The Total Perspective Vortex

Vortices are swirling around in my mind these days. Not only because of Hurricane Sandy, but also because I’ve got to prepare a couple of lectures about vorticity in fluid mechanics to give next week. Anyway, all that reminded me of this classic sequence from the original radio series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by the late great Douglas Adams. I particularly agree with the conclusion “that if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion”.

3 Responses to “The Total Perspective Vortex”

  1. As the clip reveals, Adams’s quip that ‘if life is going to exist in a Universe of this size, then the one thing it cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion’ is about more than just being overwhelmed by the size of the cosmos. Or rather it is about what can seem to follow from that – namely, our cosmic insignificance. Perhaps the most interesting thing, though, is the following. In a certain way, that thought of insignificance fails to make sense; and, yet, that very fact gives it more purchase.

    To explain: a retort to ‘from the point of view of the universe, we matter not a whit’ is: the universe has no point of view! *But* that can seem to make us matter even less . .

    (Just my tuppence-worth – although, to be honest, I suppose that, really, I am plugging my book. Commerce corrupts! Still, nice to see a clip from Hitchhiker’s.)

  2. […] A blog about the Universe, and all that surrounds it « The Total Perspective Vortex […]

  3. Nick Cross Says:

    Like Zaphod, I assume I the greatest thing in the universe. It is much healthier as he proved.

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