In the pre-technology era, there was no GPS and there was no Internet. People used to mark directions according to the position of the stars. That helped a lot in determining the correct route. Stars were the GPS of the generations of human beings for thousands of years. They rescued our ancestors.
After the arrival of technology, we have solved a great deal of problems of our past, whether they be of survival or luxury. On the survival side, these problems include diseases, lack of education, clean water and security for most of the time.
On the luxury side, we are warm when the weather is cold and cold when the weather is hot. We have access to a variety of foods from all corners of the world. We travel in fast cars and sleep on soft beds. In fact, as funny as it sounds, the wants of one generation become the needs of the next.
While solving such problems for us, technology has given us psychological problems such as social isolation and an always busy mindset that can result in unnecessary stress.
In this post-technology period, we spend most of our time indoors. We are living in cages of our offices, homes, restaurants and shopping malls. There are too many lights during the night any way thus blocking most of the stars. It actually happens very seldom that we experience a full starry night.
Whenever I do, even if it happens once in years, I find it amazing. A sky full of stars puts things in perspective and injects a dose of calmness in our minds. It is a great therapy for busy and stressful minds. Interestingly, I recently read the book Tools for Titans and found a similar idea of stargazing as a therapy.
In words of BJ Miller,
When you are struggling with just about anything, look up. Just ponder the night sky for a minute and realize that we’re all on the same planet at the same time. As far as we can tell, we’re the only planet with life like ours on it anywhere nearby. Then, you start looking at the stars, and you realize that the light hitting your eyes is ancient, [some of the] stars that you’re seeing, they no longer exist by the time that the light gets to you. Just mulling the bare-naked facts of the cosmos is enough to thrill me, awe me, freak me out, and kind of put all my neurotic anxieties in their proper place. A lot of people — when you’re standing at the edge of your horizon, at death’s door, you can be much more in tune with the cosmos.
The author Tim Ferriss also describes how he reaps disproportionate rewards as compared to the effort through the stargazing therapy.
The stars are actually there to rescue us this time not from being physically lost, but from being mentally lost as the pace of life gets even quicker.