Sometimes I just have to write about the bigger picture. It’s not what you think—it’s the biggest picture of all. It’s the picture that strikes our minds with ungraspable, mystifying immensity. It’s the picture of stars and galaxies. It’s the picture of worlds outside our own, teeming with sentient life, some bearing answers to questions that baffle our best and brightest. It’s the grand picture—and it’s rightfully without frame. Perhaps it crosses your imagination now and again—it’s completely natural it does. But as we marvel in ecstasy, life taps you on the shoulder and you return to this state of human normalcy. What exactly does this state of apparent normalcy comprise of? It is a level of thought and interaction that keeps us on this planet and from reaching beyond it. It’s a kind of narrow-mindedness that contracts our imagination, and from it, selfishness perpetuates. It’s how we’ve organized our society—to want things, to forget about the struggles of others, to give up. Those few brief moments we find ourselves having everyday—perhaps walking to your car after work—when you look up at the night sky and can’t help but wonder what it all is. Then we open the car door and make our way back home—wonderment gone without a trace. The next morning we wake up, open the very same door, and grudgingly make our way back to work. Normalization continues.

I can’t help but think our species has it backwards. We’ve ascended from our primitive ancestors with the ability of becoming an immortal race, with intelligence capable of launching us into the stars and well beyond. Our time on this planet will ultimately be an infinitesimal part of our history as a species. To think that someday the human race will be scattered across numerous solar systems in neighboring stars is almost unquestionable, and it’s both a hopeful and depressing thought. Depressing to know I won’t be around to see us escape this planet yet hopeful to think that we are certainly capable of living on forever. But we only have what we have—our lives. We can sit back and continue to push each other down and shut the door on the progress or we can enjoy the riches of advancing in ways we are capable. It means looking out for every human being, it means putting others before you, and it absolutely means looking beyond our planet. Beyond our planet isn’t beyond our means. I’m completely sure we can find plenty of value in our lives if we obliged. There’s no limit to the extraordinary feats we can accomplish as a species if we just looked up at the night sky, if we just included the universe in our lives, and if we just thought about the bigger picture more often.

Respect your lifetime. Watch the Mars Rover in a few days. I’ll be somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

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