In Praise of Giants

Lonely traveller by Craig Sefton (CC BY-NC-ND)

Lonely traveller by Craig Sefton (CC BY-NC-ND)

i am a little church(no great cathedral)
―e.e. cummings
Gigantic multiplied by colossal multiplied by staggeringly huge is the sort of concept we’re trying to get across here. —Douglas Adams
Look again at that dot. . . . That’s us. . . . Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by . . . this distant image of our tiny world.
―Carl Sagan
And anything that makes you feel small is mighty good for you. —Christopher Morley


I am thrilled by the massive creatures of the world: great blue whales and giant squids; saltwater crocodiles and wild water buffalo; elephants, giraffes, and giant tortoises. Their enormity overwhelms my senses, forcing my perspective and making me feel wonderfully small.

And we should feel small. Our destructive influence on the world is out of all proportion with our size. Our reach extends our rightful grasp. So if nature can occasionally shake our cozy illusions, forcing us to see the world with fresh eyes, I welcome every humbling moment.

Nothing throws life into sharp relief like the looming jaws of death. But humans’ predators have become abstract: age, poverty, illness, redundancy. We don’t stare down mortality and thrill in survival, we flail in minutia and drown by degrees.

Sound bites and color, campaigns and trends, schedules and errands, chores and red tape—the constant noise of daily life muddles our vision. It takes stark contrast—the more startling the better—to crystallize it.

Bring on the breathtaking giants.

What do you think?