It’s a convention to say that the scientific discovery has progressively pushed man further and further from the center of the universe. Galileo displaced the fixed earth from the center and set it revolving around. Now we see the sun itself as a minor light in the backreaches of a single galaxy on the edges of a cluster of glaxies, all of which are hurtling away from each other so that more and more of the black-loneliness of space seperates us from the rest of the universe and from the explosion-point of the universe’s origin. After the Englightenment, God died of neglect and obscelenscence (was Nietzsche really the first to notice?). Without God, in whose image are we made, and on whose authority are we privilaged above all other life? Darwin put us on the same level as the animals, provided a mechanism for our blind creation from the forces of time, chance and selection. The Crick, Watson and the neo-darwinists showed that it is not even us that evolved and still competes to evolve – it is out genes. Our bodies, and by extension the totality of our thoughts and souls, mere ‘lumbering survival machines’ in Dawkin’s mememoral phrase. This is the modern universe. Feel small, feel very small.
But it occurs to me there is another way to look at it. With each relegation, the necessity of man’s existence becomes less and less certain. Because we are no longer required, we become like an unrepeatable moment of time. Because of this we must treasure our existence all the more. (Who else will treasure it for us?). An old testament submission to fate is now outdated, stoic resignation is unacceptable both for individuals and for the species. It is suddenly far more important that we survive, for ourselves rather than for some grand design of which we are the central part. We may not longer be as substantive – foam on the crest of the wave of causality – but we have become infinitely more precious for our pecariousness.