No more nations. No more wars. No more killings. We all
have almost 8 billion (8,000,000,000) friends on Earth. We
just haven't met them yet. Why not a pandemic of love, a
worldwide picnic of peace, not for a week-end, but for a year,
or maybe forever. We live on the only planet in our solar system,
the one tiny planet we call Earth, that allows human beings, and
other living creations, like animals and plants, to live. Our solar
system is the only one we currently know of that permits our kind
of life to exist. There are, on average, 8 planets in each solar system,
but there are an estimated 100 billion (100,000,000,000)
solar sysrems just in our one galaxy, the Milky Way. Further-
more, there are an estimated 2 trillion (2,000,000,000,000) galaxies
in the universe. So do the math. Approximate the number of planets that plausibly could sustain life in the universe: take the number 1 (the mumber of planets in each solar system that might be able to sustain life) times one hundred billion (100,000,000,000), the estimated number of solar systems in each galaxy) times 2 trillion (2,000,000,000,000) the estimated number of galaxies in the universe. Whatever that end product is is beyond the capabilities of my computer's calculator, and is, for certain, mind-boogling. The end product gives each one of us a mind-
bending sense of enormousness of our universe and informs each one of us how many neighbors we have yet to meet. Why is the speed of light so fast, you ask? It is so fast, so when we discover how to travel at the speed of light, or even faster, we can scoot around our universe and meet all our new friends. Picnics galore! Think of all the hot dogs and hamburgers and scoops of ice cream we can share with them! We have lived our lives myopically for millennia, and we remain blind to the potential of the future. It is out there waiting for us. Put your assualt rifles, your hydrogen bombs, down and pick up your piece of interstellar peace, a veritable Cosmos of peace, but please go easy on the mustard and relish.
Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet, a novelist, and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.