Black holes in our lives

What is a number? A number is simply a measurement. A number is our way of boxing a concept into something ordered, something that packs away neatly into our minds.
But numbers are just symbols. They can never relay the real magnitude of what they simplify for us. For in reality, it’s simply ink on paper.

When we say that Alpha Centauri is  244’000 x further away from us than the sun is. We aren’t capable of really grasping what that means. Nevermind what it implies about the size of the universe when we say it’s the NEAREST star to us after the sun.

On paper space is just numbers and relations. When we see it in pictures, it takes our breath away. To the astronaut looking at it first hand…
To him it says: ‘Here I am. This is my glory. I take your breath away as your words could never cage me. You experience me as I am right now, and no second-hand experience could ever compare. Not. Even. Your. Memories. So spare your words, explanations, depictions and representations, they will simply be swallowed by my vastness.’

So there is no way to truly convey the enormity of our planet as seen from space, nevermind our solar system, nevermind the milky way. And yet these are diminutive compared to other celestial bodies. Can we even grasp the extent to which we don’t grasp that?
And inside of these nebulae, quasars, supernovas, etc is nothing but raging chaos from massive heat and titanic energy. Yet when we view it from a distance it is the most beautiful thing the eye could witness. At least to me.

Now take black holes. They’re basically the skeletal remains of dead stars.
Incredibly dense mass that generates incredible (once again adjectives cannot convey the reality) gravity. This gravity could crush anything. Literally.
A large enough black hole could lay waste to absolutely anything.

For example: if a black hole had the mass of the earth. It would be the size of a small coin. That’s how dense a black hole is. And gravity is determined by mass.
In effect, the gravitational pull of a black hole absorbs even light and time. Since the absorb light, the only way to even see one is by observing the x-rays surrounding it and the pattern of their disappearance.

Einstein stated that to put the pull of one on a graph would result in a ‘sheer cliff’ graph, where the curve runs parallel with the y-axis. Nothing could escape it.

Yet it’s so small compared to other bodies in the universe.

‘Super-large’ black holes are said to lie at the center of every galaxy, even ours, and right now our galaxy is rotating around its one.
Yet this ‘void’ is so small in comparison.

This brings me to my point: In our lives we live subjectively. We live in the chaos. We can’t see that soul wrenching beauty of ordered symmetry and perfect harmony IN the chaos that something else can. Everything seems like it’s going to hell, yet to the outside omniscient observer that knows how your supernova will pan out. It all fits in perfectly according to plan for something beautiful and intensely powerful.

And we find our own black holes: tiny things that our entire universe can revolve around. A relationship, studying, financial matters, family issues, anything. Yes some black holes are bigger than others. The death of a loved one cannot be ignored.

But we live our lives around these situations and problems (or just things we think are important right now.) until all of the incredible potential of the beauty of our lives revolve around just one thing. Something that might be big, but is in fact small when compared to what it’s sucking away from you.

Our hard times define the people we become. But they should help us gather wisdom as the wounds heal. Not fester until a limb needs amputation.

Our lives all have a grand purpose beyond what we can describe or understand. It’s in the stars;-)


~ by William Webster on May 16, 2010.

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