header photo

Project Vision 21

Transforming lives, renewing minds, cocreating the future

Blog Search

Blog Archive


There are currently no blog comments.

We are neither the best nor the only ones nor the most powerful

At the end of the Star Trek episode "Errand of Mercy" (S1-Ep26, March 1967), the famous Captain Kirk reflects on how difficult it is to accept that, despite what one may believe, humans are neither the best, neither the only ones, nor the most powerful ones in the universe.

In the Star Trek fantasy, Kirk comes to this double conclusion (we're not the best and that’s hard to accept) after an encounter with the Organians, a race of disembodied beings that are evolutionarily speaking so far apart from humans as we humans are from amoebas (in Spock's scientific opinion).

Being pure energy and thought, the Organians can, just by wishing it, prevent a galactic war, without hurting anyone and without asking for anything in return. (Hence the title of the episode). That evolutionary, altruistic, and merciful level of existence is impossible to accept for those who, like the Federation and the fictional Klingons, only prepare for war.

All fiction aside, recent scientific advances highlight the smallness and fragility of humans. For example, recently the University of Western Sydney detected a super massive black hole that expels material covering a total distance of more than a million light years.

To get an idea of what that distance means, we would have to travel about 250,000 times from Earth to the nearest star in Alpha Centauri to cover a similar distance. Of course, if we travel to Proxima Centauri and come back, we will have to complete only 125,000 of those trips. 

And two weeks ago, the European Space Agency, using telescopes in Chile, captured an explosion caused by the collision of two neutron stars that in 10 seconds produced as much energy as our sun produces in 10 billion years.

In that context, our most destructive weapons, our most unpleasant fights, our most intense desires, and our noblest goals become insignificant and even unpleasant (which is the word the Organians used to describe humans.)

That insignificance should move us to deep humility, a personal, intellectual, and social humility that makes us see that we were never at the center of the universe (as our ancestors believed) and that we are not and never were at the top of creation.

We are what we are: beings of ephemeral existence living on a small rock in a distant arm of an insignificant galaxy in an ocean of countless galaxies. And we are probably not alone and never were in this universe.

But, instead of accepting our smallness and taking it as a starting point for a deep analysis of our own existence (our “place in the cosmos”, as Max Scheler called for), we reduce the universe to the point of shrinking it so much that we are existentially suffocated by social networks, fake news, and irrelevant (and narcissistic) opinions.

Perhaps for this reason, the Organians (or their equivalents in real life) see us with such disgust, because we still do not see ourselves as we are (“cosmic amoebas”), nor as we could become.


Go Back