Words By: Jake Reynolds
Sometimes, reminding oneself of the insignificance of humanity can provide solace. Today is one of those days.
As if the spinelessness of the ALP backing the Government’s metadata retention policy wasn’t depressing enough, Michael Danby, a Jewish Labor MP, walked out of the House of Representatives after Tony Abbott branded Bill Shorten “the Dr Goebbels of economic policy” during question time.
Anger, action and argument are, of course, vital responses. But sometimes it is reassuring and calming to remind oneself – if only for a moment – that in the context of the passage of time and the awe-inspiring vastness of space, these problems are ultimately specks of insignificance.
This is not a plea for political disengagement; I am of the view that disengagement ultimately leads to a greater concentration of power in the hands of the already powerful. I am merely pointing out something that I have recently come to realize: escapism can be therapeutic, inspiring and re-energizing. And little else breeds escapism like the contemplation of infinite nothingness by gazing into the sky. That is, unless the sky has been illuminated by swirling clouds of vivid green, purple and red light.
Star-gazers all over the world have been treated this week as perfect atmospheric conditions set the night sky ablaze in both hemispheres. The Aurora Borealis could be seen as far south as parts of the USA, while the Aurora Australis danced over parts of the southern hemisphere earlier this week.
Stunning images have been appearing on the internet all week, but this video uploaded by astronaut Terry Virts overnight takes the cake. Virts was on the International Space Station as it traveled across the North Pole and Russia when he captured the amazing footage.
So, if – like me – you have found yourself becoming increasingly exasperated and depressed by both sides of politics recently, take time out to escape in moments of beauty and awe like that captured by Virts, however fleeting they may be.