Last night, I was watching the documentary series “Our Universe” and it’s evident that Earth isn’t just another planet.
Here are some 10 facts from the series and 6 stoicism lessons to be learned from it.
- Earth’s Position:
Earth is located within the Goldilocks Zone, which means it’s at an optimal distance from the sun to support life — neither too hot nor too cold.
- Location in the Milky Way:
Earth is situated in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy, distanced from the fierce center, which offers a level of protection from certain cosmic threats.
- Stardust Connection:
The elements that make up our bodies, like carbon, iron, and calcium, originated in stars. This means we are all, quite literally, made of stardust.
- Jupiter’s Protective Role:
Jupiter, due to its immense size and gravitational pull, acts as a shield for Earth by capturing or deflecting potential celestial threats.
- Ephemeral Window of Cosmic Time:
In the expansive timeline of the universe, the conditions ripe for life exist only for a brief window, emphasizing the transience and rareness of our existence.
- Earth’s Magnetic Field:
Our planet is enveloped by a magnetic field, often visualized as protective lines of force extending from the poles. This magnetic shield is crucial because it deflects harmful solar radiation and cosmic rays, protecting life on Earth from these potentially deadly forces.
- Plate Tectonics:
Unlike many celestial bodies, Earth’s crust is divided into several large plates that float atop the molten mantle below. This tectonic activity plays a pivotal role in many life-supporting processes, including the carbon cycle that regulates our atmosphere and climate.
- Moon’s Stabilizing Effect:
The Moon, our closest celestial companion, has a profound influence on Earth. Its gravitational pull is responsible for the tidal forces we observe. More importantly, the Moon’s presence helps stabilize the tilt of Earth’s axis, ensuring relatively stable and predictable seasons — an essential factor for the evolution and survival of diverse life forms.
- Water’s Unique Properties:
Water, the molecule fundamental to life as we know it, exhibits a range of unusual properties, like its maximum density at 4°C or its ability to dissolve numerous substances. These properties have made Earth’s oceans, lakes, and rivers hospitable environments for life to flourish.
- Earth’s Atmospheric Composition:
Our atmosphere, consisting primarily of nitrogen and oxygen, is unique among the known planets in our solar system. This precise blend not only allows us to breathe but also provides a protective layer against harmful ultraviolet radiation and regulates Earth’s temperature to levels conducive to life.
6 stoicism lessons from these facts
Life on Earth is special due to many unique conditions. Every day is a gift; appreciate it.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”Epicurus
Know What You Can Control:
Many things, like Earth’s place in the galaxy, are beyond our control. Focus on what you can change, and accept what you can’t.
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”Marcus Aurelius
We’re All Connected
We’re made from the same elements as stars! This teaches us that everything is linked, reminding us to be kind and understanding.
“We are made for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth.”Marcus Aurelius
Life is Temporary
Just as Earth’s conditions can change, life is short and ever-changing. Enjoy every moment and don’t take things for granted.
“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much… The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”Seneca
The vast universe reminds us that we’re a small part of something huge. This should keep our egos in check and remind us to remain humble.
“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”Epictetus
Find Your Purpose
The universe doesn’t give our lives meaning, we do. Amidst the vast cosmos, it’s our actions and choices that give our lives value.
“If a person doesn’t know to which port they sail, no wind is favorable.”Seneca