Monday, April 11, 2011

In The Really Long Run

A man said to the universe:
"Sir I exist!"
"However," replied the universe,
"The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."
-Stephen Crane

If you don't like feeling small and inconsequential, skip this entry.

The universe is what it is, and we are very small to think we can do anything to affect it. It will continue on its merry way with or without us, and long after we are gone.

Sure, we can destroy this planet with our petty ways, but there are potentially an infinite number of other planets out there, presumably some of them will be just like our own, though hopefully without the same pesky infestation.

Who do you call when you have a bug problem? What about a human problem? Is there any conceivable way to exterminate us?

Perhaps the universe has already found an answer to that question.

It is true that we are continually finding new ways to survive the troubles, illnesses and disasters, that the universe has throw at us, but as we overcome each, we find a new one, far more resilient than the previous, waiting for us. It stands to reason that one of these days, we will find before us a mountain that we have no hope of climbing.

What then is the point?

To leave behind a human legacy? When humans have gone, who will be able to understand and appreciate it?

To leave behind a legacy cut in stone? Stone, even diamond, wears away over time.

There is only one thing left: to take with us something greater. What could be greater? Achieving self-actualization for ourselves.

Aiming to succeed to something, achieve a landmark only we can do on our own is a selfish idea, but they are selfish ideas that make our civilisation run. Striving to make yourself a better person is the most selfish thing you can do, and yet it is the one thing that benefits us all.