Commencing with Copernicus, western culture increasingly adopted an attitude of domination, of hubris, an attitude brooking no limitation to man's effort to master the universe. We sit today in a position of health, comfort, luxuries, and increasing longevity. Before Copernicus, the chips were down, we felt insignificant and small, like a football team that lost a large lead right before half-time. But we came up big.
Big in every way: Big buildings, big technological leaps, big increases in wealth, big government, big armies. On the individual level, we conduct the course of our lives on the notion that big is good: Big houses, big-paying jobs, big companies, big aspirations, big dreams. Size matters, and everyone wants to be big.
But we are little. We are created little, specks on a speck in the universe. We exist in a little way: For the atheist, a short existence followed by nothing. For the believer, a spiritual existence that is limited to whatever participation in God allowed to us. In earthly existence, each is merely one of billions, occupying a minute fraction of the earth, with an existence that will be forgotten within one hundred years–a span equal to 2% of recorded human history, a time span nearly impossible to place in numbers next to the earth's duration, a time span impossible to quantify next to eternity.
In short, existence screams littleness at us. Bigness is a massive delusion. It is, in fact, a demon. Every delusion is, by definition, a negation of truth, and the untrue–the lie–is the faculty of the Devil, the Prince of Lies. It follows that big, being a delusion, is one of his minions, out to do the Devil's work.
To defeat this demon–to be true to existence, to live in harmony with our created status–we must, to borrow a phrase from comedian Steve Martin, get small.