite. And yet, both are inevitably dependent on all other colours, and their existence  – or non-existence thereof.

Ying Yang

This analogy applies wonderfully when we speak about our perception of the world – and our power to influence it: good and bad, right and wrong, success and failure, everything and nothing. In a way, the concept of all of them is the absolute “presence” or “absence” of a certain element. For example, based on the dictionary definition of success, the concepts of success and failure can be understood as the absolute presence of a favourable outcome or the absolute lack of it. The same rationale would apply for all other seemingly opposing forces in our world.

But since they depend on common attributes, they can’t totally oppose each other. Rather, we can understand them from a brand new perspective: Just as the existence of black and white is dependent on the existence or non existence or other colours, the existence or non existence of forces like success-failure, good-bad, rich-poor, happy-miserable, and so forth, depends on our own perception – and the degree of positivity or negativity that we apply to them – what we can dub the self-bias.

On that note, if we reflect upon us and try to determine whether we are happy or unhappy – it will depend entirely on what factors we consider to measure our happiness. The absolute lack of positivity when judging ourselves self-biased (thoughts like “I’m not good enough at doing this or that, I’m not intelligent enough, I have unpaid debts, I haven’t accomplished my new-year resolutions, and so forth) will have a very different outcome than the absolute presence of it (I have food to eat at my table every day, I have shelter and clothing to protect myself of the weather, I live in a peaceful community, I have good health, etc), which of course makes every one of us owners of our own perception and our own happiness.

The power to be happy and to shape your world is in your hands – and in your mind! Awaken it and live a full life from now!