We people take ourselves way too seriously. We think too little and act too much. We listen too little and speak too much, yet never truly say what we want to say. We split ourselves up into personalities to fit into the roles we are expected to play – each person being just a pathetic semblance of our true self. In school, it’s the obedient Oswald, in college, it’s the studious Steve, in office it’s the hard-working Harold, at home it’s the angry Adam. In all the hustle and bustle of juggling between these persona, we have forgotten that we are greater than the sum of these fractions of our individuality. What we need is to take a step backwards and ask ourselves “Where the hell did I come from and where am I going?”
Think for a moment about the time when you were a kid – when you still had the ability to marvel at the bulge of a water drop, or the air brushing past your hair, or the sunlight streaming in through the window, exposing a million fluttering dust particles floating aimlessly in space. Think for a moment about the time before you were even conceived in your mother’s womb. Or the time before your parents. Think of all the people who have lived throughout history whom you never had the chance of knowing. Think about the Neanderthal and the Australopithecus whose main concerns were how to survive the day without starving or being eaten alive and not what I should wear to impress that hot chick who smiled at me yesterday. Think of the mighty reptilian dinosaurs who roamed freely through the planet before a renegade meteor sealed their fate. The very place you are sitting at right now might have once witnessed an epic territorial dispute between a stegosaurus and a tyrannosaur. Think about the first photosynthetic organisms – the prokaryotes – who gave off oxygen as a waste product, releasing it freely into the atmosphere and making evolution of advanced life possible. You owe your existence to these tiny single-celled beings who have survived for fifty million of your lifetimes. Think about the time after you are gone. Your first death. You still continue to live in the memories of your loved ones. Time passes, they do their deeds, meet their ends much like you met yours. The last person to have any memory of you dies. This is your second death. From now on, no one knows of your existence. You become a mere statistic for the books – Six million died in India in year 2078. Without you, the figure would have been one shy of six million.
If we really are this insignificant in the grand scheme of things, what really is the point of living at all? Why not just put a bullet through the head and vanish without causing as much as a flicker in the grandiosity of the universe? We wouldn’t be wrong in thinking so – we do matter very little and our presence or absence hardly causes a ripple in the cosmic ocean. But consider the alternative. Since none of our actions are going to have any far-reaching consequences, we are free to do anything we want! Performed badly in exams? Girlfriend ditched you in favor of someone else? Think your life is ruined? In another billion years, the Sun will become too hot for liquid water to exist on Earth. That’s when life will be ruined. Worried about whether or not you made a good impression in last night’s party? Guess what, there will be no more parties to attend when the Andromeda galaxy rams into our Milky Way in another 4 billion years.
Once we can stop being so stuck inside our heads all the time and look – truly look – at the world as it exists outside the self-centered pseudoworld created by our mind, we cannot help but look back and laugh, “Those were my concerns and worries?”
Peering deeply into space might just become my new favorite pastime!