The thought occurred to me that if the name of everyone on earth who is remembered for any kind of distinction were assigned to a crater or a mountain or a seeming rivulet somewhere in the visible universe, the astronomers would soon be out of names. The universe expands, in terms of the horizons of our awareness, in terms of its own phenomenal life, and again and most dramatically in terms of the horizons of plausible speculation. Indeed, these speculations involve the possibility of other universes preceding or coexisting with this one, in numbers that can fairly be called astronomical. Scatter the names of all those who have ever lived over the surface of the knowable cosmos, and it would remain, for all purposes, as unnamed as it was before the small, anomalous flicker of human life appeared on this small, wildly atypical planet. Say that we are a puff of warm breath in a very cold universe. By this kind of reckoning we are either immeasurably insignificant or we are incalculably precious and interesting. I tend toward the second view.
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