Quite a strange question but one with far reaching consequences should we dwell too much on it, but worth asking:
Does anything really matter?
And if it does, who do we want to be? What do you want to live for, die for, stand up for in your life?
Life is this short period of time we’re granted by chance/luck/whatever force or deity you believe in. We come into it in different states and exist in different ways throughout, before ending either somewhere new, somewhere familiar or somewhere unexpected.
You never know where it can take you. And never know what effects our decisions have on the future and those around us.
What do we want this life to mean in the end? When all that’s said and done is over and we arrive at the final act, is there a desire for it all to mean something?
I don’t think anyone’s unique in thinking they want their life to mean something. I think that’s why religion and cults gain the power they do, why ideology often trumps logic in many cases. It give meaning, a cause to believe in, a purpose to believe in.
One of the scariest things I’ve encountered is what happens when you stare upwards and imagine the universe as we understand it. To think of the scale of the thing and what we are in relation to it is a daunting and downright terrifying thing to learn.
Imagine that, all you do, all you act and see and live for, counts for a fraction of an instant in the grand scheme of galaxies and novae that permeate the cosmos? How awful, to know our every decision, love, life, mistake, success and waste counts for so little out there?
Except, really, that’s not true is it?
Now, this is a personal belief, but one I feel gives a great sense of peace, and a sense of worth.
Everything we do matters, and not just on Earth, or in this system, or even this galaxy. Every decision, from the smallest to the largest, from choosing green tea one morning to selling the house and opening a pancake store called “Wholly Crepe”, everything we do ripples outwards and changes the state of things.
Now, I’m probably butchering some physics here, which my former classmates and lecturers will roll their eyes at, but I’m trying philosophy here rather than well done science so forgive the transgression.
The state of things as we see in the universe goes on a linear path. Action follows reaction. Force applied generates a force in response. Once things are set in motion they play out predictably over time (at the “normal” scale we’re used to, not quantum level stuff).
Set a ball in motion. Watch it roll based on the input and react to the world around it. Watch it fall, watch it rise, watch it react to the shape and the nature of the world laid before it.
It behaves predictably (to an extent). Things and events in this universe have been set on a course long ago, and continue on that course until it is all said and done. reactions, events, scenarios – these things occur because of variables. An near infinite amount, granted, and it does not mean you can perfectly predict the future (there’s a stinger here thanks to quantum mechanics) but in general, the nature of the universe is to unwind due to the nature of the universe and the initial conditions all matter and energy was subject to.
But go back to the ball you set in motion. Had you not come along, that object would have sat immobile and never acted. Never changed. Never moved and never began.
here’s where the philosophy kicks in.
What gave you the desire to do that? Was that some great piece of fate, an expected motion given by the universe, decided by an infinite array of variables? Or was it a decision made in a moment by a singular person, separate from all the mechanisms and motions of the system we live in?
Curious ain’t it? Everything else we’re aware of is static or predictable save for life. The actions of animals and ourselves vs the mechanisms of the world around us is strange. We act based on so many decisions and impulses and can change the state of things.
As minor as that may seem, it’s an astonishingly powerful thing to do. Our actions are like ripples in an ocean. it may seem they crash against the waves, and the land, and the storms and beasts that make up the seas, but in effect their very existence can cascade throughout the whole expanse.
Our actions, viewed from our small position on this rock, spinning through the cosmos, are seemingly independent of the wider universe, made for our own reasons. And that act of decision and the follow through will change the state of the whole system. Even if in a tiny, non appreciable way, we are changing the course of history of the stars themselves.
And we do that every day, with every little action, every little decision. Whether to go for a latte or a flat white, all the way up to building rockets to reach the heavens themselves, we make a change of state to the whole picture.
We have to accept, in some way, that our lives are what they are – biological matter spinning through the stellar fields, a construct borne from the remains of dead stars.
But we have to believe we are not insignificant. Far from it. We are as much a part of the universe as the greatest galaxies and largest black holes. And in our way, have just as much impact as the cataclysms of supernovae.
Like ripples in a ocean. From a distance, so small, so insignificant, so meaningless.
And yet, capable of such far reaching effects.
Our lives can become like this. We may feel small in our own little worlds and societies, perhaps stuck in some dead end job or feeling like nothing you do really amounts to much. But so long as one keeps going, and keeps trying, and keeps making decisions and acting out there, we’ll make a difference to the world around us. Maybe we’ll start helping our neighbours more, or spending time with loved ones. maybe we’ll focus on just getting really good at something. So long as it’s what you want to do, and what you want to care for, that’s what matters.
So who do you want to be, knowing who you are will already change the universe as we see it? In that context, the only wrong step is to take no step at all.
In the end, when all is said and done, you’ve lived. If even for a moment, or a lifetime, you’ve existed. So choose whatever the hell you want to be. It will all matter in the end. So it’s even more important to find what that is for yourself.
Choose your own road. Go your own way. Make the mistakes, learn the lessons. So long as you keep making choices it all matters in the end.