I was 13 years old when, while laying on my back gazing at a crisp night sky, the awesomeness of the scale of things came to me as a thunder strike. On this evening I became amazed that I was gazing back into time, while situated as a hunk of sentient flesh prostrate on a thin layer of dirt and rock stuck to the surface of a planetary sphere. And, even then, it wasn’t at all adolescent solipsism, but, rather, that anyone could look so far away and so far back. This insight has informed my perspective ever since.
Then, a few years later, I investigated the cosmic scale of creation and destruction, and came away impressed again that entire galaxies may crash into one another. This puts a whole new spin on the mere, and in this light, inconsequential problem of mortality.
A near galactic-collision between NGC 2207 (left) and IC 2163 captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists predict the Milky Way will merge with its neighbor Andromeda in about 5 billion years. (USAToday)