The world and the universe are both vast and awesome in size and variety. Leaving aside all of the weird stuff that's implied by extrapolating the laws of physics, and even the weird stuff we've seen and confirmed, hell, leaving aside everything beyond the bounds of the solar system, the world is full of all sorts of interesting and strange things. Just the Earth alone is mind-bogglingly huge (humans seriously suck at comprehending numbers outside what can easily be visualized, that's why we love metaphor so much) there's an amazing variety of ways which people have created to deal with the many and varied repeated tropes of human existence, including all sorts of ways to make really big numbers into something comprehensible.
That's awesome. In the literal sense, inspiring awe. The thing about awe, it can turn into wonder, or fear. Which makes sense, as big awe-inspiring things like avalanches, giant water features, sabertooth tigers, or mammoths used to also be deadly. And still can be, if you're not careful. So I suppose bit of fear is a healthy thing our genes are happy we have.
What I really don't understand are the people who look at this kind of awesome variety and endless possibility, and then pretend it doesn't exist. People who (sometimes more, sometimes less) metaphorically stick their fingers in their ears and shout "LA LA LA LA LA!" Not just like the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
, which thinks if you can't see it, it can't see you, they think if they don't acknowledge the world, it doesn't exist. Or, at least, it's Somebody Else's Problem
Though in many ways, this seems to be a fairly common human trait, it's applicability to aliens is based on extrapolating from a sample of one.
But I guess, what I really don't get is the why. Why someone would chose to treat the awesome wonders of the world as if they didn't exist. Why someone would choose a life that was deliberately smaller, that was deliberately less interesting, that was deliberately full of less possibilities. Maybe fear of the unknown is that strong. Maybe it's the comfort of familiarity. Maybe it's fear of feeling small and tiny and insignificant. I don't know, like I said, I don't get it. I can sort of get my brain to that place, but not really get it.
I am only human, after all, and I can only be shaped by what I know and what I've done. And growing up, the unknown wasn't ever presented as something terrifying and scary. The giant emptiness of space, or the variety of the world wasn't something to fear, it was something to explore.
When it comes down to it, I'm an optimist. Partially by temperament, and partly by choice. I have faith in humanity as a whole, for all the ways we such and fail, we're persistent and bloody clever and can be our better selves. We're not perfect, and probably will be, but we are better than we once were, and we can be better still. We can be smarter, we can be more compassionate, we can be stronger, we can be more just, we can be better. Yes, our monkey brains evolved to throw sticks and stones may eventually be able to comprehend the workings of the universe, or at least come up with better and better models, there's always a twist. So all the weirdness and distance and STUFF out there is something to figure out, something to appreciate, something to discover.
And I guess that's why I don't get the people who want a little universe, with them at the center. I just don't see the point, when there's so much more out there. Imagine if there really where dragons in all those "here"s.