Back in 1977, NASA encoded a bunch of sounds, music, and images onto a Golden Record aboard Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.
This record is meant to be a snapshot of Earth…
A postcard from humanity and a road map for any other intelligent life these spacecrafts may encounter on their long journeys through deep space.
The chances of either craft being discovered are near impossibility — space is simply far too vast — but that’s not to say there isn’t life outside of Earth.
Infinity is just that, infinity.
With an infinite number of possibilities, an infinite number of galaxies and stars and planets, life outside of Earth becomes a statistical probability.
I believe there is most likely other life out there.
Or if it’s not, there has been.
They say the Universe is around 13.8 billion years old.
That is a lot of time and a lot of opportunity for life to take hold.
The Earth is around 4.5 billion years old. Life appeared around 3.6 billion years ago. Our ancestors evolved only 6 million years ago. And modern humans have only been here for about 200,000 years…
Or so they say.
With all that time, with all that opportunity, I do not believe we are alone.
But we are SO incredibly isolated.
The distances of space are unimaginable. The human brain is not good at visualizing such massive scales.
Because of these vast distances, the expansion of space, and the speed of light, we will almost certainly never encounter another civilization.
But they could be out there in the darkness.
Asking themselves the exact same question…
We have no way of knowing what is true, at least not yet, and possibly never…
The Universe blows my mind.
What is reality?
Where are we?
What happens after this? Whatever this is…
All we know is what we can see.
Rather, what scientists see… I don’t know about you, but I can’t verify all of this information. We simply rely on sources we have trust and faith in. And that’s a fact.
But it sure is fun to look at.
NASA pointed the Hubble Space telescope at a tiny, dark portion of the sky.
One where they saw NOTHING.
Letting the telescope collect light over with a longer exposure time revealed thousands of galaxies in what NASA calls the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) image… a small sliver less than 1/10th the diameter of the full Moon.
This section of the sky was seemingly devoid of galaxies, but the telescope ended up seeing thousands of them.
Several thousand of these “deep-field” exposures were combined into this image, the Hubble Legacy Field, which has over 265,000 galaxies in it. The XDF is also within this region.
The full image is about the width of the full Moon.
I downloaded this image and zoomed in on the galaxies myself.
If you want to view the Hubble Legacy Field, make sure you install Gimp before trying to open the image!
This is a LARGE FILE at 1.2 GB. Trying to open it with another application will most likely crash your computer. I used Gimp and it opened just fine.
Open it up and zoom in to see all of the different galaxies.
Remember, there’s over 265,000 of them in this single image!
Even those little dots of light… Those are entire galaxies. And the faintest, reddest dots… those are the farthest away (and oldest). Hell, they probably don’t even exist anymore.
My point is, this is how many galaxies Hubble saw in a tiny portion of the sky, where we couldn’t see anything…
Look how many worlds there are. Look how many chances there are for life to exist.
We’re back at infinity.
Or, like all things, this could all be wildly wrong and the conditions for life may be so unimaginably rare that we’re the only life in the Universe.
Again I think this is unlikely, simply due to probabilities but what if we look at the question through another lens?
Let’s cast aside probability.
What if our world is ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE?
What if it is God’s creation?
Nature’s sanctuary beneath the firmament?
What if it’s more than we can possibly imagine or perceive?
Who knows what is true?
I barely trust anything anymore.
I don’t even entirely trust what the scientists tell us…
I try to look at everything with a bit of skepticism. We know we’ve been lied to in the past, so how can we blindly trust anything anymore?
Again, who knows?
But it’s fun to think about isn’t it?
Put on some headphones, pour a drink, light a cigar, and listen to the sounds of humanity hurtling through the cosmos.
When you do, imagine what this would be like if YOU were the discoverer of this gem floating through space. Imagine if Earth discovered a record like this from another world.
This Is The Golden Record…
This is your home.
This is your world.
It’s all of our homes.
