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Purpose in a godless universe: in about two minutes

May 13, 2010

It occurs to you that one day you will have your final thought and then that’s it: you are dead.



Occasionally this notion frightens you but it takes little effort to overcome that petit fear. It seems unlikely that death will feel any different from the time that you were nothing back before you were born.

That was alright.

Sure, it’s sad to think that at some point soon your family, friends and you (yes, even you) won’t exist anymore but if no-one died there would be no room for new beings to experience life on earth- at least with our current technology. If death hadn’t occurred trillions of times already, nature would have had nothing to select upon and you would never have even existed.

Staring comfortably into this screen I feel a greater sadness for those whose experience clinging to this blue pebble in the sky is little but hardship and pain; torturous and crushing. It is for the ones who don’t get the chance to see the beauty of the universe and the millions who will follow them in the centuries yet to be imagined, that those of us who can, should toil to help. Whatever it is that you think you can do to alleviate whatever forms of suffering you witness will be the best ideas you ever have and the best values we can have. A purpose.

It’s said that the only chance of immortality we have is that which we get through our children. But there is more than that, the study of genetics shows us that we all exist within each other. We are swimming in the same gene pool. Related on a fundamental level to all other life around us, not just your immediate family. As Kipling knew ‘the twain’ was always one and, in addition to that, potentially infinite at the same time.

So your genes will be fine, ‘you’ will exist for a while to come, as you have for an unfathomable time in one form or another and another and another, right back to the roiling furnaces of long ‘dead’ stars and forward to tomorrow where you can be found passing a stranger whose eyes never meet yours.

Yes, they’ll be around for a while yet, unless we make the mistake of forgetting our best values -or perhaps never even imagining them- and the people that they will help. If those values die I get the feeling we’ll follow soon after and I don’t know if our solar system has the time or patience to start afresh.

From → Life/Death/Life

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