Okay, so this thought came completely unbidden while showering tonight. It could be sourced to two different things: A belly button and Russell Brand.
Firstly, Ortego was telling me a few weeks ago about a study about belly buttons in which some scientist dudes took swabs of a few hundred (or something, I don’t really remember. I’ll try to find the actual study and link to it.) peoples’ belly buttons to see what kind of bacteria were living in there. As it turns out, there were several thousands of different and previously unknown kinds of bacteria in there, with only 8 that were common in more than one. A belly button is essentially its own ecosystem.
Secondly, I saw a video clip of Russell Brand posted on reddit.com in which he talked about the fundamentals of life. I’ll try to link to that one, too, but don’t get your hopes up. In it he talked about how what we call life and reality is all just a dream of a group of atoms or whatever. I don’t know. He’s kind of hard to understand. I took from it that our bodies are made up of a lot of empty space and a few atoms (relatively speaking) and that the atoms are not who we are, but what our physical body is made up of. Who we are is the dream (of sorts). We comprehend therefore we are.
Anyhow, so I started thinking about this, and then the idea popped into my head that the physical objects that we see and touch (including our own bodies) are made up of trillions upon trillions upon trillions of atoms that we can’t comprehend unless they are massed together. And even then we comprehend the mass and not the atoms that make it up. And recently (if the 20th century can be considered recently) we have discovered that protons and electrons are not the smallest particles. They are made up of even smaller bits of matter called quarks. And I’m sure that they can be broken down into even smaller bits, but they are too small for us to comprehend.
Anyhow, the quarks thing isn’t the point. The point is that our world is made up of teeny tiny things that we can’t comprehend, but really it’s all relative, isn’t it? It’s only so tiny because it’s so much smaller than we are. Then think of how tiny we are, how tiny the earth is in comparison to the solar system, to the galaxy, to the entire universe. Comparatively speaking, we are physically too tiny to be comprehended by anything except that which is on our own level.
Now compare that to the idea of a belly button being its own ecosystem. To those bacteria, a belly button is an entire universe. That belly button is too big to be comprehended, just like our universe is too big to be comprehended by us.
To sum up:
- Size is entirely relative.
- Atoms and quarks are merely the smallest things we’ve found so far, and the universe is the biggest thing we’ve found so far.
And so it occurs to me: to some being (size being relative), maybe a planet is as small to them as an atom is to us, and they have no comprehension of something even smaller within it. To some massive alien, maybe we’re bacteria. Maybe our universe is like that belly button ecosystem. Maybe our universe isn’t really a universe at all, but a “bacteria” colony in some inconceivably huge alien’s belly button. And there are billions of other aliens with billions of other belly buttons. And none of them even know we’re here.
Think about it. (In the shower.)