Center of the universe

Published 8:37 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013

For 10,000 years, humans gazed into the nighttime sky and watched the stars revolve slowly past. The sun bore down upon their craniums as it passed from the eastern horizon to the west.

It made perfect sense that all the known universe — all that could seen by man — revolved around his world, his reign, his territory. Certainly, he was the center of his kingdom, sovereign over his domain.

The discrepancies noted in the planet’s positions were explained, in the second century A.D., by Ptolemy’s complex geometrical explanation of the supposed paths of epicycles, or circles on circles, thus solidifying the argument.

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Not until a millennium later did Copernicus realize that the motion of the planets could more simply be explained with the sun, rather than the Earth, being the center and the planets revolving around it, including the beloved Earth.

This shocked the scientific world and startled the average man. Much to his dismay, everything did not revolve around him.

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He entered the world measuring 19 inches in length and weighing in at 8 pounds 6 ounces. His already blonde hair brought “Ooo’s” and “Ahh’s” from his adoring audience.

Their life turned upside down as this delightful bundle of flesh tumbled into their previously relaxed schedules. His schedule required regimented feeding, diaper changing, cuddling and napping, only to start the process all over again.

In his little eyes, these large beings hovering over him served only to make his world more comfortable.

If he cried, they fed him, his food warmed perfectly and just the right amount. Should he soil himself, he was cleaned and a fresh, smooth, aromatic fabric was gently placed around his midriff. While he slept, others tiptoed through the household, talked in low tones and gently closed doors.

His sphere, as far as it went, involved others catering to him. And so it went until a series of events occurred. He noticed his parents conversing and laughing apart from him. An event on the playground left him excluded. Attention was sometimes diverted entirely away from his particular needs.

A growing awareness of his natural surroundings — flowers blooming, bees buzzing, clouds billowing — revealed a large sphere of activity occurring completely apart from human endeavors.

Much to his dismay, everything did not revolve around him.

Rex Alphin of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald. His email address is