Significant? No.

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I saw this picture pop up in a few places, though no one gave a source 🙁


5 thoughts on “Significant? No.”

  1. This is one side of the coin. But on the bright side you can say “Wow, I’m alive. I’m really special”. 😉

  2. And yet, to that kid that I guided through their teen years, or to that young woman who I gave housing to, care to, love to, and now calls me Dad, I am significant. You can look at all the numbers, and yet to the one, you are important.

  3. Like most still primitive people, people that only think “you are enormously insignificant” are still thinking linearly, and this is probably what is causing you to leave out the critically important term “still”, as in “you are STILL enormously insignificant”.

    If we assume some couples have 4 kids (i.e. if the next generation, on average doubles the number of people than the previous generation) and if we assume that continues for about a thousand years, or 37 doublings, and assume each doubling generation takes about 25 years, after a mere 1000 years, you could have more than 100 billion descendants. We still think the speed of light will significantly limit the ability for all these descendants to fill all the 100 billion star systems in our 1 galaxy. But you also can’t guarantee that these descendants might not some day be able to travel faster than the speed of light. So, within 1000 years, there is at least a possibility, that our entire galaxy will be filled with your descendants. Sure, it also may take much longer than 100 years. Thankfully, however long it takes, even those children, filling the entire galaxy, will still have lots of room in the 100 billion other galaxies, so each of them will have lots of growing room, though it might not quite be as much as you have, now.

    The moral is stop thinking only linearly, realize the power of exponential growth, and never forget words like still and yet.

    Brent Allsop

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