Is Your World Too Small?

In recent centuries, our collective knowledge of the cosmos along with everything else has increased astronomically. Now we know that in size comparison, our solar system is to the universe what an atom is to our solar system. One result of this knowledge is that we have a tendency to view everything through what I'll call a telescopic perspective: We live, as they say at Walt Disney, in "a small, small world." Not only that, but technological advancement now allows us to live and move in our small world at high velocity and high volume. We can travel great distances at great speed in cars and planes, seeing many brief glimpses of our tiny world. And when we aren’t traveling, we are squeezing into our short days as much activity, browsing as much information, and interacting briefly with as many social relationships as we can.

We live in a small world at high speed. And the problem is that this way of living tends to produce spiritual barrenness rather than richness.

The Big Picture

That's why G.K. Chesterton, ahead of his time as usual, was sounding this warning more than a century ago and telling us to get our microscopes back out:

The truth is that exploration and enlargement make the world smaller. The telegraph and the steamboat make the world smaller. The telescope makes the world smaller; it is only the microscope that makes it larger. Before long the world will be cloven with a war between the telescopists and the microscopists. The first study large things and live in a small world; the second study small things and live in a large world. (Heretics, chapter 3)

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