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So a while back I posted this (http://edwardspoonhands.com/post/13559528862/sometimes-this-is-just-how-i-feel) on Tumblr. One of the smartest and coolest guys I know (Frezned) then posted this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT_dqETarHQ about how he took exception to the message.

In this video, I inexpertly argue that significance is only bestowed upon anything by ourselves, and that the universe doesn't care...but that that doesn't really matter.
Good Morning Tom! This isn't to John, this is to Tom, also known as Frezned. He was wrong in his video, and not about the part where I'm a New York Times Bestselling Author, because as you did not know, that video that Tom made was actually made many years in the future.

And in that future, I have written several New York Times Bestselling novels, but, um, yeah. It's an unspecified amount of time in the future, so you're gonna have to give me... give me some time before I can, um, I can turn those out.

But what he was wrong about, I'm going to get into now. 
So I went on Tumblr, and I posted an image that I made of Carl Sagan's famous pale blue dot image of when Voyager passed Pluto, turned around and took a picture of the earth and it was just this mode of dust in a sunbeam. And Carl Sagan has a beautiful line.. you know it's not a line, it's basically like an essay that he read about this in cosmos where he discusses that every hero, every coward, every laundry worker, every king, every you know, bloodbath, every thought that's every occurred, every person you've ever known happened on that little speck of light in a sea of darkness, and that that's amazing, and it's also sort of humbling at the very least. To say like, maybe that what we think of as these triumphant, huge things that we're always fighting for aren't so triumphant and huge and maybe we should chill a bit.

So the picture I posted said, "Sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how insignificant we all are", and hopefully I will have put a picture of that up in this video already.

And the reason I said that, One, there's this meme that says "Sorry, I couldn't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am". And then recently, well a few months ago, I saw a picture of Neil DeGrasse Tyson and it said "I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over the sound of how awesome science is".

So you know, the insignificance is something that people feel when they look up, and they realize 'Oh my god, in the space of a pencil eraser, there's as many galaxies as there are people.' Oh, you know that's not true, but whatever. 
There's... it would appear to be infinite out there, and it's not technically, but it's close enough to the point where, as Douglas Adams put it, 'If fast interstellar travel were possible, we would not need to manufacture anything because there would be a planet somewhere on which that thing would grow, and so we'd just harvest mattresses from the mattress growing world where mattresses grew like plants.'

What Tom says in his video is entirely true, which is that we only know of one place where there is life. The question then becomes, is there something about life that makes it more valuable than the rest of the universe. To which I think subjectively, 'Yeah, of course, I mean, I prefer there to be life on earth than not.' But is there objectively? I don't know!
It depends on what the definition of good and bad is, or is good and bad something created by life?

Or 'interesting', is the concept of interesting something that is created by life, you know it's not an objective quality. You can't quantify interestingness and put it on a scale and do delta-i and find out how interestingness changes over time. 

So maybe we should be trying that, that would be really interesting if we tried that, could we do that? I'm in favor of trying to find a way to quantify interestingness in a physical property, such as mass. We would need a new particle you know, the particle of interestingness, and then they'd be searching for that and have to build a whole new particle accelerator... but I'm still in favor of it! 

I think of a time where we kind of disagree, a little bit, and it's basically semantics. I don't think we matter cosmically, I think we matter to each other. I don't think the universe cares about us.
That is where this, thought, this feeling of insignificance comes from, where we realize that there's this giant universe, and we are a tiny, tiny, tiny, in terms of the amount of volume, we are certainly a very tiny part of it. In terms of the amount of interestingness, we may be a fairly large part of it, I don't know. But we can't quantify, nor can we measure it in other places.

So we're stuck on that! But what I do know is that the universe doesn't care about us. We care about us. We care about each other, we care about interestingness, we care about the planet, we care about life. 

The significance of life comes not from outside, it comes from inside. We grant it significance. We grant all our goals and aspirations, we grant them significance- those things are constructions. I'm not saying they're constructions of society- they could very well be our being. Like, we could not live without them! But they would not live without us, so in that sense they're constructions. 
I'm not saying we should get rid of them, they're a huge part of what we are. That relationship between ourselves and each other and our feelings and values, the feeling of the world having a meaning, I think that's all very important to us.

The question of whether or not what's happening on earth in intrinsically valuable... *shrugs*

I would love for there to be a system, and I think there probably are ways of understanding the world in which there is a system, not just religious ones, but where if we're talking about complexity, or the particle of interestingness or whatever,  where you're actually saying that there's an objective reason why the thing that happens on earth is more interesting than the thing that happens on Mars, or the thing that happens on Kepler 22b.

So that's how I'm feeling. And to be honest, the graphic that I posted is the kind of thing that you feel when you look up at the night sky, or you look at the Hubble deep field. And, a Hubble deep field probably would have been a better example of that quote making sense, being like 'Look, this was an empty spot of sky, and now it's full of galaxies', where as this, the pale blue dot, is more of not that image.

But I feel like that conveyed it better somehow. Like it was easier to say, this is earth, whereas the Hubble deep field requires explanation for a lot of people, because you're not familiar with that image... which is insane, you should be!!!

So do we all understand now, do we understand where I'm coming from, where Tom's coming from? If there's no way to understand interestingness and complexity it terms of a value, a physical value, then all value of life comes from life appreciating life. Not from the cosmos appreciating life. And that's how I feel.

Am I done now? 

I'm really looking forward to editing it, I'm not really sure what I said. 
                       (End)