Morning thoughts on humanity’s irrelevancy

People are so tiny and the universe is unimaginably vast. We live and we die and the universe never notices. For a little perspective: If the history of the universe were compressed into a single year, with the Big Bang occurring at midnight on January 1st, Homo sapiens wouldn’t show up until 11:54 pm on December 31st. If everyone on Earth died tomorrow, there would probably be no one mourning us: if the Earth died tomorrow, nothing more extraordinary would occur than the universe increasing in metallicity by 0.01% and Mars enjoying a less impeded view of the sun. How little we matter is positively absurd: this is how I make sense of life and death. If the universe cared, our lives and the fact that they cease wouldn’t be so disturbingly random.

It is a liberating thing: to know that you mean nothing. Meaning nothing when everyone else does too is a wonderful feeling: you’re all in it together, and yet if someone judges you, well, she’s just a puny human whose opinion matters so little that it’s definitely somewhere in the negatives on a scale of one to “universe altering.” And yet… there is something beautifully paradoxical about this whole idea, because how little we matter means it’s that much more important to strive to create the opposite impression: to ourselves, to the world, to the universe. And once we can appreciate that, we can empathize with everyone and everything from our fellow humans to our fellow beetles: all striding forward into life with the same purpose and all so infinitesimally small in the grand scheme of things that we can finally begin to see how equal “we,” living beings on planet Earth, really are.

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