It can be beneficial for you to feel insignificant. Senior journalist Richard Fisher explores the advantages of embracing vastness.

He was standing at the foot of Yr Wyddfa, formerly known as Snowdon, in north Wales, about a week after his father’s death. He was overcome with emotion that day as he realized his mortality. But at that very moment, letting his thoughts wander up into the sky and being made aware of how small he was seemed cathartic—almost fulfilling. When we come across something enormously larger than ourselves, we may experience a range of feelings, including awe, wonder, and humility. It can be easy to overlook the fact that there is still a large and mysterious universe out there that has yet to be discovered. Perhaps this is due to the fact that so much of life is now conducted on a smartphone screen a little larger than our hands. What was once uninhabited and wild in the 18th century is now bustling with tourists or easily found via a quick Google search. Or perhaps it’s just that we’ve given up looking. After all, the present is already too complicated due to information overload, advancing technology, injustice, global warming, and other factors.

According to psychologist Frank Keil, wonder is what motivates creativity and research when facing the unknown. It raises the questions “how, what, where, when, and what if” about us. One of the strongest drives we humans possess cannot be taken away from us. With these viewpoints, we can approach the terrifying unknowns of our time with reverence and attention, strengthened by the combined wisdom and creative force of humanity.