I got this ‘deep’ piece of art (image attached) from a young and smart artist, Billyhadiat Taofeeqoh, during our meeting at the Oyo State Capital, Ibadan. As lovers of art, we went together to the Wole Soyinka-founded Odu’a Museum at the Cocoa House where the tradition and culture of the Yoruba people are displayed.
When I asked Taofeeqoh what she was expressing through the drawing, “Life is an illusion”, she said. Indeed, it is. Looking at the picture, one shape is a microcosm of another macrocosm bringing us to the reality of our own existence that our life and planet are just tiny bits when compared to the entire universe.
The human being is, to the creationists the greatest creature of God. He has been given dominion over everything on earth and now, with science, man is going beyond the confines of Earth. On the other hand. Evolutionists who reject the idea of man being created also agree that Humans (Homo Sapiens) are highly intelligent primates.
Due to his intelligence, man has achieved a lot of feats; the airplane, radio, nukes, cars, moon travel, etc. It is common practice for a man to look at what his hands have set forth then become proud and arrogant. For example, Man’s scientific and technological breakthrough have led to a rise in atheism. Also, when a man gathers material wealth or power, he becomes proud forgetting that he is nothing and insignificant just as the one he oppresses. Take a look at the richest or the most influential man at the present time and ask, “how big is he really?”
Imagine a social media influencer who is proud of his 1 million Facebook followers. That figure is a relatively small circle when we look at the number of people on the internet. ‘Despacito’ at the time of this writing has 7.1 Billion views on YouTube. There is a high probability that the reader has not seen the video or 3 out of randomly picked 10 persons have not come across it. That social media influencer cannot be identified if he manages to take a picture with the estimated 7.8 Billion people on Earth. Those 7.8 billion people occupy land which is about 30% of the entire Earth’s surface. Wow! Big earth, right?
This big earth would fit inside Jupiter more than a thousand times while Jupiter would fit inside the sun about a thousand times. UY SCUTI, the biggest known star is said to be 1000 times bigger than the sun. In our own galaxy, the Milky Way, there are about 100 thousand million stars. A 2013 research says that in this Milky Way Galaxy alone, there are about 400 billion planets. In the observable universe, there are about 125 billion Galaxies!!!
The distance from Earth to any side of the observable universe is 46.5 billion light-years with the entire width being 93 Billion light heats across where a light-year equals about 9 trillion kilometers. The stars in the observable universe are more than the grains of sands on earth. However, the other parts of the entire universe not discovered yet are bigger than the observable universe.
American Astronomer, Carl Sagan in his book, “The Pale Blue Dot” gave us an idea of how small we really are, a reality that we are quick to forget. It is our own Earth he referred to as a ‘pale blue dot’ when he compared it with the observable Universe. He wrote;
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
Surah Al-Hadid, Verse 20:
اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
Know ye (all), that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying, (in rivalry) among yourselves, riches and children. Here is a similitude: How rain and the growth which it brings forth, delight (the hearts of) the tillers; soon it withers; thou wilt see it grow yellow; then it becomes dry and crumbles away. But in the Hereafter is a Penalty severe (for the devotees of wrong). And Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the devotees of Allah). And what is the life of this world, but goods and chattels of deception?
Reflect, reflect and reflect on these again. Perhaps, these figures are God’s ways of confusing the scientists in search of where He is.
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman