Reality Blind - Vol. 1

Summary: To the verses above we would add these:

9 A time to understand, a time to wonder, a time to plan;

10 A time to cast away lizard lusts and monkey hates; a time to know our own minds,

11 A time to be thankful for what we have, and a time to bless those who follow with their own time to exist in turn

One of the reasons we don’t much think about deep time is that we’ve never been taught logical ways to frame it. When words like “millions, billions, and trillions” are used, our eyes tend to glaze over. We know that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, that life started a long time ago, and that it won’t always be the way it now is, but for non -geologists those facts tend to all mush together as a narrative without much emotional impact or intuitive relevance. Pal eontologist Peter Ward created the “ E arth clock” graphic above to help us simply envision the roughly 12 billion years which will constitute the E arth’s existence prior to being cooked to oblivion by our future sun expanding to engulf it.

“ In 5 billion years the sun will expand and engulf our orbit as the charred ember that was once earth vaporizes. Have a nice day!”

-Neil deGrasse Tyson

Looking at the Earth clock, the thing which immediately jumps out is that the age of plants and animals will last “only” about a billion years, while microscopic life will exist for perhaps six billion years. Moreover, the age of plants and animals is now about half over. It took a long time for complex life to arise on Earth, and conscious life only arose very recently in the scheme of things. In the future, conditions will change, making complex life untenable; including the level of CO2 eventually falling below what is required for photosynthesis, and the eventual loss of the oceans to space as the sun heats up. I t’s good, when planning one’s travels, to occasionally look at a map and determine where you are. That is also the case for deep time and the conditions which make life possible. TaaL: Hey, don’t get depressed at the clock image! Yes, you’re finite, and you wouldn’t really want to be otherwise. Is it really depressing that Earth will get “only” a billion years of plants and animals? Because to me that sounds like a long bunch of time, and there are perhaps a half-billion years of it yet. Moreover, conscious self-aware life has only recently arisen, in the form of dolphins, apes, whales, elephants, and other new arrivals. It took


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