Occasionally, during the course of reading, one come across something of such profound insight and meaning, which captures the essence of life’s deepest mysteries. I wish to share under noted excerpt from a book ‘The Quantum Dice’ by a Russian scientist prof. L.I. Ponomarev.
Starry Night, c.1889 Vincent Van Gogh
Gazing at starry skies has at all times evoked some obscure discomfort in the human soul. Advances of the newest knowledge have changed little here: the mysteries of the skies have not vanished, they have just become more distant.
About heavens we know quite much now. Our Sun is a run-of-the-mill star among one hundred billion other stars that inhabit our Galaxy, and the latter is simply one of many-many billions of similar galaxies scattered all over the visible part of the Universe. Our Earth revolves at 30 kilometres per second around the center of the Galaxy, which also flies along at 600 kilometres per second to God knows where. Space distances are unfathomably gigantic and they overpower our imagination by their unimaginability: from the nearest star Proxima Centuri light travels to us for 4.3 years, from the Galactic center 30 thousand years, from the Andromeda nebula-the nearest large galaxy-2 million years, from the visible boundaries of the Metagalaxy more than 10 billion years. We know now the size, mass, temperature and composition of the stars, why they glow, how long they live and why they explode-we know quite a lot really.
But perhaps it is for this reason at midnight, when silently opens up the window into the starry abyss, man suddenly becomes gripped by the keen sensation of being forlorn on a tiny island in the ocean of the Universe. He all of a sudden comes to comprehend the precariousness of the phenomenon of life, which by some miracle has stuck to the frozen crust of a planet that is not inside and that is rushing around the Sun 20 times faster than a cannon ball. In such desperate moments man is only helped by the ancient heat of the hearth, the eyes of his children and the hand of his friend.
In olden days, salvation from the fear of the heavens was sought in religion. In our enlightened age the ends of the logical inferences and obvious sequels of exact sciences are generally not drowned in the bottomless well of faith. We derive strength from the awareness of our belonging to the human race and from faith into yet unclear predestination, from the admiration at the power of the human reason and the recognition of the laws that man has cognized.