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zookeeny's avatar

When you try to grasp a concept or picture of the universe and the earth hanging like a bauble in space do you feel overwhelmed or dizzy?

Asked by zookeeny (875 points ) December 11th, 2009

Whenever I try to ‘get it’ and start thinking really hard about what the planet earth is and how vast the blackness of the universe is and what is beyond it and why is it even here etc I get a sort of dizzy rushed feeling in my head. Its like it is so vast and requires so many questions and things to be understood which probably cant be that my mind cant hold it.

Does it ever scare you, the vastness of it all? Do you ever find yourself asking endless whys and other questions when you think about the universe and the world? How do you conceptualise it? What do you think about and wonder about when you think of earth in space and the universe and beyound it?....... I could go on and on but you take it from here….

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38 Answers

eeveegurl's avatar

When I took my first philosophy class and realized it would make my brain hurt, and probably eventually make me go crazy, I vowed then and there not to ever study philosophy, or think about questions like that.

anoop66's avatar

I have pondered and discussed this with my mates a lot of time. Ends up on a discussion of ‘What’s the purpose of life?’ It is pretty overwhelming. I have gone through the Hindu, Sikh(my religion) and a few other religions on this. Almost every scripture says that there are many earths and many suns, many universes. We really are a speck, are we not? I guess this helps keep us grounded

YARNLADY's avatar

The thought that in the Universe as a whole, the earth is little more than a grain of sand is what blows my mind.

DominicX's avatar

I remember even as a little kid thinking about stuff like that and feeling dizzy because of it. I remember I used to think “what would it be if there was no universe?” or “how can something come from nothing?” and then I would feel all dizzy. Not sure why I was thinking about stuff like that at such a young age, but I remember thinking about that specifically and the feeling it produced in my head. Another one that I used to think about when I was little and would make my head “spin” was the concept of infinity. How could a number never end? Later I learned that the sun is an estimated 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit at the core. That blows my mind every time I think about it.

Basically, I don’t think too much about those things because I can’t possibly come up with any answers.

jackm's avatar

If that intrigues you I would suggest you look up some of carl sagans quotes. There a quite a few good videos on youtube.

“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.’

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.’

“The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.’

“Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.”

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I do find it mind-bending…....but I also love the idea of its vastness.

When I think of it, I see myself as part of it and I don’t feel intimidated, but I do feel humbled and somehow, I feel comforted, too.

Xilas's avatar

compare this This and This

now how do you feel?

Zen_Again's avatar

I always try that trick after taking gravol.

absalom's avatar

The far more dizzying concept is in fact how small everything is.

For me, anyway. But maybe vastness and smallness can be the same thing.

Fred931's avatar

Yes. I always give up when the teachers calls on me, though.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I feel awed! And I realize how tiny I am (I’m already short)! And then I am awed at the fact that I have the consciousness to recognize that I am a molecule in a vast universe.

Limitless undying love which
shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe

deni's avatar

YES. honestly, its sort of like its beyond what my brain can imagine.

rasputin6xc's avatar

Yes. It’s really the concept of the infinite that is overwhelming to most people. Think about it. Something that has no beginning and no end can basically not be understood by humans, who are, by definition, finite.

Pazza's avatar

@jackm
My favorite is ‘the universe is all there ever is, all there ever was, and all there ever will be’.
I also liked the video of him explaining the theory of extra dimensions of space, it really gives you an idea of why we can’t conceptualise extra dimensions.
(if there are such things!)

Think Sagan’s were they got the voice for agent Smith off the Matrix.

Cupcake's avatar

Yes. And my heart races and my hands get cold and clammy and breathing gets harder.

The same thing happens when I think about death lasting forever.

Sonnerr's avatar

For the longest time I thought of the universe as just the night sky. As I got older, I started to realize the true potential of the universe, the galaxy (and not to steal from Adams) life and everything. I think about it when I lie in bed. If there was someway, like in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, to actually be put into perspective to the whole universe, it would make a lot more sense to either start or stop learning.

When a human feels miniscule, they’ll revert to either response in my opinion. I suppose its a fight or flight reaction. But no, I don’t feel dizzy about it, I more likely feel that the universe is feeling dizzy about me. ‘cause as I spin on this terrestrial planet, everyday becomes a step closer to the truth. The great “journey” if you will. (i’ve never used that term before).

It never scares me, I think because it doesn’t need to. Its kind of like a shark being afraid of a clown fish. There is no need, the vastness that dark mysterious blanket is just a veil and I imagine it to be like when I get married. Not seeing my wife until I say I do. And in this sense, I commit to death. But more accurately to life.

KitKat's avatar

Oh no!! Now you’ve got me going! I was fine.

