, ,

The last couple of days I’ve been writing about Zoroaster, the Egyptian monotheists, and their reverence of the Sun. It is a good object to choose as the prime deity for people lacking modern technology and telescopes because without it our Earth would soon become incapable of supporting any life on the surface. There have been living things found in the deepest mines, supported at present by heat and nutrients from deeper in the Earth, and those could survive without the sun for a long time. However, anything beyond tiny organisms would soon fail without the Sun.

Just for the fun of the speculation I have been taking that existential idea a bit further and projecting our Sun and its surrounding planets and other stuff out of our Milky Way galaxy. Say we somehow found ourselves halfway over to the Andromeda galaxy, in one of those newly discovered intergalactic strings, and I was wondering if we could survive. Is there anything that our galaxy provides to us in our present condition that we couldn’t live without? Perhaps there are extragalactic flows of deadly radiations that would fry us. Exploding stars can sometimes create destructive energies if you are too close, and too close is a very long way, but it’s probably not halfway over to Andromeda. Really big events like colliding black holes are rare enough to be really distant. The magnetic fields generated by our Earth’s turbulent core of iron protect us from some radiations and might do so even outside our galaxy.

Perhaps our galaxy is providing us with materials that drift in and give us extra matter and energy, but all of these things don’t seem to make much difference now that we are here. On first look, it seems that our Sun and our Earth would get along just fine when floating along all alone in deep space, we humans, love looking at our stars at night, but if we were halfway to Andromeda all we would see on a black night would be a few soft galactic glows. Of course, when great telescopes like we presently have were made, it would make our lonely world a lot more exciting. It would make our existing at all even stranger than it already is. Presently, we are just one of a hundred billion stars in our galaxy but if we were all alone we would feel even more isolated and more special than we already do.

Perhaps I should follow suggestion 52, to desire only things which I can honestly earn. By that idea there isn’t much to be earned by such speculations if I were floating so very far away from everything. Even a two-way communication back to the Milky Way would take millions of years for a reply, and it would be very boring waiting for an answer.

Being absolutely isolated makes working with your fellow beings for some common goals the meaning of your lives.