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Wandering Through Time & Space
by Arvind Pandey Bookmark and Share

All of us at some point cannot help wonder on the vastness of time and space. As thoughts wander one wonders if we will ever crack all the codes, decipher all the mysteries. Beginning with the mystery of creation of life, creation of this planet we call Earth and what about this Universe? All this seems too huge for our human mind. At least some great scientists and some great philosophers have offered some insights, some theories. I hope one day all that will be as comprehensible to an average mind like mine.

One mystery that is becoming more comprehensible is the spread of human species around this planet. Recently I read about the National Geographic and IBM's Genographic project. If you haven't then it is worth visiting this site https://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic. Another site for understanding the peopling of the world is http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/. Journey of mankind is an interesting story. Our successes in understanding of the DNA have given us some definitive results in this search that archaeology alone cannot provide. But one important fact that now can be claimed a scientific one and no more a philosophy is:

We are all sons and daughters of the same parent approximately 7,000 generations old. 

This is profound. Religious leaders and philosophers have said that in different ways: Universal brotherhood, Adam and Eve as universal parent, Sons of one God etc. It is us that created the differences of appearances, culture, religion, nationalities and the like.

No matter how powerful we feel as a species on this earth at this point of time, we are really talking about a very, very small slice of time in the evolution of life. Life came about some 500 million years ago and human species some 180,000 years ago. We as species have seen a mere 0.04% of that time. In this period several species have been wiped out. Most famous amongst them, the story of dinosaurs and how they were wiped out some 65 million years ago. So it is no surprise that we as species were close to extinction just 75,000 years ago. That tells us about the power of nature. One such powerful force is the eruption of Volcanoes.

When we compare an average human life span (say 75 years), to the total time humans have been on this earth, it is a mere 0.04%. We get to see so little of the life on this planet that some times we can be excused for drawing conclusions with so little knowledge and experience. Then events like earthquake and tsunami on Dec 26, 2004 leaves us shocked and shaken. But then that was very small in comparison to the power of the eruption of Toba, 75,000 years ago. Here's a site to provide some details of the magnitude of that eruption http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/southeast_asia/indonesia/toba.html. It resulted in six years of volcanic winter and extinction of several species including near extinction of humans. Estimates range around 10 thousand human survivors only. We are the descendants of that surviving group. The Global Village sounds so much more real in this context. We are over 6 billion today, multiplied at least 600,000 times in about 3,000 generations. Nature has been very generous for some time now.

We are but one family that spread across the globe as we migrated in search for better living conditions and procreated to make it harder to be extinct. 

While we wander thru time and space, it would be great if we all reflected on some of the bits and pieces of knowledge that we have discovered. It will be even a greater success if brought that reality in our every day existence. For after we have spread out 510 million square kilometers of Earth and 75,000 years appear an eternity for a human mind, we have diluted what may have been a common knowledge then and an essential fact for our survival that we are a family isolated and need each other for our survival. Beyond survival, if we realize this simple truth, at least we will not be as cruel, selfish and bigots as sometimes we are.

Major catastrophe like the Toba eruption or the Yucatan asteroid impact cannot be ruled out. However, if we join forces and use our knowledge and energies not in fighting wars and hating one another, but, in exploring the vast spaces, we may no longer be living in an isolated island of this universe we call Earth.   

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25-Jun-2006
More by :  Arvind Pandey
 
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