Tonight, on my way back from the garbage, I looked up into the sky. It was very clear and I could see a lot of stars. It made me think of my ancestor over tens of thousands of years who did the same thing. At first, they were just pretty lights in the sky. But over time, we noticed that they moved across the sky during the night. And then we noticed that these positions changed over the course of the year. And there were things like planets that misbehaved completely; they’re always a few bad apples.
Now when I look at the stars, I think of distant solar systems with planets, x-ray binary pulsars, galaxies, and quasars. But I don’t think these things because I’m smart or observant. In fact, I only this year began noticing the migration of birds. I know what I know by the accretion of knowledge of my ancestors. Without them and the language which allowed that knowledge to move from person to person and grow, these stars would only be pretty lights in the sky. Instead, they are pretty lights in the sky… And everything else.
This makes me think of some lyrics from Syd Barrett’s song Terrapin. Because without all the blessings of our species, we would still be just fish in a bowl:
‘Cause we’re the fishes and all we do
Are move about is all we do
Well oh baby, my hair’s on end about you.