5 min readJun 10, 2024


Where do I fit in all of this… time… and space???

Spatial and Temporal Scale

First: A note about disputed data…
I have done my best to research and corroborate the data presented in this article. There are multiple potential sources for almost all of the data. There is widespread concurrence for information about recent history, however, deep history data has less concurrence.

In this article, I am attempting to describe where I fit in, and for that matter where all of us as individual humans fit, in the scope of time and space. Each of us know that, as humans, we will probably live less than a century, that is only a tiny fraction of the age of the universe as described by the scientific community.

I was born in 1950 which makes me 73 as I write this article. As a young child I remember having nightmares in which I would visualize a very large object hovering just above me. I had the sense that I would be crushed or overwhelmed. This may be common in young children, I don’t know.

Ever since those childhood dreams I have had a fascination with the size of things, especially the relative size of things. As a child we see ants and other small creatures. We may also see creatures that are much larger than us, an elephant perhaps. How do we grasp where we are in the spectrum of animal sizes, or even within the size of all things, from subatomic particles to microbes, to a tiny ant struggling to move a small twig, to a giant Sequoia tree, to a huge mountain, to the Earth, to our solar system, to our galaxy, to everything…

Every day we wake up and go about our business… all within the scope of our personal scale. Our spatial scale…

Consider also, temporal scale… Time. Just as it is with spatial scale, it is also difficult to fully comprehend temporal scale, or the scale of time. Our personal time in this universe is utterly inconsequential compared to the temporal scope of the entire universe.

The following chart provides a graphical representation of time. For example, the length of my life, 73 years, as compared to the time since Lewis & Clark crossed the north American continent 220 years ago, or the time since Columbus sailed across the Atlantic ocean 532 years ago, or the time since Christ was born 2024 years ago, or the time since the Great Pyramid of Khufu was built 4600 years ago.

If I extend this chart to include the emergence of the first humans, about 300,000 years ago, in order to keep the chart small enough to fit on a single page, the first three categories would be so small that they would not be visible at all, the time since the birth of Christ would be visible as a small sliver, and the Khufu Pyramid would be only a little more than that. But 300,000 years is an incomprehensibly small portion of all time. In fact, what is “all time?”

NASA says the universe is 13.7 billion years old. Reading that I am inclined to ask, “Okay smartypants! What was going on 13.8 billion years ago? Nothing??? And then everything just suddenly popped into existence.” That seems to be what they are saying.

The chart below is my effort to illustrate the expanse of time. Ostensibly, the expanse of ALL time. The first bar on the left side represents about 72,000 years. I chose 70,000 BC as a significant point in time because there was a gigantic volcanic eruption of Mount Toba (on the Indonesian island of Sumatra) which nearly wiped out all the humans on the planet. After this cataclysmic volcanic eruption, it is estimated the total human population on planet Earth was only about 2000.

That is “time”, what about SPATIAL scale? The size of things…

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The Toba volcanic cataclysm reduced the worldwide human population to about 2,000. TWO THOUSAND humans… TOTAL… on the entire planet. I live in the town of Langley, on South Whidbey Island, which is just a little north of Seattle Washington. Our little rural town has a little more than one thousand people living in it. After the Toba eruption, the total world-wide human population was just a little more than the number of people in my little town.

As much as I try to illustrate these numbers… the number of people, or the number of years, or the relative size of things… It is all truly difficult to comprehend.

I am an incomprehensibly small spec in the vastness of the universe, and at the same time incomprehensibly huge compared to the atomic particles of which I am comprised.

Here’s a good one… The number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy is estimated to be between 200 and 400 billion, the number of neurons in a human brain is estimated to be about 86 billion. Roughly the same number of nerve cells in my brain as there are stars in our galaxy. No no!!!! I think my head is about to explode!!!

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As with time, we commonly are only concerned with things that are more or less within the scope of our personal scale. A human baby is about 7 or 8 pounds at birth, and about 20 inches from head to foot. The average size of human adults varies widely, both in weight and height. Caucasians tend to be a little taller and heavier than asians.

An average American adult MALE weighs 200 lb. and is 5 feet 10 inches tall

An average American adult FEMALE weighs 170 lb. and is 5 feet 5 inches tall

Humans have traveled from the Earth to the moon. That is about 238,900 miles. That is more than 200,000,000 times an average human height.

Catalonia’s Human Tower — 8 Human Heights

While we humans have managed to travel the distance between the Earth and our moon, traveling to other celestial bodies, even within our own solar system, as much as we may dream about it, is somewhere between improbable and preposterous.

Even going to Mars is overwhelmingly difficult. If we were to attempt that journey, it would take us 6 months to get to Mars. Then, we would have to set up a habitat so we could live there for two years, waiting for the orbits of Mars and Earth to sync up, so the return journey would only take 6 months.

Okay… I’m having a meltdown… I think I will go out to have a beer on the patio… Hi little birdies… I hope you are enjoying those seed I put out for you.




On the internet they can’t tell that you’re actually a dog…