Or, what do you think is your place in this world?

Think about this for a minute.

Now watch this video.

Feeling a little less important in the big scheme of things?

There is no easy way to understand how small we really are. If there was, we would probably go mad, as anyone who has read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would appreciate. Of particular interest in the book is a torture machine called the Total Perspective Vortex (TPV)� which does exactly that. As this Wiki explains,

The prospective victim of the TPV is placed within a small chamber wherein is displayed a�model of the entire universe – together with a microscopic dot bearing the legend “you are here”. The sense of perspective thereby conveyed destroys the victim’s mind; it was stated that the TPV is the only known means of crushing a man’s soul.

Most of us however, are like Zaphod Beeblebrox when he was in the computer-generated universe created by Zarniwoop for Zaphod’s protection. Because the universe was created for him, when Zaphod is put into the TPV, it tells him that he is the most important person in the universe!

And there lies the funny bit – we all are the most important people in our own universes, but not in the real universe. It is important for us to realize both of these perspectives – I believe that every individual should recognize our importance in our own life, but be cognizant of the fact that we play a very small part in this big universe. Lack of the former will make us insecure, while the lack of the latter will make us a megalomaniac.

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