Nothing Matters

Every clear night I look up at the stars. Sometimes I lose myself in them. Trapped, standing upright, neck bent backwards, mouth agape, almost falling over, peering out into the vast blackness. Taking in eternity. Sometimes I stare long enough to forget everything about this tiny place we all live in.

Sometimes during these natural mind trips I find myself faced with an inevitable conclusion: nothing really matters.

How could it? The wind blows, the waves crash, the world spins as it coasts through the infinite void of space. If you disappeared right now, the wind would keep blowing, the waves would keep crashing, and the world will spin away, unimpeded. Everywhere you look, the world is passing you by. Space is impossibly vast, housing everything you do now and will ever know, experience, and love. Almost all of it remains a mystery to us, the distance between celestial bodies so huge that our only realistic existence is locked to this unforgivingly tiny, fragile globe. A place so insignificantly small that it could be a sand grain on a beach that never ends. On the other hand, time is the ultimate predator. It spans eternity, barely noticing you as you blip into and out of existence. It drives on, with or without you; claiming its victims without prejudice. Our entire history as a species can be fit on the width of a human hair stuck on top of a massive skyscraper. When it ends, and it will almost certainly end, another skyscraper will be added to that length. Then another, and another, and another, until the end of time. The universe will forget about us. We find ourselves standing on a proverbial cliff, staring out into an unending fog from our diminutive island.

Nothing really matters.

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Or does it?

Since studying geology and learning about the incomprehensibly colossal size of the universe and unfathomable length of time that had transpired before our existence on Earth, I’ve felt nonexistent. Insignificant. So fundamentally atomic that I feel I could disappear tomorrow and forever be wiped from reality without anyone batting an eye.

The universe is an inherently massive, dark place. It’s hard not to feel lost and invisible  amongst it’s endlessness.

But, after dealing with this essentially dark existential thought process for some time, I’ve derived strength and inspiration from it.

The universe, and indeed, reality, is impossibly, unimaginably, foolishly large and ancient. But I am here. I am here right now. I exist. I walk. I breathe. I wonder. I observe and interact with the world around me and have the astonishing ability to predict outcomes within it and sometimes bend it to my will.

Yes: we are tiny. We human beings have only been around for a infinitesimally small fraction of time when compared to the Earth, let alone the universe. Yes: the wind will go on blowing, the waves will go on crashing, and the world will go on spinning without you after you’re gone. But, you will have had the unbelievable opportunity to feel the wind blowing, see and hear the waves crashing, and watch as night to turns to day with each revolution of our planet. If you are fortunate you will live a long life, do many things, travel to many places, suffer setbacks, accomplish many feats, feel much pain, grow as a person, meet life-long friends, have a loving family, deal with loss, start a family of your own, and come to terms with this crazy, wonderful, bewildering thing we call life.

I’ve never felt more alive than I do now, after coming to this realization. I’ve never felt more propelled by the age-old cliche to “live life to its fullest“. And that is the message I wanted to convey to you today. We are all here for a finite amount of time. You must realize how insane life and the universe is, understand that fact, be horribly freaked out by it, come to terms with it, and use this wisdom to take control of your own life. To reach out to all those around you that you know and love, to be brave, to not give up on things after failure, to tell your own story, and to seize every single opportunity you possibly can. We owe it to ourselves to do all of that and more. Every single person has something to offer this world and everyone around them, whether it be something as big as a world-changing idea or something as small as a smile. You are the sum total of everyone and everything that came before you, and who you are and what you do will directly affect everyone and everything to come.

I am; you are; we all are the universe, and everything matters.

Wide-field view of the Summer Triangle (ground-based image)
“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” – Carl Sagan (Source)

Cheers.


{the hematite blog} is a very new blog by a very regular guy that wants to learn and write about all sorts of stuff. I’m a little rusty, and this blog is about my journey to shake some of that rust off, get better at stuff, learn, and try new things. Maybe we can all learn something along the way. Thanks for stopping by!

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