Do we exist as something significant in this UniverseEveryone knows that our body is made up of matter. But the matter itself is basically a collection of molecules which in turn are a...
Everyone knows that our body is made up of matter. But the matter itself is basically a collection of molecules which in turn are a combination of atoms. Thus essentially we are composed of atoms.
Atoms have most of their mass concentrated in the nucleus whose size is very small as compared to the total size of the atom - the rest is a void.
In the other hand concentration of mass in Black Holes is not comparable.
So our phisycal existence seem to be a perception in this wast Universe - we do not exist significantly, and even if we exist, its mainly a void.
One might argue that, so far as we absolutely know, life in general -- and human life in particular -- is the only significant thing in the universe in the narrow sense that only living things are capable of creating and perceiving meaning and creating and perceiving value. It is possible that there are other living, conscious beings in the universe, and it is also possible that the entire universe was created by some kind of living, conscious being. It's possible to argue that these two criteria -- being alive and being conscious -- are the two criteria fundamental to significance.
Since we aren't likely to ever know "THE ANSWER" to where life comes from or its purpose, we can only make the most of the "matter" we have and make whatever large or some impact we can in the smaller world we live in. I am referring to my immediate world. I have great significance in my family. I make significant contributions to the educationof the students in my classes. I do what I can to make my community stronger and more viable through volunteerism and economics. It makes my life meaningful that I can value my own significance in these ways.
Surely our size is not what makes us significant or not significant. I would argue that it is our humanity that makes us significant. If you are religious, you can say it is our souls. Whatever it is, it is not our size. Just as you would not say that a larger human being is more significant than a smaller one, there is no reason to say that we are insignificant because we are small.
Amen #3! We may be constructed of physical matter which is insignificant relative to the vast Universe, but the amount of matter--doesn't matter. Current physics indicates that the makeup of subatomic particles of which the atoms are made are just wave forms.
What's important is what we do with this experience called life, even if it's to comprehend our origins and purpose.
Yes, I think that significance is not a blanket term that we can apply to a species such as the human race. We need to be far more nuanced in how we think about such terms. For us, our significance is not defined by our existence but by what we do with it. This is the question that we should be asking ourselves.
I love the answers of the previous posters. I could not agree more that it is not size which determines relevance; instead, significance is determined by an individual. I agree that partly "being alive and being conscious" which makes us significant as well.
Thanks for your comment at 10 above
"Each individual is a speck of dust in terms of importance to the universe. Yet there is only one planet we know of with life. This is significant"
It has very concisely summed up the significance of the planet. I am going to add that human race is the only known life form that is more intelligent than any other life forms. Human intelligence is so superior that its not even comparable with intelligence of any other species. This makes us really significant hence we must bow down to the Creator for his generous magnanimity.
May I conclude the discussion that it is not the quantity of matter we are composed of but the deeds through which we make ourselves significant and noteworthy for the community, the human race and the world as a whole. The deeds could be for the benefit or detriment which determine our goodwill or malevolence in the society. The religious are tempted to go for such benevolent acts to seek the favour of the Creator - the God. The non-believers improve their standing and satisfy their egos through such accomplishments and prove their significance in the society.
All the above posts indicate that it is not the size or "matter content" but the soul and the life that make things significant. The question arises from where does the life come and what is its purpose.