Saturday, 23 March 2019
An Ode to Life
Morning folks. How's life treating you?
Life is weird isn't it. We're here for a short time with no discernible purpose and many of us spend most of our time in a state of unease, anxiety and unhappiness.
Why is our species prone to such negativity and has it always been this way?
Who knows eh?
Evolutionary Biologists like Richard Dawkins tell us Homo-Sapiens have been roaming the Earth for around 100,000 years.
Seems like a long time right?
Well, the figure pales into insignificance when we we consider how other forms of human walked the deserts and savannas millions of years before.
Dawkins asks us to think about a piano keyboard's length representing human existence. If we consider where Homo-Sapiens sit on this keyboard, we'd have to go all the way to the right and a small sliver of the very last key.
It's a humbling thought, isn't it?
Us, humans, existing for such a short time, historically speaking, and yet here we are rulers of the Earth and masters of the food chain!
Here we are unraveling the human genome and experimenting with DMT to edge ever closer to revealing the meaning of existence!
My goodness, we've come a long way as a species since we start our journey. It's a cool thought, isn't it?
I want you to imagine Dawkin's keyboard again if you will, and this time focus on the amount of space between humans first appearing on the scene and then us Homo-Sapiens taking over. Imagine the amount of time. Imagine how long a century takes to pass and then think of time in terms of millennia. Add to that millions of years and your head begins to fizz.
What the hell were we doing for all that time?
As the vast majority of this period is what's known as 'pre-history' meaning it's before writing and art, we'll simply never know how us humans whiled away our days. What can infer though is that we hunted and gathered and moved around. We would have been fit and healthy. Our diets would have consisted mainly of nuts, fruits, berries and plants with the occasional bit of meat. We would have been focused on the here and now and cared little about the future.
With this heightened momentary awareness, I wonder if ancient man was happier than today's man.
Today's man with his property and portfolio. Today' man with his self-development and exercise regimes. Today's man with his cars and gadgets. All of these come at a cost, not only financially but also socially. Today's man must exchange his finite time in exchange for money which he uses to buy products and services that promise to make him happier and more fulfilled.
The question is do these products and services do the business? Do they make us live happier lives?
I think the jury is out of this one, folks.
Pre-historic man would have had lots more free time to sit around breathing in fresh air and admiring the view. If we forget about the small matter of defending his family from the ravages of wild animals, his life seems pretty sweet: Get up a dawn, amble into the forest, collect some berries for breakfast and then hang out with the family.
Today's man, in contrast, wakes up worrying about his unfinished project, fights his way through rush hour traffic, arrives at the office to face people he doesn't like, works like a mad man for 10 hours and returns home shattered while the evening invades the avenue (cheers JJ).
I hope you'll excuse my crass oversimplifications, but for the sake of my blog post I hope you'll look the other way.
So, do I have a point after all this rambling? Do I have a golden nugget of wisdom to leave you with so you can continue your day enriched and energized? Probably not.
However... I want us all ponder upon how incredibly lucky we all are to be alive. Think about the odds of being alive in the first place, think about the statistical probability of being born on planet Earth. Think about all the living species of animals and here we are as conscious beings philosophizing about metaphysics! It's crazy, isn't it?
Once we learn to appreciate how incredibly unlikely a conscious existence is then we can enjoy life more. Minor irritations will simply melt away when we look to the sky, breathe deeply and meditate on the chances of being here in the first place.
So, folks, at some point today, I want you all to do just that. Walk outside to a quiet place and think about how amazing, unusual and short life is. Spend time with those you love and tell them they are special. We are all special. We are all freaks of existence, so let's enjoy ourselves while we can and make the world a more positive and fun place to be.
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