There is a danger in humanity losing a connection to the cosmos, for it means not only do we risk losing perspective (Earth isn’t the Center of the Universe), but we also risk becoming disconnected from thousands of years of human history.
What is the story of the Three Wise Men following a star to a barn if a “star” is just something one might see in a book? And how many other cultures have important stories that refer to the heavens whose meanings will be lost without those guideposts, the stars?
What happens to the “Signs of the Zodiac”? What does it mean to be a “Pisces” if there are no constellations in one’s frame of reference? How does one respond to Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd,” which includes a beautiful, romantic, poetic description of someone determining the time of night by reading the constellations above?
Humans were once able to read the sky just as we read the newspaper today. They could find the time, determine coming weather systems, even navigate the oceans just by knowing how to read the sky.
Sure, we have lots of gadgets that do those things for us now, but that isn’t my point. There was a time – maybe 100 years ago – when we not only didn’t have the gadgets, but we didn’t even need them. We had the sky – the stars, the planets, the moon, plus the knowledge of how to read them.
We are rapidly moving in a direction where not only have we lost the knowledge, but we’re losing the stars too. All we’ll be left with are the gadgets. Imagine how Thomas Hardy would sound today: “He stood and glanced at his i-Phone which told him it was precisely 11:23pm Eastern Standard Time.”
We are losing the poetry.