Imagine, since the dawn of our ancestors, roaming the savannahs and traipsing through the field of flowing grass, a world beset by the sparkle of light in the night sky. It was been there since before creatures moved upon the land, since before the rise of the planet itself. We would stared longingly into the field and wonder, consider, and imagine the curtain that surrounded our tiny pile of dirt. Even before we understood the mechanics of heavenly bodies, before we peer into the veil of both the microscopic and macroscopic universes we were looking up trying to peer into the dark towards those distant stars and asking two mountainous question: why are we here and where do we come from.
It is a question beyond curiosity. It speaks from the annuls of history through theology, philosophy, and science. It breathes life into our own myths, hypothesis, and theories and creates a push to learn and grow. We are defined by our desire to explore. Pioneers in search of new frontiers to both learn about our world and our universe and as well about our place in it. We stared into the heavens, first with awe and majesty and set forth the ether as the place of Gods and Goddesses. On this quest to know that whelm we built better tools, better methods, created temples and cathedrals to knowledge until the Gods had to share that space with us as we stretched to fly and then to ascend to the heavens and put the first steps on the moon. Our drive to know has since pushed us beyond towards the other planets and beyond our own solar system. Always, looking, listening trying to pry the mystery that is mankind on this tiny blue dot amongst an ocean of lights in the night sky. We continue to push. A genetic imprinted memory of the night sky and what might exist out there.
Even at the dawn of the 21st century we are still but toddlers in knowledge. Our limited tools allow some glimpse at the grand scheme of things beyond our atmosphere but always with boundaries. Ever so often we find ancient microbes on a meteor either from far out beyond our solar system or from the neighboring Mars that sparks excitement at the prospect that we, collectively, may not be alone in the universe. But the space that we occupy always seems to be alone. Still we looked and from the far distance neighborhood, small dancing stars came into view. Giving us the brief tremors of extraterrestrial lands. More and more emerged of varying size, color, and potential drawing us further into the cosmos.
Modern myths, movies, and entertainment glorify and vilify foreign visitors some who have visited, some that live hidden amongst us but it is just fiction. Still the fascination is larger than the space we occupy in the cosmos. We are always looking up.
We arrive at conclusions using basic measures that define home, where we are, as the most hospitable for a world to grow life. The Goldilock zone; not too hot, not too cold- just right. We point our eyes and ears skyward and search for the tell tale signs and wait for the signals. The right combinations, the spectrum of colors and radiations and ever so often we get a hit. One lone planet light years away that is just right and our imaginations soars. Maybe we are not alone after all.
Fact and fallacy we strive to know, to see what is beyond our world knowing that we are not alone not because it is fact but that we are now and have always been formed from the finite materials of the whole cosmos. That every atoms that fills this being was once an element sprung from an exploding star billions and billions of years ago. That the solar system we call home was once a gas cloud that congealed and merged and managed its materials and in that one zone that small limited area of space about the Sun water was born, then land, then microbes, proteins, plants, fish of the sea and then feet on the land until we arrived at this point where we are looking for that same temperate spot beyond our world where life might roam. An infinite universe is but filled with finite construction materials. If we are here, by fluke or design, then perhaps- just perhaps…
We live our lives in search of where we come from, evolution and creationism not enough of a truth. We are from the stars. We are the stars. If we are here, and we find proof that others, alike in life, too occupy the Universe, it means we are no longer alone. No longer the orphans of stardust. But we know better. We aren’t alone and we keep looking. We keep asking the question, fantasizing about its conclusion, and always we keep looking up at that black mass that stretches infinitely from horizon to horizon in the dark night. Tiny lights that call to us to come out and explore, “See all the life, in infinite variety that I have laid about the heavens. Just as I have done on Earth.” We are explorers, sentience is curiosity, in the end a planet that is ‘just right’ is a goal to reach for in the near future. Another step to the stars and where we continue this journey. A living world to reach for and then look back towards home and say, “wish you were here!”
Whatever your vent upon this marble, whatever sect you follow or not, we are but stuff from the night born billions of years ago and still living through us today. We are the infinite void, and the finite matter, we are the seekers and the fulfillers of questions that are older than our own species. We accept our place as not fixed in the universe because we know; it began somewhere else. And through whatever philosophy you call your own you still look up and wonder because it is built into your code. The vastness of the universe is small, if not microscopic, in the imagination of human minds pursuing knowledge. Finding their place on distant shores.