Bigger space

Honestly, life is comical sometimes. Late last evening I blogged a micro-post on Little space (the Divine at the heart of the inner life) and went to sleep still thinking about “the whole universe is in that little space …” – and then shortly after waking this morning, the first thing I read was a Huffpost Science report:

Black Hole Eats A Star The Size Of Our Sun … And Burps

The belch sent out a jet of matter moving at nearly the speed of light … This cosmic giant has no manners … Some 300 million light years away, a supermassive black hole has swallowed a star and burped up a jet of matter at nearly the speed of light, an international team of researchers has found.

The star is about the size of our sun, but the black hole is 1 million times as massive. So it snared the stellar meal in its gravitational pull, according to Sjoert van Velzen, a Hubble fellow at Johns Hopkins University who led the research.

“A star getting swallowed by a black hole is not new, although they are still rare,” he told The Huffington Post. “Only a few dozen of these unlucky stars have been observed so far. What is new about our study is that we first saw, in great detail, the star getting torn apart and then found the high-speed outflow — aka the jet.

Huffpost Science, (full article) 1 December 2015

Clever as the research team undoubtedly is, the scale of this celestial event – a star “about the size of our sun” (the effects of which are well known to us, though it’s 93 million miles from earth) – pulled in and consumed by a heaven-only-knows-what that is “1 million times as massive”, 300 million light years away, sending out “a jet of matter at nearly the speed of light” – surely, surely gives our strident human certainties – religious, philosophical and scientific – at least occasional cause for pause, together with a humble recognition that what we don’t know is still almost infinitely more than we do.

Isn’t it time, in the course of our human evolution, that we grew out of some of our more dangerous fundamentalisms, immaturities and intransigencies? Shouldn’t research on this sort of scale leave us all rather more humbled, and awestruck? How might some of our twenty-first century devastation be resolved – worldwide – if all of us, religionists, philosophers and scientists all, could help each other have a better sense of perspective, and both inner and outer scale and space?