“Beyond the orbit of Neptune there is space, vacant so far as human observation has penetrated, without warmth or light or sound, blank emptiness, for twenty million times a million miles.” (“The Star”, 41).
I thought this was particularly striking, because it reminded me of a line spoken in the film “Melancholia”, which I’m sure was probably inspired (just a bit!) by Wells’s short story: “Life is only on earth, and not for long.” The film and the short story have the same basic premise in common: a planetary body is going to collide with the earth. These particular lines really resonated with me because….I suppose the idea of being alone in the universe is more terrifying than not being alone because it means that…all the effort we, humans, put into making a mark, into making sure we are remembered, is meaningless. If we’re alone, who is out there to see any of it? When we’re gone, and every mark that we’ve ever made fades to dust. It’ll be like we never existed at all.
What’s the point? I’m not having an existential crisis, I promise, (I’m probably overdue for one though) I’m genuinely wondering. Why do we make these things, why do we try so hard to carve our existence into stone if it’s going to fade away, no matter what we do?
I’m gonna try answering my own question, and say that….because maybe it’s meaningless in the extremely long run, yeah. But, in terms of the here and now, it’s…comforting? I don’t know exactly why I turn to “Melancholia” when I’m in need of comfort, because that movie is REALLY depressing. Beautiful, don’t get me wrong, brilliantly acted, the cinematography is gorgeous, like WOW, but still depressing.
But it’s not about the big picture, really. At least, not immediately. It’s about the people. It’s about the characters. It’s about emotions. It’s about connections between the people, rather than the big picture. Maybe that is the big picture? I’m talking myself into circles here.
But I guess what I’m (very long windedly) trying to get at is, what we do in relation to the world we live in and the people we live with is made twice as meaningful because we know that we are going to die, and we don’t know if we are alone in the universe. They may not seem like they mean much (“Which only shows how small the vastest of human catastrophes may seem, at a distance of a few million miles.”-49), but what else are we going to do, really?