Astronomy’s Lasting Influence on Human Thought

climate chage
The fate of the Earth is in human hands. How will we respond to that reality? Source: Bended Reality.

If my short study of Astronomy has taught one thing, it is how influential Astronomy has been on our way of thinking as a species. This influence can be seen in ancient times, when civilizations such as in Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, Egypt, China, India, and Greece placed Astronomy and Astrology at the centers of their ideology, usually in the form of religion. The modern changes in our comprehension of Astronomy, whether the understanding of heliocentricity, the discovery of new planets, stars, and galaxies through advanced telescopes and mathematical predictions, or the model of space-time, have each changed the way humans not only see the universe around us but also how we see ourselves. Just as Kepler’s discovery that the sun was the center of the solar system changed much of how we perceived ourselves (as we could no longer be the center of the universe), so also has the probability of life on other worlds caused us to question our place in the universe, our identity as a species. Only time will tell how we will define ourselves or how species from other planets, if such species exist, will see us. Maybe we will be defined by global wars or self-imposed destructive climate change, or maybe we will adapt and solve these problems. Regardless, Astronomy has done much to prompt these questions which it itself cannot answer. It is up to us to address these questions; and address them we will, even if we do not set out to.

2 thoughts on “Astronomy’s Lasting Influence on Human Thought

  1. You make a good point on how astronomy has had a lasting impact on how we live on Earth. Despite all the problems we have to handle on this planet, much of our actions and motivations have been driven by the bodies above us. Knowing that there is a whole universe outside of our own world certainly makes me thing differently, and it has shaped human thoughts for millennia. It can make us feel insignificant, small specks in the grand scheme of things – or it can inspire us to seek out more answers.

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  2. I’ve always found it interesting that humans were so influenced by the sky even before they had the technologies to fully grasp what was happening. Discoveries in astronomy always seem to shake the world and change people’s thoughts in ways that discoveries in other fields cannot. Hopefully the legacy of the human species will be one rooted in intellectual thought and curiosity.

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