You know that video that was put out a few years ago?
I came across it the other day when I was scrolling through Instagram instead of being productive.
It’s of that girl, and I think they named her Louise, to make it more relatable or something.
And she’s lying on the grass I guess, and it starts zooming out, from her face
And of course you see that she’s lying in the Google headquarters, because of course some lady named Louise would just be lying on the grass in the middle of the Google headquarters.
It starts zooming out, and it’s labeling all the stuff we pass.
And it gets to this galaxy, and it keeps going out and out, until it’s like, purple.
And then it goes way back in, and then you see the girl lying in the Google headquarters again, she hasn’t moved, she’s just lying there, looking like some kind of national security threat, with that knowing smile on her face.
And then it goes into her eye.
And you’re wondering why this isn’t some sort of interactive ride at Disney by now,
And maybe you should invent it and become a millionaire, but that won’t solve world hunger.
So it goes into the eye, and it gets smaller and smaller, and it goes into the vertebrae or something.
And it gets to the atom, and your class that’s watching the video is like, “ooooo, aaaaahhhhh.”
And then your teacher who is showing you the video is like, “Look how much nothing there is between the electron and the nucleus! Almost all of the universe is just that space. Everything is mostly nothing!”
And you’re like, “Crap, everything is mostly nothing?”
And you’re totally stupefied for the rest of class and you don’t know what this means about existence.
But then class is over and you can go to lunch, and you have a calzone to heat up in the microwave, and those are the best.
And that’s it.
You know that video?
Well I never really got it.
That’s probably because my puny human brain can’t comprehend it.
We’ve always known the universe is massive, infinite, impossible to grasp.
Well, not always. But long enough.
And the everything is nothing thing is pretty profound, but you just don’t think about it.
Like how you don’t think about that place somewhere that isn’t here that is just a town of trash, where everyone’s lives are completely centered around trash.
Of course you could think about that.
You probably should think about that.
‘Cause ignorance is what’s gonna kill us all.
But I think that before you think about the everything is nothing predicament,
You should think about the town of goddamn trash.
Where people live with trash.
Where their entire lives are covered in trash.
Think about that.
That atheist guy in Life of Pi said that thing about “Why look beyond, when all the beauty and saving we need is right here on Earth?”
He’s totally right.
People needed a way of explaining the unimaginable, heart-exploding, soul-boggling, ethereal beauty they saw all around them. And like, to not be afraid of death. So they found religion, which is all about the earth, and the sky as we see it from the earth, and trying to comprehend, and if not comprehend, then simply love, all of it.
And in Mansfield Park, Mary Crawford says they should just give up on Tom, and assume he’s gonna die, and then use his money to stick Maria back into the crap-ass life she hated.
But we can’t give up on Tom!
Tom is everything!
I know that humans were made to reach for the stars, to go above and beyond.
We’re curious and smart, and we thrive on it, because it is what drives us to discover and hope, and hope is what drives a revolution, and a revolution is what we desperately need right now.
But if we found a way to live on mars,
Or billions of trillions of universes within all the nothing that makes up everything, then we would be leaving Tom behind!
And we can’t do that!
Not only did Tom give us life,
Not only do we owe Earth everything
Look at it!
The art that has been created here!
The love that was fallen into!
The history that was made!
This place is a flipping breeding ground for life
For sustenance, a soul!
For literally everything that makes being a human worthwhile!
So not only would it be selfish and cruel to forget this place, to leave it behind, to prove everything ever said that the humans are a greedy, destructive species right,
But it would be to abandon the spiritual, cultural, knowledgeable, passionate hub of humanity.
The thing that must, after all these years, be in the very center of us, in our lifeblood, essence, spirit, core, oomph, whatever you want to call it.
We are this Earth.
Our limbs are its trees, and our tears are its ocean.
Its sun is our eyes, and its horizon is our smile.
Winter is hope, and spring is hope manifested into flowers.
We cannot give up on this Earth,
No more than we can give up on ourselves.
Charlotte Roberts is 16. She’s a sophomore at Four Rivers Public Charter School, and a grateful inhabitant of temperate New England. It’s March, and she loves hearing the first birds when she goes out to the car in the mornings. Her passions include orange flavored candy, people in high school finding things in common about elementary school, a little device her dad found at IKEA that froths milk, and large, coordinated musical numbers in streets. Charlotte writes because it helps her feel like she’s a real member of her life, and she loves the people whom she’s met because of it.