Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Total Perspective Vortex

As Douglas Adams said 'Space is really big. You may feel it's a long walk down to the chemist, but that's peanuts to Space'. And time too. Time is Big. What I like best about SF (maybe) is when it stretches your mind to begin to encompass the awful size of space and time. I don't mean by crude metaphors ('If Earth were a peanut, then the nearest star would be a grape in Paris' etc.) they are quite fun but real Art is something that takes your mind with it, and suddenly you fall over the edge and get this impression of stretching and - holy shit - I'm clinging to a tiny rock in space and time. Help.

PZ Myers has a stab at encompassing the deep time of hominid evolution in his recent post The proper reverence due to those who have gone before.

HP Lovecraft seemed to be transfixed by a fear of vastness, and transmits this awe in his books: "Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species -- if separate species we be -- for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world." Here are some more juicy quotes.

Vernor Vinge, I think, does a good job of conveying the size of space and time. Are there others you would recommend?
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