In a universe where perfection does not exist, we have lost a near-perfect pearl in a sea of pebbles.

There is one constant in the history of the universe – its past, its present, and, certainly, its future – and that is entropy. Entropy, or disorder, is constantly increasing in our universe of infinite particles and, as said Stephen Hawking, the only way to distinguish past from present is the increase of entropy, giving a directionality to time. As we head into a state of chaos, we realize how little we know about our universe. And then, we realize, how little we care to know about our universe. We may tell ourselves that we have discovered stars and planets and elements, that we have already written textbooks about particulate motion, about gravity, about centrifugal motion, about cells and viruses and atoms, about the reactions of chemicals, about the ingredients in complex pharmaceuticals, but we can never know everything. The universe is constantly expanding, and if you listen closely, in this expanding space rings the deafening sound of our ignorance. But the ego renders curiosity powerless. If we don’t want to know more, how can we possibly learn more?


If our universe is indeed infinite, then every point can be considered as the centre of the universe. Unfortunately, we humans tend to carry this logic too far and place ourselves at the centre of our universe. In an increasingly self-centered world, we forget that there is more to life than our mundane fears, worries, happinesses, and sorrows. We imagine that the entire world trembles at the sight of our woes. But there is an entire world out there, worlds within worlds within worlds, black holes and tiny stars burning holes through subzero space. Every so often, a star is born, and yet this piece of information will fail to bring a shiver of wonder to most of us. The concept of being a speck of dust in a universe far vaster than we can ever comprehend is not something we humans can easily digest. We are self-important. Sometimes selfish. Shortsighted. As a geologist, I have always thought in larger timescales than have my peers. We are a blink of the eye in the life history of Mother Earth, and we have no reason to think we are any more important than other life forms or cosmic miracles. And, when I read the work of Stephen Hawking, I was reassured that maybe, just maybe, I was not wrong.

Maybe instead of turning inwards to find the meaning of life, we ought to turn outwards. To really embrace our microscopic unexceptional existence in a constantly-expanding universe. To be grateful for having the chance to breathe, to feel the sunlight, to feel the breeze on our skin, to see the brilliant colours around us. Maybe once we embrace our unimportance in the greater scheme of things, our lives will begin to feel important.


A parting thought, and a salute to the man who taught me how live ought to be lived – with humility, curiosity, and childish joy.

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” – Stephen Hawking

Thank you for your brilliance, Dr. Hawking. And thank you for increasing the chaos of the universe with your revolutionary thoughts and never-ending curiosity.

We on Earth were privileged to have you. But the universe had bigger plans for you.


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