I believe humanity considers itself too important. I believe we’re a dot on a pinpoint in a speck in the arms of one of billions of galaxies hurtling through the mind-bogglingly large universe. And I believe that that fact doesn’t matter.
I recently discussed with a friend the comfort some people take in knowing that their atoms will eventually be reused and become part of something else in the universe. This struck me as odd and a little redundant. It seemed to me as if these people took a basic fact and decided it validated their existence. And I thought, ‘Why?’
Why does there need to be a meaning, something more? Why do people feel they must be part of something greater, that things can’t just be as they are? Why can’t people just look at life, breathe deep, and say, ‘This is good’?
We constantly hear that we are special. Parents, teachers, peers, religious figures, political leaders, pop-culture personalities: all imply to some degree, that we are special, unique, different from and better than the rest. Obviously it makes us feel good. But why? Why do we have to stand out? If no one will remember you or your actions a century after your death, does it make your experiences any less real, your life any less enjoyable?
I believe that it doesn’t matter. I believe I am, in the grand scheme of things, rather insignificant. I am not a mover and a shaker, the world does not revolve around me, and the mighty shall not look upon my works and despair. And I believe that that doesn’t make a difference. I can, and will, enjoy my life, doing as I see fit, and allow others to do the same.
When my paternal grandfather died, I stayed awake several nights asking myself ‘What happens to us when we die?’ I could not come up with an acceptable response. No matter how I looked at it, I found no satisfactory answer that did not rely completely on someone else’s answer, and none of those made much sense to me anyway. This scared me. The prospect of not knowing what happened to my grandfather or what would happen to everyone I knew, including me, terrified me. Yet one night it came to me: why did it matter? Nothing could be done about it and the answer did not affect my life in any meaningful way. Regardless of what happens, I have this life and all of my family and friends. Who cares what happens to me after I die? Not me, I’ll be dead.
I believe humans are so insignificant that all of our posturing and delusions of grandeur are beyond ridiculous. I believe all the power, fame, and wealth we accrue won’t count for anything in the long run. Yet I believe life is worth living, if for no other reason than we have it, might as well enjoy it, and help makes others’ lives more enjoyable as well.