We're Puny, Insignificant, and Doomed – and That's the Good News

Can a scientific understanding of our insignificance lead to wonder, awe and joy? Physicist Lawrence Krauss thinks so.


What quantum and astro- physics means for us humans is that a) from the perspective of the universe, we hardly matter at all and b) our prognosis as a species is dim. For Krauss, this is exhilarating, uplifting news because it means that our lives are all the more precious. For all we know, we may be the only living beings in the universe, or at least the only ones with consciousness. How remarkable that on this remote planet, we’ve got the ability to ask questions, to write blog posts, to seek cures for cancer. If all we have is one another, our brief life spans, and the things we’re able to discover and create, then we’ve got the power and responsibility to make our lives meaningful.

What we’re talking about here is courage. For those of us lucky enough to live in circumstances where our basic needs are met and our lives aren’t typically in danger, it may be time to let go of the lizard brain and its fear-based survival mechanisms. It may be time to trust in our ability to face uncertainty with awe, and even terror, without retreating into old, comforting narratives. One thing’s for certain – as long as we keep telling ourselves the same old story, the ending will always be the same.

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