The most awesome thing in the universe

The most awesome thing in the universe is arguably the universe itself. And for the sake of this argument, let’s not discuss whether the universe is actually inside itself of not, ok? Thanks. One could regard the universe as a bunch of matter governed by a specific set of laws. While these laws have shown to be particularly difficult to describe precisely (for us humans at least), they must be relatively simple compared to the complexity and diversity of the wonders they yield. Why does galaxies form? Because of the fundamental natural laws. What about planets? The natural laws. And what about seemingly complicated things such as dogs, platypuses, humans? While natural selection is the mechanism with which living things evolve, it is ultimately also a result of the natural laws. You could even argue that enigmatic concepts such as human love is ultimately just a manifestation of the natural laws but let’s not go there in this post. Regardless, you may now have a minute to ponder and marvel these astonishing concepts. I know I do every time I think about it.

But what is the most awesome thing in the universe, apart from the universe itself? We have a lot of very awesome contestants to consider: The Pyramids of Giza, Earth itself, Mona Lisa, the LHC, Chuck Norris, the iPhone, Porche 911, tardigrades, The Beatles, cute kittens, cosmic black holes. The list is long.

I think the most awesome thing in the universe is the human brain. It is absolutely mindbogglingly amazing. And I’m not just talking about Einstein-like genius brains. I’m talking about the ordinary brains given to most of us. The brain, like all other matter in the universe, is made up of atoms: molecules and chemicals in a chaotic yet structured system. Signals travel at near the speed of light hither and dither, back and forth, via the force of electromagnetism (there’s the natural laws again). To outsiders (aliens?), it probably wouldn’t look like much. An ugly bioelectrical useless messy chunk of meat.

But from this cluttered meatball, the most peculiar things emerge. Thoughts. Awareness. Consciousness. How is that even possible? And with human consciousness comes its colourful companions: creativity, intelligence, curiosity, love, jealousy, embarrassment, lust, excitement, pride, and so on. And don’t even try to comprehend all the things these aspects of the human condition in turn give rise to. Science, literature, architecture, the arts, technology, etc. All due to the weird curled up muscle behind our eyes.

The brain’s ability to ponder the fact that it exists and question what that means is, as far as we know, unique - no other thing in the known universe does this. In a way, the brain is just atoms trying to understand itself even though each atom knows nothing about anything. It’s nothing but remarkable.

And do you know what the best part is? I own one of these exquisite apparatuses myself! There’s an unfathomable amount of weird structures and things in the universe, ~99,999% of which are just lifeless gasses, rocks, etc. The brain is truly unique and extremely rare in that sense. It is the most amazing thing in the entire observable universe, and I actually have one myself. Wow! And I’m pretty sure you have one of your own as well. Accept my sincerest congratulations - I’m very happy for you. I feel fantastically grateful for having one and I wholeheartedly hope you do too.