Love it or Hate it: Space

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

Love it

Space: It’s the Final Frontier. It encapsulates every possibility; alien life forms, black holes that suck every bit of light and sound inside of them (badass), distant planets that might have way better Wi-Fi than we do, the overwhelming concept of infinity, or even more frightening, the chance that space does, in fact, have an expiration somewhere. But if it ends, what’s beyond that ending point?

Sure, you might feel insignificant looking up into the vast black mass of stars and planets, but isn’t that insignificance comforting? You can do whatever you want with your life; it probably doesn’t ultimately matter. Any mistakes you make don’t compare to oblivion. You’re free and unencumbered. Plus, other than the deep places in the ocean, we’ve explored much of this planet already – it’s tapped out. There’s no real adventure left. There are McDonald’s everywhere. In outer space, though, you can find true exploration. You can fly for hundreds of light years, to distant galaxies, to discover things that are far beyond our wildest, limited, human imaginations.

There could be unknown horrors out there in the universe, extraterrestrial beings who want to overtake and colonize us as Columbus did to the Native Americans. Or we might be utterly alone, and we’ll never make contact with some entity larger or smarter than ourselves. Either way, it’s exciting. Plus, we’re all here (arguably) because of the Big Bang. Things exploding and colliding and expanding out in space. So thank you, Space.

— Anya Jaremko-GreenwoldHate it

OK let’s start with the name: Space. You’d think with that name there would tons of room to do stuff with: To put neighborhoods and highways and football stadiums and high-rise apartments. But have you heard about the actual space in Space? It’s useless! Cold, dark, desolate, lacking gases humans can breathe, inhospitable, uninhabitable, unaccommodating. Rude!

And just when you think Space is this passive entity that has no bearing on our lives short of some kind of “nearby” red giant or yellow dwarf (or some other combination of color + size) exploding and destroying everything in a gazillion-light-mile radius, you look up at the night sky and see all those pesky stars, wondering if there are Earth-like planets orbiting them, wondering if someone like you is staring back, wondering if the light you see twinkling is from a ghost star, dead since all but forever. And there are just so many stars – too many if you ask me – a reminder of how vast the universe is, how we’re just a speck on a speck on a grain of sand on the largest beach in the universe and it’s clear how insignificant I am, how my problems are laughable comparatively, how this life is a blip of a millisecond in the grand scheme, how nothing we are all. I mean, I was really starting get into this groove of self-pity and self-importance and now it all doesn’t matter. Why? Because I chose to look up at night. Thanks, Space. Idiot.

— David Holub


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