Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Eat, drink, and be merry (because tomorrow's kind of iffy)
Every once in a while I remember how improbable our existence is in this cold, dead universe. I suppose that mathematically, there has to be life somewhere else too, but who knows what it looks like or how far it's advanced. Not just that I exist, but that I'm alive now, and not at any point in the previous 200,000 years when we were clubbing each other with rocks and lived a short, nightmarish existence of insecurity, disease, and discomfort. Obviously, my unique combination of (mostly faulty) genes couldn't have existed at any point previous to this one, so it's a moot point, but these are the kind of things I think about when I have too much time on my hands.
I'm currently reading a history of the Punic Wars that I picked up at random in the local library while waiting for my wife. It's amazing that we know the names and stories of these people who lived more than two thousand years ago, but it can be depressing. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers died fighting for a country that wasn't even theirs and was, in any case, doomed to be destroyed. What's the point for any of us? We're trapped on a rock that's fated to be reabsorbed into the sun and ultimately have its atoms strewn across the universe.
That sucks. The fact that I will die sooner rather than later sucks. Some people think that when you stop believing in God, you lose all inhibitions and decency, because there is no final reckoning looming over you. I disagree. I find that losing my faith in God has made me want to be happier and help others more, precisely because there is no balancing of the scales afterward, there is no divine justice.
You can't fight annihilation, because it's coming for all of us. The only thing we can do is make this improbable miracle of existence less painful and more enjoyable for everyone in the meantime. No trace of my existence will remain in a hundred years or so, but at least I had a chance to live.