In the grand scheme of things, we are nothing but a speck of dust floating on a bigger piece of dust that orbits a larger piece of dust all inside one piece of dust that is larger still. A great example of how insignificant our rock is this picture (bottom), taken by the Hubble space telescope. In this, each speck of light is an entire galaxy. Each galaxy contains millions, billions, of stars. Each star could, and probably does, have multiple planets orbiting them. As a species, we have just now reached the edge of our own cosmic bubble in our solar system. Voyager 1, launched in 1977, reached what we deem "interstellar space" in 2013, traveling at 17,043 meters per second.
Despite being nothing but dust in the cosmic sense, we mustn't think little of our lives here. The cosmos has very little effect on our daily lives. Our lives are everything here on our piece of dust; each of our action, no matter how small, can have a powerful effect. The starfish story is a great example of this. In The Starfish Story, an old man is walking on the beach where thousands of starfish have washed up. He is picking up one at a time and throwing them back to the sea. A younger man tells the older man that his efforts are futile. He will never be able to save even a tenth of the starfish along the beach. He will never make a difference. The old man responds by bending down, picking up a starfish, throwing it out to the sea and saying "I made a difference to that one."
This story demonstrates how an act that seems little to most people, can mean the world to someone else. One small act of kindness by one small speck of dust floating in the vastness of the cosmos can mean everything, can impact life and death. This post can be viewed as morbid and as inspirational. On one hand, we are nothing in relation to the big picture, but in a way this can give us purpose. Life does not last very long, it is one flicker of dust in the cosmos. But for us traveling together on our rock through space, we can make the best of it. We can realize how our actions impact others and try our best to overcome any challenge that faces us.