Laina's avatar

What I think is even more amazing is the difference in size between something like the Sun and a tiny little molecule. I’m amazed by both the smallness and the grandness of things, and how different they are.

dogkittycat's avatar

I don’t get over whelmed at all. The only thing I really needed to know was the theories behind the exsitance of the earth, sun, planets, moon….ect. After I understood that I didn’t really think about it.scientific theory is enough for me, I really don’t have time to think about the vastness of the universe, I’m more of a here and now person at times. How big our universe is and how small we are on it doesn’t really occupy my thoughts.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t feel any of the above – I feel secure actually, connected, plugged in, so to speak

kiwigirl's avatar

what a fantastic question, Since I was a young girl, I would gaze up at the stars, and ask my dad, ” what is beyond the beyond, just what is out there, and how far does it go?........... of course, he couldn’t answer me, neither can any one else, we are all still only learning of its possibilities. We have now discovered that there are 1.6 billion galaxies similar to the one we live in….................. thats mind boggling!!!, of those 1.6 billion galaxies, there are apparently 100 million potential planets that could harness life as we know it, on planets similar to ours…...............
we are such a small piece of this amazing space and density called the universe, our minds cant yet conceptualize the great vastness of it, to what extent it changes into time, or other dimensions, other potential life entities…......... I thrive on this very question, and continually look to find new answers and information. Its what this very existence is about…...... what people thought they knew 40 years ago, is but a fraction of what we now know, what more is going to be available to us within the next 40 years….......... we are but touching thte surface of what is there ! :)

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I am in awe of it, but it doesn’t bring on any dizziness, only a deep yearning to understand. I have a good grasp of Relativity (for a layman), but I still don’t understand everything. I am constantly amazed by our hostile universe, and the ability of humans to explore it.

Sonnerr's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh hostile universe? what a curious use of words, could you explain your reasoning behind it? I would like to know if it is because there is destruction involved or chaos. And in that same sense, does that not lead to creation? Order?(just wondering, no kind of pressure)

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Sonnerr That is a valid question, and I do not see it as aggressive (but thanks for qualifying).

I see the universe as hostile, rather than the religious/mystic notion that the universe was either created for us or that it has a purpose for us. An astronaut has an inherently limited career, because of the loss of bone density and vast quantities of radiation they absorb. We are yet to find another habitable planet, although this may be more a reflection of our limitations rather than the existence of such. The vast majority of the universe is open space, many light years from any significant mass. Within galaxies, most regions are turbulent. Leaving our fertile cocoon here on Earth requires our best technology, and still we cannot do it for more than a few months at a time.

majorrich's avatar

I can’t help thinking about the movie Men In Black. We may be a shooter in a marbles game. Or a piece of grit under someones fingernail. The Universe is a construct just so we can attempt to get our minds around the vastness of stuff outside our vision and/or understanding. It kind of gives me a headache.

deni's avatar

@Cupcake you freaked me out mann

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@majorrich There is very little that is outside the vision and understanding of humans. We should never accept things as something we cannot understand, but recognise them as things that we do not yet understand. The possibilities for humans are endless.

LeopardGecko's avatar

I get anxiety attacks when I think about it. Sometimes I get really nervous when I look up at the sky and stare at the moon just thinking about how it’s a big rock out in the middle of nothing. Whenever I begin to think about how the Earth is in relation to the Universe I always picture it falling downwards through out the universe very quickly.

Nullo's avatar

My brain shuts off whenever I try to render the universe in mental 3d.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, it is an overwhelming feeling of awe.

And also really puts ones petty human concerns to shame.

Something so vast, so astounding, mysterious, and we worry about the most mundane things. lol

I happen to really LIKE being aware that I am a drop in this ocean, part of the wave, but not the wave itself.

Liberating, humbling, awesome!

There is nothing to fear…rejoice in the mystery!

Celebrate life!

CaptainHarley's avatar

I get feelings of awe and inspiration when I think of those things. To be so small and weak, yet able to grasp the majesty and granduer of the universe is an incredible gift.

flutherother's avatar

When I imagine being in the dark space between the galaxies and seeing the galaxies just hanging there with their billions of stars, one here, one there blazing like jewellery, unmoving for centuries and millions of years and we are lost amongst it all and existing for a mere blink of time then yes my mind is boggled.

Coloma's avatar

Perhaps we are seeing our birthplace whenever we close our eyes.

niki's avatar

I will just say that I even love this question alone (thanks @zookeeny ) ! let alone reading all the wonderful comments below! now my heart suddenly feels this an enormous unexplained sense of wonder thing!..
and pardon me, english is not my first language (I’m from Indonesia),
but reading this just really makes me feel that…we’re all One here, in this tiny speck of pale blue dot called planet Earth, and we’re the proud inhabitants of it.

niki's avatar

For related perspective, you guys might find this article to be very interesting: “Do Humans Matter?” http://www.cultureofscience.com/2011/10/24/do-humans-matter/

Coloma's avatar

@niki

Haha…excellent! Yep, really, all humans have done is assign personal identities to their drop in the cosmic bucket of organisms.

Like giving a goldfish a birth certificate, a name, and a family history, well…it makes his death seem so tragic, a monumental event, when, in reality, he’s just another life form that bit the dust like gazillions of organisms do every second of the day. lol

Humans really have a hard time not puffing themselves up into some mega superior status, but, sorry to say, our “significance” is not any more or less amazing or important than that of a Sea Turtle or a Daisy. lol

Fred931's avatar

In one way, I just think of it as ∞, but just as that; a sideways 8. The calculator I use, mathematically much more capable than me, thinks of it that way, And it computes it in a fraction of a second. Everything simplified by a nice little ∞. Nice.

Other times, I do think about what could actually be inside of that domain ∞, and it’s really just anything that comes to mind. I’m one of those people who can just wander around aimlessly in, say, a generated world in Minecraft, and be content with almost everything I find that isn’t just a flat bit.

So everything or anything, just depends on my mood, I guess.

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