The following quotations are from the introduction to the first episode of Carl Sagan's legendary television series, "Cosmos."
"The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be. Our contemplations of the cosmos stir us; there's a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation as if a distant memory of falling from a great height. We know we are approaching the grandest of mysteries."
Have I mentioned I enjoy contemplating the universe? There it is, a poetic description of my mental thrill ride. The thrill never goes away. It is one thing the gaze up at the stars at night and be awestruck by their pure aesthetic beauty, but then to go deeper into space, and think about its edge. Yes, the edge, except there isn't one. Or even as you gaze "up" at the stars, to imagine yourself instead gazing "down" at them. Dimensions, light, gravity, time, energy, matter, distance, cycles; there"s no end to the mind-blowing topics. I am so far from understanding all the complexities of the universe, but I feel a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a sensation of falling, and just a little bit of rapture each time I get a little bit closer to Knowing some of what there is to Know.
"The cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths, of exquisite interrelationships, of the awesome machinery of nature."
I believe that all there is to Know that is worth Knowing is an elegant truth, an exquisite interrelationship, or awesome natural machinery. I do not find comfort in impossibilities and faith and miracles. I find comfort in discovering the way the universe works, how each puzzle piece fits together to create the whole with such a complex natural order, one can only understand a fraction of the rules themselves, but one can believe that every aspect is governed by a rule.
"Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We've longed to return, and we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We're made of starstuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. The journey for each of us begins here."
That rules govern everything does not diminish the romanticism or the wonder of life. After all, I used to be a star, a heavenly entity. Everything and everyone is a part of everything and everyone. If you wait long enough, a molecule of air that I exhaled while typing just now, you (or someone with significant quantities of your genetic code) will inhale someday. Everything exists in relation to everything else. If you glance to the right instead of to the left as you walk down the street on an ordinary day, and in doing so, you make eye contact with a stranger, that stranger's day will be just a little bit different than if the stranger had not seen you at all.
Go outside. Look up (or, if you are standing, look as far away from your feet as you can). Choose a star. No, not that one, that one's mine. So is that one. Ok, you can have that little one on the left. Name your star after your least favorite person. Now... allow it to bring you joy.