305. Existential Crisis

Continual reading of Mr. Green’s works has put me into a drawn-out, watered-down form of existential crisis.

After all my talk of immortality, when we get really serious about it, there’s no real way to be immortal, is here? (Past spiritual solutions, that is.) One day life on Earth will cease to exist, and there will be no eyes left to see or no ears left to hear the words that we’ve left behind. Failing that, the collapse of the universe should do the trick.

Even in a multiple-universe scenario, every one of those universe will also have to collapse and end one day.

(although, strictly for the sake of staying constant with the theory, there MUST exist a universe where there is zero entropy, causing it to be the universe in which nothing will ever end, and it just goes on… Forever. Universe Prime, probably)

Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, there’s just something cripplingly infinitesimal about our place in the universe. Just last Friday, as I was driving away from work, looking up into the late afternoon sky that was turning from pale blue to burning orange, I had the opportunity to briefly consider us humans:

8 billion of us now, and if you dumped all of us into one spot, we’ll just fill a very large lake. We are nothing compared to the size of the earth. Yet earth is only 1 out of 8 planets orbiting a solar system that’s only one of of the billions of stars in the Milky Way, which is only one out of the 47,000 galaxies within the Virgo Supercluster, which is only one out of the millions of superclusters in the observable universe.

And don’t even get me started on how tiny our observable universe is compared to the ever-expanding universe.

You think about how small, how transient, how fragile our cities and civilizations are, and you must wonder what are we doing, getting ourselves stuck in the same damn traffic jam day after day.

It’s a little bit like playing video games, I guess. You boot up the game, your character gets “birthed”, and there’s just this whole incredible world ahead of you to explore, so many things to do. In all the excitement and multitudes of distractions available, it’s easy to forget that at the end of it, there’s nothing but the rolling credits. When you’re immersed in the objective of the moment, it’s easy to forget that you’re essentially manipulating a whole bunch of 0s and 1s for fun.

After forgetfulness, I think the human ability to be easily distracted comes in an easy second as the most underrated superpower ever. If we weren’t so distracted with the day-to-day worries: getting to work on time, getting projects done, making the significant other feel happy, choosing what to eat for lunch… We’ll be very much crippled by the thought of how ridiculously small and insignificant we all are in the big picture.

It’s probably dread enough to send our species into mass suicides and eventual extinction.

We are but mayflies at sunset. It’s a pretty sad thing to think about; but hey, at least you get to see the sunset in all its splendor. Feel the water resistance under your feet. Feel the bristle of the fine hair on your skin as the breeze wafts past.

(I’d mention getting swallowed by a trout, but that’ll be going off-topic)

In a world that is just as soon here this moment as it is gone the next, it’s pretty easy to rationalize skipping work for a day just to sit around, and… Enjoy the view. To just bask in the moment, and become aware that, in the vast expanse of time, you are ALIVE right now to see and hear and smell and feel and love and cry and be fascinated by a million interesting, stupid things.

Before the next distraction comes and takes the wonderment away.

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