In recent months, I’ve been struggling with my mortality, as well as the fact that the universe is too big, vast, and ancient – and permanent – for me to make any significant impact.
I live on a tiny speck of dust, floating in an ocean of stars. All our history (and future) is limited to a few thousand years of this little wet particle. Whatever I can build or achieve during my lifetime, is temporary – it will only push this world a tiny bit.
The sad thing is that we are too small, insignificant, and doomed to perish right where we are, without ever being able to see or appreciate the beauty and vastness of this physical universe.
And on top of that, I could die at any time. I have no way to know whether it will be today, in just a few hours, or 70 years later when I’m 100 years old. Life and death are unpredictable.
To make matters even worse, I do not know what will happen when I’ll die or what lies “after” that event. It has nothing to do with whether I choose to believe in God or not – the fact remains that I don’t know. It could be blissful heaven or burning hell, or it could be the END, i.e. eternal darkness and unconsciousness – with all my memories and experiences forgotten and lost forever — or it could even be an afterlife here on Earth (or somewhere else?).
To summarize this gloomy picture,
- We are born in a tiny corner of the universe, where we barely have any control over what happens around us, and can do nothing that is remotely meaningful given the vastness of space and time. Our actions and choices have no consequence in this universe, nor can we understand how it truly works.
- We are dealt a card, in terms of the physical body and mind we’re given by luck, the family and society, and the technological era we are born in.
- We are doomed to die, sooner or later. We have no idea when this experience called “life” is meant to end – in a few minutes, or in a few decades. We also don’t know HOW it will end – painfully or peacefully.
- We do not know what death even is. It’s the ultimate unknown. It could be the “end” as our minds cease to exist, or it could be the beginning of another journey (which could be painful, pleasurable, or something else).
- We do not know if we even have any free will, or is everything pre-written and destined to happen, with us simply being puppets of time – thinking that we have any choice at all.
Our “life” could practically be an illusion altogether, with us being AI characters in a simulation.
The Way Forward
1. Life may be short, therefore – chase the fleeting experiences and simple pleasures. Ichi-go, ichi-e. Be playful, don’t take life too seriously, and welcome whatever lands in your plate. Share love and positive energy.
2. However, life may also be long, and afford us enough time to achieve great ends and be all we can be – MAXIMIZE and OUTDO ourselves, polish our craft, and think BIG. Push for societal and technological change.
On both points, we must actively seek risks and double our failure rate.
Be playful. We “spawn” into this world as a game character. Have fun.
You might have plenty of time. Take your inner gifts, and polish your crafts. Strive to become a more perfect soul.
Whether you have little time or lots of time, think bigger. Even your wildest possible ambition is a safe, boring choice when placed within the eternity of time. Stop pontificating over trivial things, stop playing small.
Swing for the biggest home runs you could possibly imagine. Make the boldest proposals. Cold call the gods themselves.
Expand your comfort zone with practice. Each week, do at least one thing that could create “home run” progress. Train your identity to be bigger.