10/10/10 post: the original “Powers of Ten” movie, and a reflection

In honor of today being 10/10/10, the original “Powers of Ten” movie has been posted on YouTube by its original authors. Here it is (watch on YouTube to view at 480p resolutions):

There is the mysterious passage in Exodus 33:20, where G-d says to Moses: “for none shall see My Face and live”. Elie Wiesel used to interpret this as “…and live as before”. Eventually Moses is allowed to “see” G-d, but not his face. My mental image of this, reading the passage for the first time, was of Moses being shown something a bit akin to this movie, but in an infinitely more vivid fashion: the radical perspective of just how insignificant man is on the scale of the Universe (and its Maker), and how man actually fits in the context of the Universe, is something very few people at the time would have been truly (emotionally, not just intellectually) able to grasp without surviving the experience — or being forever changed.

In the words of one of the greatest poets ever to grace the English language:

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of Thee,
And thou, O L-rd, art more than they.

We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before…