Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Folly of Human Conceits

"There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world." - Carl Sagan


    Can you see where the earth is? It's the tiny blue dot in the that first steak of light in this mind-blowing photograph taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 space probe from about 3.7 billion miles away. Do you not look at this and suddenly let go of everything?

     You have to admit, an observer looking down on us from above might be laughing pretty hard as he sees all of us buzzing around, taking everything so seriously, yapping on and on incessantly about nothing, patting ourselves on the back, accepting awards, looking in the mirror, protesting this and that, whining and complaining, ranting and raving and getting up on podiums to pompously yell fire and brimstone, as if we humans could actually control, alter or manipulate the natural forces and cycles of the Universe and solar system. Ridiculous.

     I suppose if our world is viewed as the entire universe, and for many of us it is, then sure, what we do and think and say matters quite a bit more. There is little doubt that we are essentially an inter-connected ball of energy and what we do to ourselves and to each other effects the entire world as well as who we become and what we leave behind.

     Don't get me wrong. Not only is the earth itself a masterpiece, a work of utter magnificence, but so has human ingenuity, ambition, creativity and hard work reached breathtaking heights. Just listen to beautiful music or watch an incredibly made film and you will wind up in tears. Contemplate the miraculous invention of the human mind or the great companies men and women have built, providing jobs to millions of others.

     You have to respect the amazing people throughout time who have dared to think, create, serve, challenge, take risks and achieve great success. You also have to be convinced that those who do not respect success, hard work and ambition are destined to remain in the ash heap of human laziness and failure, those who project self-loathing as they clamor for collectivism and reject those who fought courageously to build the world we see around us, those who have produced and contributed something to mankind.

     But then... walking around the mall today, all I heard was endless yapping from every direction, except for the mall walkers, of course, and those glued to their phones like it was crack cocaine. The mall walkers, in case you didn't know, are the people who, instead of going outside, walk the circumference of the mall for exercise. They usually sport a good size fanny pack and a jacket tied to the waist, but you can also identify them by their gait, which is focused, steady and formidable as opposed to choppy and aimless, like the teenagers.

     And boy am I guilty too. My wife and I argued the other night, and then the following day we gossiped about someone, and then yesterday we complained about some other nonsense going on the world, mandatory vaccines or something... the smear campaign against parents who dare to think for themselves and decide what's best for their own children, usually families of faith, of course... parents who pass up on shooting hepatitis b into their infants like we did... college kids weighing in who don't have children and don't have a clue about anything.

     Maybe once a year, all 7 billion of us should stop and observe how small we are, and how immense and unfathomable the universe and beyond really is. Does space not blow your mind... or did I just do too much acid when my brain was developing...

     I guess the point is, next time you find yourself all worked up and on the verge of tears about something so stupid it hurts, remember that our reality in both time and space is so insignificant as to be rendered essentially meaningless. Are we not just a bunch of deluded ants, buzzing around on our seemingly important missions with pride and pomp before someone comes along and stomps on our heads?

     Look, while I really do try my best to see the best in the human race, I've always felt that we are just a large cesspool... but then I look at my children, my little boy and my baby girl and I see two angels filled with such love, joy, spirit and innocence. Confusing. To be sure, there is both good and evil in the world.

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