How insignificant are you?
Let’s ponder that for a moment just to get a little perspective. In the larger cosmic scheme of things we are less than microbes. We are nano-scale specs living on a slightly larger spherical spec, hurtling around a yet larger spec, which is in turn hurtling around the presumed black hole at the center of the Milky Way. This blob of stars and probably billions of planets is also floating its way in ultra slow-mo through the larger universe, which may for all we know be a giant mass of galaxies swarming around yet another even larger, as yet unknown amorphous object.
We live on a giant ball, underneath is molten death and above is the vacuum of nothingness called space. We live in a tiny envelope of atmosphere that is razor thin compared to the vast distances of the surrounding cosmos. Everything here is alive and moving. The ground beneath our feet is ever changing and the tectonic plates beneath are moving constantly, the oceans are in constant movement, the winds and the weather, the vegetable and animal life as well. If the earth were suddenly destroyed by a giant asteroid or other absurd calamity, and all life on it wiped clean, who would be around to mourn? The Universe wouldn’t lose a beat. The sun would keep shining and the planets would keep circling and perhaps no one and nothing would even register our lack of existence. We are, in the larger scale of things, completely and utterly insignificant.
It is highly likely that no one beyond your grandchildren will even remember your name after you pass on, and nothing that you do will greatly effect things one way or the other on the planetary scale. Unless of course you think about your contribution to pollution and waste and consumerism slowly but surely depleting the planet of its resources, in which case you are surely just a cog in the machine, and we are all just continuing on the great tradition of spending the inheritance of future generations up front, and loading up the cosmic credit card. I am sure that all of the great inventors and scientists of years past would be greatly heartened to know that all of their hard work and toil to improve the station of man on the planet and lessen his burden of labor has resulted in generations of bored people who don’t know what to do with themselves and don’t feel like they have the skills to do anything significant. People who feel guilty for being alive and breathing because they are told they are destroying the planet by owning a car and cooking food to eat every day.
It is this universal guilt trip that makes many of us fall into passivity and apathy, drowning away the deep convictions and conscience that we still have in pointless pursuits to escape the feeling of powerlessness. Social media, entertainment, sports, food, alcohol, video games, etc. etc. All of these things are pacifiers.
You can’t walk forward from this point of view without giving up. And by giving up I mean giving up yourself. Giving up your ego and selfishness and desire to be significant. You need to fully embrace your insignificance before you can step forwards into living a life of significance and integrity. Because if your motivation to be important or to leave your mark on humanity is simply motivated by guilt, shame, fear, or even insecurity- then it is at heart a disingenuous act, even if what you are doing is veiled in altruism.
So I invite you to embrace your complete and utter insignificance. If you truly realize how useless and futile your efforts are in the big scheme of things; you might, just maybe, be able to walk forward into the real purpose for you existence on this strange planet. Only when you have completely given up, can you start to ask yourself the important questions and start getting answers that are not self-indulgent bullshit.
Big questions. Questions like, who the hell am I? Who are we? How did we get here? Why am I alive? Why to I get out of bed in the morning? If I had all of the things that I thought I wanted right now this second, would I still be unhappy? What can I do to change the things in the world that I don’t like? Do I really need to live the way that other people tell me to or the way that I perceive other people are telling me to live? What happens when I don’t conform to the social norms just because I want to fit in? Maybe I don’t want to “fit in” anymore?
Only then will you start to see that your life and actions are in fact deeply significant. Not because you need to be rich or famous or smart or pretty or ripped or talented in order to be happy of self-assured. You will start to see that society itself is terrified of divergence from the script. You will see that all of the walls that you thought were surrounding you were in fact imaginary. You will begin to see that billions of dollars are invested by lots of very smart people to keep you locked in the prison of your own mind. Locked in the prison of what others are thinking or not thinking about you. About how you look, about what you think, about what you buy, and what religion you believe or don’t believe, about whether or not you are “liked” or not liked.
And then, and only then, when you see this perverse system of control for what it really is, a mechanism for social control, can you begin to do something truly significant. You can stop the madness. You can get off this roller coaster. You can run. You can fly.You can stop caring and spending your time destroying your own life and start building another way to do things. Construct your own social norms. If you don’t like them, change them. Invent your own life, and don’t live the shitty third-rate script that was prepared for you by the illusion of “society”. Wake up from the social nightmare, and into a dream that you create for yourself.
Only then can you understand how earth-shattering your every day decisions are. Many of us are waking up from a generations long sleep. It is tempting to fall back asleep into the norms of society, but it can’t last. And the truth is that your smallest inclinations all add up to power the existing status-quo, or to dismantle it. You can remain a slave to society and it’s dictates, or you can free yourself from that tyranny and choose something different.