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We Are One Person—Barbara Goes All “Oh Wow!”

We Are One Person — Barbara Goes All Oh Wow!”

There’s a scene in National Lampoon’s Animal House where Pinto, played by Tom Hulce, says to Jennings, played by Donald Sutherland, OK, so that means that our whole solar system could be like one tiny atom in the fingernail of some other giant being (giggle). This is nuts! That means that one tiny atom in my fingernail could be…” And Jennings finishes his sentence with, “…could be one tiny little universe!” Some scientists and philosophers — like many stoners past and present — have been pondering this our tiny world on the tip of a finger” theory for some time. (Sure makes getting a mani or pedi seem far more consequential. Could clipping and filing the tips of our nails be the cause of national disasters?) 

Anyway, that scene from Animal House popped into my head the other day on a phone call with a friend, Jim from Cape May. We hadn’t spoken in a few years, so we did a catch-up that took us through events over the past four years, which, of course, touched on the COVID pandemic. Jim talked about his sister, a nurse, all she had seen through that global nightmare and all he had learned from her about public health. Most notably, he came to understand how interconnected we are, how the actions and health and well-being, or lack thereof, of one of us affects all of us and how the human race is one living organism, connected to every animal, vegetable, mineral on this planet and beyond to the stars.

Astrophysicists, like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, are clear on the topic. Life on earth — we, and the carbon that makes a good part of who we all are — came from the stars. Yes, We are stardust. We are golden,” as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young sang. And we are more connected and alike than many of us would like to accept. 

(Image: The Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant and pulsar wind nebula in the constellation of Taurus, courtesy of the Hubble Space Telescope/NASA.)