Everything we have ever known, is on this pale blue dot.
In the grand scheme of the Universe, we are NOTHING. Only to ourselves are we everything.
We give meaning to our world, so give it a good one.
The Golden Record shows how diverse life is on this planet.
Hearing “hello from the children of Planet Earth” even brought tears to my eyes.
This isn’t about “diversity.” This is about humanity.
Our world is a beautiful and peaceful place when all cultures have their place. When we force integration, we cause the destruction of what makes us unique.
The music on the Golden Record resonates on a higher level. These selections bring forth human emotion and human experience.
These sounds and vibrations have such a harmony and connection to the vibrations of the Universe, I believe anything intelligent that could hear it would feel an immediate connection to the source.
How does it make you feel, hearing the sounds of your home and the beautiful art our species has created? How does it make you feel, knowing you’re part of a collective experience here on Earth? How does it make you feel when the record fades to noise and the haunting static of a pulsar?
Any spacefaring civilization should be able to recognize this sound.
If you’re spreading amongst the stars, I would hope you’d know what the stars “sound” like.
Imagine listening to this entire record, and not knowing what ANY of it was.
All of the sounds are foreign.
Perhaps life evolved in a completely different manner with your civilization.
Everything on the record would be very, very strange. You could feel the vibrations, but still realize how alien this is to you.
And then… at the very end.
THE BEAT DROPS.
After all of those strange and alien sounds, you hear a pulsar…
You hear the stars.
You’d feel an immediate connection to the beings on the other side.
You’d say to yourself, “If WE can hear the stars, and THEY can hear the stars… WHO THE HELL ARE THEY? Are we… the same?”
All of this may seem silly.
The chances of something discovering the Golden Records are pretty much nil.
But I want to bring you some perspective.
As pointless as all of this may seem, this is your home.
I want you to realize how big a gift life is.
But you know, what is life?
What is all of this?
Perhaps we’re completely wrong about everything we think we know. Perhaps reality is stranger than any fiction we can conjure up.
Perhaps the Universe is eternal and our experiences here on Earth are us leaving some kind of universal consciousness to come down to what is both a paradise and a hell.
What if life exists everywhere in the Universe? What if the natural laws of the Universe are what cause life to happen in the first place?
What if consciousness is what we call Dark Energy? What if WE cause the Universe to expand?
What if every creature that is born and dies returns to this universal consciousness?
What if our experiences are the entire point we’re here? What if we’re the Universe’s way of experiencing itself.
Perhaps we’re completely unique…
Or perhaps we’re meant to experience snapshots of the progression of time, and this life isn’t the end.
Maybe we’ve been here before.
Maybe our consciousness is reborn again and again, experiencing different time periods and different lives.
Or maybe this is all there is. Maybe when the world goes black, that’s the end and you’ll never experience anything ever again, just like you didn’t experience anything before you were born.
Emptiness. Nothingness. Eternal night.
Thinking of these things keeps me up at night.
These are the thoughts that rush through my head when I’m outside staring up at the night sky.
It’s all so unimaginably vast and unknown, yet we falsely believe we have it figured out.
This stuff recurs throughout history. Our ancient ancestors with the first temples, the church with its beliefs, and then the scientists. We think we’re so smart, but we honestly don’t even have a clue. We could be entirely wrong, and most likely are…
Maybe that’s the point of life. To figure out what we are, where we came from, and exactly where “home” is.
I don’t like to speculate, but when it comes to understanding the Universe and the stars, it’s fun to play these little mind games…
Maybe something WILL find the Golden Records. But again, who knows?
I hope you enjoyed our postcard to the stars…
I know I did.
Demons & Destiny
I almost wasn’t going to share this one, but I love this auto-tuned song from two absolute legends.
I want you to think about this quote: “A still more glorious dawn awaits, not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise. A morning filled with 400 billion suns… the rising of the Milky Way.”
That’s what you can actually see at nightfall. And that’s what I’m chasing.