I buzz with excitement every time I hear news of the discovery of another new planet – whilst being fully aware that there are hundreds of such discoveries every week. Today’s BBC news provided artist’s impression of the newly discovered exoplanet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri.
Roughly earth sized, 4.2 light-years from our own solar system and circling in the ‘habitable zone’ which allows for the possibility of liquid water being present, there is, therefore, the possibility of ‘life on Proxima b’.
What excites me about this discovery is its ‘sound’. In it I hear a call to rise above our tribal perceptions of earth-bound ‘change and decay in all around I see’. That’s not the end of the story. Important as life on Earth undoubtedly is, and clever a creature as humankind has certainly evolved to become, we don’t yet know all that there is to know!
Time and again I come back (some might say ‘in prayer’) to what has been called a doctrine of provisionality. Less reliance upon absolutes and inappropriate certainties. I have the strongest sense that it’s often when we’re at our most confidently assertive that we’re most destructive.
Moving inexorably beyond our various incarnations of ‘flat earth’ mentality we can have faith in a better, richer, more and more evolved future. And it begins with quiet contemplation and appreciation for all that we’re in the midst of learning, right here and now, in the very ground of our being. Today.
Change and promise is what the call of Proxima b holds out to me.