When you look a beautiful view, it’s easy to assume that it’s just a beautiful view which you can always look at. The scary thought is that it will still be there when you are gone. Other people will see it. But all the people on the earth could just disappear in some awful accident and the view might still be there but no one could enjoy it. The point is that the view is only beautiful because you are there to see it – you have working eyes that can take it in – and you have a brain that can appreciate its beauty. Otherwise it would be just there.
This week, NASA announced the discovery of an Earth-like planet, Kepler-186f, that might be able to support water. It’s 500 light years from the earth. That means (with apologies to physicists) that if you look at it through a telescope, you’re seeing light which left the planet when Henry VIII was king.
I assume that there is some form of life, maybe intelligent, somewhere else in the Universe. But here on earth we are extraordinarily blessed to be alive, by sheer luck, at the time when we are evolved, and the planet and its creatures are evolved, after millions of years of evolution, to such a degree as we are and they are. We should never forget – we are very lucky to be alive now and we must, therefore, be careful with our lives and the lives of others. Our lives are so fragile, and the difference between life and death is so huge.
I have been very moved by reports of deaths recently – in Syria, on the A34, on Newquay’s Fistral beach and on Camber Sands. May all those who passed away rest in peace and I offer my deepest sympathy to their family and friends.
But when you see such tragic reports, it reminds you how lucky we are to be alive and how precious life is.
Thinking about things in such a large perspective, it is tempting to agree with Freddie Mercury that “nothing really matters”. But it really matters that we value our lives and the lives of all others with whom we share this extraordinarily beautiful Planet Earth.
Picture: My view of Portsmouth from Havant.