Often the talk of living for longer or being alive in a golden age gets tossed around. But humans fail to assimilate the reality that their lives ultimately don’t mean anything and eventually die. Sounds miserably I know, but upon analysis, there isn’t much to ponder on life’s lack of greatness.
You might be reading this and be thinking “my life is great.” Well, hats off to you if that is true. But ultimately, it’s not. Just stop, have a think for a second. All of your movies are the same. You’ve got sequels, prequels, prequel-sequels, spin-offs, reboots, remakes and worst of all blatant rip-offs. Think of all of the movies you’ve seen recently, how many of them are original ideas? Very little I can imagine?
What about the music you listen to in the car on the way to watching that movie? Have you heard a song like it before? All that is being played is new hip hop and rap music. It is massively noticeable that “rock hits” have become softer (Daughtry, anyone?) if on the radio at all, and that, in comparison to the wide array of music that exists, the radio and other music-based services (even Spotify), seem to be playing to our political culture as much as they are to our pop culture. And it’s destroying our society, whether we recognise it or not.
No news is good news. By this, I mean none of the news is good news for the human race anymore. Brexit, Trump, racism, economic collapse, loss of jobs, natural disasters, murders, injustice. Everything is bad. Nothing is ticking-boo, at least nothing that appears on the news is. And that is when the ‘news’ is actually worth telling. Celebrity gossip, fashion culture, spin and sponsored content have blurred the lines between fictionality and functionality. How are we supposed to care about the bigger picture if our picture is painted for us, contorted into a grotesque cacophony of things we are told we want to see.
We think we are the masters of our own fate, but really we are all as subservient as one another. We live our day-to-day lives thinking we can make a difference but we can’t. Only a handful of people can decide what goes on – you and everyone you care about are mindless drones programmed to wake up, get on with your tasks, sleep and repeat.
We think, as a race, that we can control our thoughts towards one another. Bullying, racism, injustice, poverty, disease. We think we can control these, but we can’t. We stop one disease and a more powerful one takes its place that is even stronger than the last. Racism and bullying will never go away as every human is deep down a nasty person with contorted views that only make sense to them. There will always be poor, there will always be rich, there will always be difference and indifference.
We’ve tried to make our world more connected but in the age of social media, we couldn’t be further apart. Conversations have become mute as mindless hordes are guilty of facing downwards towards a plastic screen that stimulates our lust to waste the limited time we have on this earth.
Our self-worth is now measured on the ability to hold one’s liquor, conformist views and methods of living, sexual prowess and of course most prominent of all, looks. Only the most pretty survive and are appreciated.
We think we are clever. We think that as a race we are the masters of our planet. But we’re not. We never have been and never will be. We are servants to the planet and we have stabbed her in the back. We have brought about our own self-assured destruction through our own innovations. We think that everything we do is amazing, but we still have so much wrong with the world. There is so much we don’t know about our world and there are some things that we will never know about our world, our environment, our galaxy or even ourselves.
The only way to understand our problems and why life is as bad is this image:
This image is dubbed the ‘Pale Blue Dot.’ If you look carefully in the vertical orange beam on the left, you’ll hopefully notice a tiny blue dot near the middle. What is that? That is Earth. Your planet. My planet. The planet that harbours all of your problems, all of my problems, all of the problems of everyone who has ever lived and everyone who ever will live. Carl Sagan summed up this image the best:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
You might think your life sucks. But look how insignificant your problems are. Look how minuscule that dot is, and that dot is Earth. There may be countless problems on that dot, but think how big everything is around you and you and everyone else is focussing on how miserable their lives are.
Yes, your life might suck. Yeah, life might have gotten you down. But out there, there is so much more. You cannot change the size of the world around you and there are some things you cannot change the world around you. But you can carry on living knowing that there is so much more to life than problems. When you are feeling low. Think of the dot. Think how tiny your problems are when compared with the universe. You are in the same boat as everyone else and at least that is something that’s good.
No matter how big you think your problems are, when in comparison to the blue dot and putting everything in perspective, life’s problems are just a blue dot in the stars.