Monday, November 28, 2011

Lost in Deep Time

This little 2+ minute clip of Richard Alley talking about ways of looking at the Grand Canyon is wonderful.

h/t Planet 3.0

1 comment:

Don Pelton said...

It's difficult to grasp Deep Time. Graphics are sometimes helpful.

I tried to get a notion of it just now with my calculator:

The Earth is at least 4 billion years old. If the human lifespan were as much as 100 years (close enough), the Earth would then be as old as 40 million lifespans.

Or, another way to think of it: a thousand years ... 4 million times.

Meditate on that: the length of time since the Middle Ages until now ... 4 million times.

It takes a tremendous effort of the imagination to even grasp this immensity.

What's most wonderful, of course, is the realization that, as creatures, we are totally embedded and dependent on Deep Time, because ...

... in cosmic evolution it was necessary for the first generation of stars to be born, burn for eons, then burn out and explode before there even existed the mineral elements (such as the iron now carrying oxygen in the hemoglobin of our blood) required as a precondition for the evolution of life.

All that came before us ... in Deep Time .. was a necessary precondition of our very existence.

We are intimately embedded in -- and a vivid expression of -- the whole Cosmos.

It's this kind of beauty -- a spiritual apprehension, actually -- that the Biblical literalists are completely missing out on.