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Thread: Helping people deal with their cosmic insignificance.

  1. #1 Helping people deal with their cosmic insignificance. 
    Forum Freshman Gritty's Avatar
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    Hello all. As people with similar interests to myself (I dare to presume!), I wonder if you have come across a similar problem in certain conversations with certain people about the nature of a certain (the) universe.

    For me, the idea of our place and significance, or lack thereof, in the cosmos is exhilarating and enthralling. I'm probably obsessed. I don't see this as a bad thing though. The problem is that I find that some of my friends and family don't share this liberating enthusiasm in discussing ridiculous interstellar (not to mention intergalactic!) distance, the possibility of life on other planets, the origin of it on ours... etc.

    Of course I would by no means like to say what people can and can't be interested in, I worry that they might be missing out on the lovely information and perspective that is available in this age of enlightenment. This is probably dangerously close to the attitude of a missionary though.

    In some cases, an interest is shown but I feel it is hindered by a feeling of worry and depression brought on by our cosmic insignificance. I've seen a great video where Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about people's reaction to this, but was wondering if you have had similar experiences and if/ how you helped them overcome these distresses... Or if it's even worth attempting if it really doesn't matter in the end how we get our happiness and whether we're "missing out" on wonderful ideas!

    I hope I've made sense. It's 4am here and this is my first thread. Excuses excuses. I look forward to a response.


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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gritty View Post
    I hope I've made sense. It's 4am here and this is my first thread. Excuses excuses. I look forward to a response.
    Well, then, here is one. I dare not, myself, post beyond midnight or so, as the stupor of lack of sleep fuzzies my work.

    "Depression brought on by our cosmic insignificance"........... I shall think that through to within the bounds of morbidity, and return later. jocular


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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman Gritty's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=jocular;465179]
    Quote Originally Posted by Gritty View Post
    I shall think that through to within the bounds of morbidity, and return later.
    I shall wait with bated breath!
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    Forum Professor Daecon's Avatar
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    Just do what Zaphod Beeblebrox did when he was in the Total Perspective Vortex in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

    If, in an infinite Universe, there's something showing one single person on one single planet in one single star system in one single galaxy in one single cluster... well obviously you're important enough to be noticed.
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    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gritty View Post
    I hope I've made sense. It's 4am here and this is my first thread. Excuses excuses. I look forward to a response.
    Well, then, here is one. I dare not, myself, post beyond midnight or so, as the stupor of lack of sleep fuzzies my work.

    "Depression brought on by our cosmic insignificance"........... I shall think that through to within the bounds of morbidity, and return later. jocular
    THeatre whores don't go to bed till around 2:30 AM clear minded
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    Malignant Pimple shlunka's Avatar
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    Er... from personal experience only, I would say that feeling depressed over the nature of things is a stepping stone. For several years I was distraught over our place in the Universe "or lack thereof", the inevitable extinction of our species, all of our works of societal egalitarianism, scientific prowess, cultivation of the arts, "poof" gone. Eventually I sought assistance with psychologists...eventually taking medication. After a year of treatment, I'm aware of the insignificance of humanity in a seemingly endless Universe, but I acknowledge it, and move on with my life indifferent to how meaningless it is. As to how to help people with this? If they are willing, talk to them. I'm socially isolated "by choice", and thusly really trudged myself into a philosophical pit via circular arguments and even non-sequitors easily pointed out by other people. What you describe is commonly referred to as "nihilism", at least one of its forms. As to my "very limited" knowledge, I believe its primary side effect would be anhedonia.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope sculptor's Avatar
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    you will never know whether or not you have really been insignificant
    why worry about it
    why be depressed

    do you gain anything by being depressed
    (aside from some quiet time to reflect and rest)

    embrace your insignificance, and look out upon the world in awe and wonder
    then explore to your hearts delight
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    Forum Masters Degree MrMojo1's Avatar
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    One should not feel insignificant about there place in the cosmos. If anything, gaining a true understanding of what we presently know of the universe should kindle awe and a realization that you are composed of star dust.

    Milky Way Center Region Mosaic

    Science Saved My Soul by Philhellenes

    Last edited by MrMojo1; September 28th, 2013 at 05:07 PM. Reason: More info
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  10. #9  
    Exploration is key burkey's Avatar
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    I would have thought a species that has beaten the odds and actually exists in the Universe, a otherwise very quiet place (as far as we have seen so far anyway), would make us very significant. A creature that for the first time in the known universe can ask these questions, how did we get here, are we alone?

    If that's not significant, I don't know what is!
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    Theatre Whore babe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    you will never know whether or not you have really been insignificant
    why worry about it
    why be depressed

    do you gain anything by being depressed
    (aside from some quiet time to reflect and rest)

    embrace your insignificance, and look out upon the world in awe and wonder
    then explore to your hearts delight
    Rather how I face life.

    Look for the Silver Lining when you can. Live, love, laugh, celebrate and grieve.
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