It’s getting repetitive, isn’t it? At least I used a different picture this time.
I am standing on a beach made up of sand created by the pulverizing effect of water against rock over millions of years. In front of me stretches an ocean that covers 46% of the planet I live on and contains an estimated 714 million cubic kilometers of water. Over on the left there is a big ball of condensed gas – about 3/4 hydrogen at present, that has been undergoing hydrogen fusion for around 4.5 billion years. It is actually quite large, but looks smaller because it is fairly far away – around 150 million kilometers. The big ball of fusing hydrogen provides pretty much all the energy for making anything and everything happen on earth. It does so every day, without fail. Right now it appears to be pretty low on the horizon, but that is because the ball of matter I happen to be standing on is spinning at a mean speed of 1670 kilometers per hour. This, however, turns out to be a rather paltry speed compared to the 1.33 million kilometers per hour that the big ball of fusing hydrogen, the smaller ball of matter I am standing on, the ocean, the sand, and the atmosphere (which, incidentally, is causing the photon released by the ball of fusing hydrogen, to red shift – providing a nice colorful sunset) are travelling through the universe at a speed of around 1.33 million kilometers per hour relative to the cosmic background radiation of the universe.
You can’t see it in the photo, but I have a gold ring on my finger. As far as anyone can tell the only time conditions exist to create gold out of hydrogen occur when a very big ball of fusing hydrogen blows up. The reason that we have gold lying around on our chunk of rock is that a long time ago a big ball of fusing hydrogen blew up, and some of the pieces of that explosion drifted over to where a cloud of hydrogen was in the process of coalescing into our solar system and got incorporated.
Behind me (not in the picture) is the photographer – my wife. I wear the gold ring made of exploding star stuff that predates the creation of our solar system to symbolize my relationship with her. Before it belonged to me – a relatively short period ago in cosmic terms – it was worn for the same reason by her grandfather to symbolize his relationship to his wife. The hand Sophie is using to hold the camera bears a ring – made of that same star stuff – that belonged to my grandmother to symbolize her relationship with my grandfather.
Do I even need to discuss now the complex genetic and behavioral dance that went on to create Sophie and I, the vast and complex social and personal decision-making processes that caused us to meet, the vast sea of biology and chemistry and cognitive behavior that brought us together?