We Are Made of Star Stuff...So What?

We Are Made of Star Stuff...So What?

By TabbyTabby | The Lonely Places | 8 Oct 2021

I've heard and read the idea that human beings are made of "star stuff". Usually, this is a phrase said by devout scientists with atheistic and materialist leanings.

I've never understood the value of being made of star stuff.

If a star is nothing but matter, randomly distributed across the universe, careless of where it is, unthinking, unknowing, purposeless as is everything else that exists, that I am made up of bits of stars really doesn't matter, does it? I could equally say that I am made up of meteors, due to the number of meteors that have impacted the earth and whose detritus floats around in our atmosphere. Actually, if we want to be precise (and scientists are all about precision, which makes the claim of being made up of star stuff really stupid, because the amount of "star stuff" in a human body is next to nil), we'd have to say that we are made of water.

That's not nearly as charming, though, is it?

So really, is this all this phrase means, something that is true to a vanishingly small degree, which confers no value knowing, nor has any deeper meaning? It's just a cute phrase used to camouflage despair. "Take heart! Your wife leaving you isn't so bad - you're made up of star stuff!" That doesn't really help. It's a physical reality that doesn't mean anything, because nothing in an atheistic framework has any real absolute value. Put another way, this phrase has the same value as "Star are stuff of made up we."

Could it mean that human beings are special? Not really, because all life on earth is made up of the same "star stuff", so yay, I have as much value as an opossum. Knowing that my value is the same as a creature routinely run over doesn't help when I'm facing my own mortality. Sorry cute phrase admonishers, but no; it doesn't help me at all.

Does this mean that human beings are rare? Well, with more than a billion of us on the planet, rarity is not even plausible. So we're not rare, except perhaps in the scope of everything else in the universe, but you can't go too far with that. If human beings are unique among all life forms, or are the only life forms, that would point towards purpose and design, and of course, this phrase absolutely does not mean that. Put on your grim straitjacket of reason and emotionless dispassion already!

In the end, all I can think this phrase means is just another sleight-of-hand promoted by people who haven't faced the despair of their own world-view, and whom are dancing away from obvious conclusions. They can't even face the fact that their pet phrases don't work within the framework that they inhabit. It's like they are smuggling in meaning through a back door, trying to build upon structures (rarity, awe) that they deny have any meaning. It's fundamentally dishonest and really, less than helpful to people who struggle with meaning, life, and death.

We are made of star stuff? So what?


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I write. I program. I make music. I am of the tribe of liberty.

The Lonely Places
The Lonely Places

Fixing thoughts and evanescences like butterflies beneath glass

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