Your body is made of start dust that has existed for about fourteen billion years. The history of the universe is the history of how you were born. You’re the universe incarnate. Your body is made of trillions of atoms that form billions of molecules that form millions of cells that form a network of interconnected tissues and organs that all add up to create a walking, talking, seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, thinking, dreaming, loving, learning, hurting, glowing, reproducing organic machine. The blueprints of your body are incomprehensibly elegant. To say that you’re intelligently designed is an understatement. I don’t know if there’s a God or not, but it looks like a lot of love, attention, and genius went into the design and creation of every living thing in the universe, including you.
Try to imagine what the universe was like before the big bang when the universe was nothing more than something that could have existed. At that first moment, what were the odds that almost fourteen billion years later one small pile of atoms that had been dancing and swimming across the cosmos would coagulate into an inconceivably elegantly designed organic bipedal supercomputer that is self-aware and thinks it’s you? My guess would be the odds of that happening are either one in infinity or zero. I don’t know why we exist or what the meaning of life is, but the rarity and brevity of life sure seem to point to the conclusion that life is inconceivably important… including yours.
If you ever get to doubting your importance, go climb a mountain and watch the sunset and the stars come out. Stand in the cold night air and gape at the oceans of atoms in the night sky swirling through eternity. That’s the universe that gave birth to you, and that’s what you are. You’re a shining, cosmic miracle living in possibly the grandest, most elegant, albeit dangerous, playground that could possibly exist.
Nothing you can ever do or not do will change how important you are. Everyone has their own reasons why they doubt their self-worth, and many of those reasons seem to have merit. We all fall short of our potential, and we all do things we regret. We all hurt people, sometimes very badly. We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of. Even when we think we’re doing everything right, sometimes the world just keeps beating us down until we’ve spent so much time on our belly that we feel like an animal.
The irony of that is, we are all animals. We’re pretty clever monkeys, but we’re more primitive than we tend to admit. Our brains may be cosmic supercomputers, but they don’t have enough storage space to begin to comprehend an iota of the knowledge out there. Since we weren’t born with an instruction book we don’t even know what we’re supposed to be learning anyway. We’re all so lost we don’t even know how lost we are, and that’s how we’ll spend the rest of our lives. The silver lining in the existential despair of existence is that we’re all doing amazingly well under the circumstances. We all deserve a pat on the back for being able to function in society at all. Also, our failures and imperfections were inevitable. You shouldn’t get any madder at yourself or anyone else for screwing up than you would a two-year-old.
Life hurts bad, and it hurts often. Then, at the end of it all, we lose everything. Some of the pain we endure is unjust, but all of the pain we endure is the cost of living. Fortunately for you, even though on one level you’re nothing more than a monkey lost in a storm, you’re also still an intelligent, autonomous, bipedal cosmic supercomputer. You might not be the smartest, fastest, strongest, most beautiful, most successful monkey, but you’re still one of the rarest, most powerful forces in the universe. Your five senses, thumbs, and legs effectively give you superpowers, and the more you learn the more superpowers you can have. As long as you’re breathing, there’s something you can do to find and enact solutions to your problems. You have the power to change your environment. You just need to use your superpowers and never ever, ever quit.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but help is out there. In fact, you already have more help than you can imagine. It’s important to bear in mind that the universe itself has already spent almost 14 billion years giving birth to you, and it’s still helping the trillions of atoms in your body operate in perfect unison. The gears of the universe are always spinning inside of us, around us and to the farthest corners of the cosmos. The universe is always doing something for you.
Before you were even born, generations of human beings toiled in the mud to keep your bloodline alive. People have fought and died for you. People have devoted their lives to understanding the universe so your generation will be less lost than theirs. You weren’t born in the mud because your generation is being held up by the accomplishments and sacrifices of every generation before you. You’ve been given so many gifts unconditionally by your ancestors that you should feel grateful to the point of feeling indebted.
On the other hand, your ancestors also did a lot of selfish, hurtful things that make life suck. The religious, political and economic systems they handed down to your generation are woefully flawed and cause immeasurable suffering. Even though there are members of your own generation who want to maintain the status quo and keep profiting from the problems in your life, there are millions of people out there willing to be your ally if you just reach out to them. There are some people you’re going to be compatible with, and there are some people you aren’t. If you’re surrounded by people who treat you with indignity and make you feel like a subhuman freak, you need to reach out on the internet and find a tribe you fit into. I guarantee you, it’s out there somewhere.
If your mental health is so low that you’re contemplating suicide, you should reach out to a suicide hotline, an online suicide hotline, support group, forum and/or professional therapist. Those resources are out there. Help is out there waiting for you, and seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of wisdom.
Sometimes suicide seems like the only solution to your problems, but it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and if you haven’t already sought help then suicide isn’t really your last resort. You still have multiple options before even considering that. If you’re willing to give up everything you have to escape your problems via suicide then there shouldn’t be anything holding you back from sacrificing everything in the pursuit of improving your life via paying for therapy, spending time at support groups, moving to a more peaceful place or traveling the world.
Why make even more sacrifices to stay alive in a world that can be so cold? Because your life is bigger than your pain. Any support group will tell you life gets better, and the harder and smarter you work the better it gets. You might not get everything you want out of life. You may never see Rome or Paris or the Aurora Borealis, but the entire universe is littered with potential awesome experiences. The most rewarding experiences out there are the ones you have with the people you love, and those people are out there either right in front of you or just around the corner. Even if they’re on the other side of the planet, you can still reach them if you’re crafty and tenacious enough.
The more positive opportunities you seize and the more positive experiences you have the more they’ll shape you into a stronger, wiser, more complete person. The better of a person you become the better of a life you’ll experience. As long as you can grow, your life can become more joyful and fulfilling.
Even if your life turns out to be nothing more than a cosmic accident and your existence is ultimately meaningless, you can still shine in the brief time you have before you die anyway. You don’t have to climb a mountain to find that. You’re already a miracle experiencing a miracle. You can feel that anytime anywhere. All you have to do is let go of your worries and just be.
Yes, there are problems in this world that we can’t just ignore in an oblivious haze of naïve optimism. But if there are problems in your life that you can fix then you should fix them and not worry about them. If there are problems in your life that you can’t fix you should accept them and not worry about them. Either way, there’s no point in enduring life’s problems if we don’t take time to stop and bask in the positive aspects of life as often as possible. That’s what makes life grand. That’s what makes life worth living. That’s why you’re lucky to be alive and why you shouldn’t cut short the priceless, brief opportunity you’ve been given.
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The Meaning of Life
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