dr. neil degrasse tyson, ‘the tree of life’ and universal interconnectedness

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Wednesday, March 7th, 2012


dr. neil degrasse tyson, ‘the tree of life’ and universal interconnectedness

i stumbled across an incredible video featuring a response (transcript below) given by astrophysicist dr. neil degrasse tyson to the question, what is the most astounding fact about the universe?. someone took his reponse and added some particularly compelling video. you can watch it here:

on a number of levels, i thought tyson’s thoughts and the video as a whole was beautiful. i love the idea of being interconnected with all living things, particularly his thoughts about feeling big when he looks up at the sky. that’s an exciting and beautiful way of seeing not only ourselves but all of humanity. rather than being insignificant, we are all intricately crafted from the very essence of the universe.

one of my favorite movies last year was the tree of life. i’ve never seen anything like it, but this very short clip might be the closest thing to the spirit of that movie. one glaring difference, though, is that where tyson paints a picture of each person as significant in the grand scheme of things, the tree of life presents each person’s struggles as insignificant in relation to the entirety of time and the vast expanse of the universe.

regardless of their divergent worldviews, each one presents a beautiful story of interconnectedness that strings together all of life. naturally, through the faith lens through which i see the world, i saw a story of a creator who has crafted each one of us with the very DNA of the world around us. i might, of course, use some language to express my thoughts that is different than dr. neil degrasse tyson, but nevertheless, i think he posits a worldview that i can buy into.

in case you wanted to engage more closely, here’s the transcript:

The most astounding fact is the knowledge that the atoms that comprise life on Earth the atoms that make up the human body are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme temperatures and pressures. These stars, the high mass ones among them went unstable in their later years they collapsed and then exploded scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. These ingredients become part of gas cloud that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems stars with orbiting planets, and those planets now have the ingredients for life itself.
So that when I look up at the night sky and I know that yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up – many people feel small because they’re small and the Universe is big – but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars. There’s a level of connectivity. That’s really what you want in life, you want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant you want to feel like a participant in the goings on of activities and events around you That’s precisely what we are, just by being alive…