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How does it Feel to be Made of Stardust, Dusty?

April 15, 2020 12:41 pm Published by

Hard times, sad times, unease and suffering – and then, in a flash , you get an insight: your head cranks around and your eyes scan the firmament.

Oh dear. Little old Me and my little old problems on my little old planet.

How can I forget that I am manufactured from bits of stars?

We’re All Made of Stardust. Here’s How.

13.8 billion years ago, the universe began with a big bang and the atoms it created would find their way into everything: from celestial stars to the human body…

Pillars of Creation is a photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of elephant trunks of interstellar gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula, specifically the Serpens constellation, some 6,500–7,000 light years from Earth.

How indeed does it make you feel to get a sense of our tiny place in the Scale of Things? Since time immemorial human beings alone have stared at the stars, wondering, fearful, imagining – and affixing names of familiar animals and humans, in the vain attempt to bring into human comprehension the terrifying incomprehensibility of the starscape. In this one they even managed to find an elephant <snicker>

SIDEROPHOBIA

One common response to the terror of the cosmos: don’t look up … don’t even think about it … cultivate your siderophobig:  …

Siderophobia is the phobia or fear of stars. In Aztec mythology, the tzitzimimeh were star demons that were believed to descend from the sky to eat people if the New Fire ceremony failed.

You don’t think the starscape is scary? Then you haven’t really appreciated it …

A panic attack actually transpired, unexpectedly, to this writer, in 1978.

Here’s how it came to pass. One fine day I strolled into the University of British Columbia A/V Library, where there was a fine collection of photographic and art books. I picked up a large, “coffee-table” size book of astronomical plates, sat down and started turning pages.

I gazed deeply …

I turned the page …

… and I suddenly fell forward into the starscape, right through the astronomical photo into the vastness before immediately jerking my head back, reflexively, but without forgetting or denying the terror of the moment…

It was like being on a hallucinogenic drug, except that I wasn’t on drugs and hadn’t touch them for six years at that point. It was … an experience of the Vastness, and the Void.

Never happened since. Still I retain that sense of dread and wonder.

It is easy to forget our place in space. “Space”. What colossal arrogance on the part of puny humankind, standing upright less than a million years, to presume anything about “outer space” as though anything vital, important, meaningful was wrapped up on this tiny planet.

We are wrapped in a polluted haze of artificial light at night – it is thus easy to ignore the aeons beyond, the empty (but not really empty as we are now told it is crammed up with “dark energy”) vastness beyond.

Forget about the virus, money, enemies, danger, family troubles, work panic …

Contemplate on where we will all be going before long. My dead father, when he was my age, remarked to me once “The months are passing like weeks, the weeks like days… time is like a whirlwind.”

What to do? Eat, drink, be merry. How about some Ya Udah Bistro Takeaway to soothe your Siderophobia? Give us a buzz, by cell phone, transpacific telegram, smoke signal, sign language, internet – however you please. We will muscle up some of the finest Euro-Asian cuisine you can imagine, then match it with the finest cold grog in the city – beer, wine, what the hell. Delivered to you hot and tasty, on the double, Hubble.

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