The single worst event to happen to our culture is showing the first picture of Earth from space.
I know what you’re thinking: “Huh? How can a single, awe-inspiring picture from space damage our culture? That picture shows the epitome of human determination, creativity, and risk-taking. It heralded countless technological advances that we now take for granted.”
All true, but as with everything, there is a down side.
When we see pictures of Earth taken by satellites and astronauts, on Google Earth and the map apps on our phones, our perspective of the size of our world has altered, irrevocably.
It’s not the vast, massive world that could never be tamed or disrespected. We instead see it as that little blue marble floating in a sea of sparkling black.
As such, we have elevated our own size, increasing our arrogance with the belief that because we can see any part of our planet with a click of the mouse, we can control it.
Yet we can’t predict the weather with more than a 30% accuracy from one day to the next. We’ll never stop a volcano from erupting, a tornado or hurricane, an earthquake or tsunami. Or as Tennessee sadly shows, we can’t stop all wildfires. We either have to get out of the way (if we have time) or pray that nature will intervene on itself.
We’ve lost our humility, and in some ways we think of ourselves as greater than or equal to God.
And part of that arrogance and self-delusion came from seeing a picture of our planet from space – making it appear thousands of times smaller than it really is.