So part of this blog is to just capture my current thoughts and beliefs. My hope is to come back at some point and compare how I think that day to how I think today. I want this to essentially serve in part as a public journal. There is an inherent vulnerability in making thoughts and beliefs public. How will people interpret my thoughts and how will that change relationships? I don’t want to ostracize anyone as I am one always open to the other side. I might have a differing set of beliefs but that doesn't mean you are wrong and I am correct. So with that said this past weekend I got to drink some beers with my wife and my great friend. At the end of the night my wife went to bed leaving the friend and I to discuss topics on our mind. With an upcoming deployment, a lot of existential thoughts have been passing through my mind. I am always grateful to have the friends I have; friends that allow me the ability to discuss the big questions. Two of the many topics, in the middle of many beers, that my friend and I covered was what is our purpose and what happens when we die?
Here it is, I believe that we don’t have a purpose in this world. I don’t want to come off as depressed, because I am happy with everything in my life. This is about being free from ties to the very distant future, beyond any conceivable lifespan. So let’s look at the facts. There have been about 107 billion people that have lived on Earth. How many of them have actually made an impact on furthering humanity? Being generous, I would say that about 0.00000009% of people who have ever lived made an actual impact on furthering humanity. So what about the other 99+% of humans to ever live? Did their lives have no meaning, no purpose? Honestly, not really. There was the assistance of growing the population, for the ones who did reproduce. Other than reproduction, how many people are actually remembered? Very few. Everyone else just fades away as time moves on. It’s a terrifying thought and I understand that; to live but have no purpose.
So my friend and I were talking and I said that I don’t have a purpose in this world. I understand that my life is insignificant to general humanity. When I die, and my body has decomposed back to the Earth, chances are that nobody will remember me or my name. Now, I hope that I can be part of that significantly impactful population, the remembered, and I will always strive to challenge thoughts and to better humanity but as a scholar of statistics I understand the odds. I am not afraid of fading away or not having an impact on humanity. Why? I am lucky and grateful just to be able to breathe today. I have discussed this before but the odds of being born are about 1 in 400 trillion. I just want to enjoy that gift that was given to me. I want to live a present, fulfilling, and giving life.
The second topic we covered was what happens when we die. Different religions provide their own stories and opinions one what happens to our soul. The common theme is that they all have a similar conclusion; that we go on to do more things. Whether we die and go to heaven (or hell) or are reincarnated as a powerful stallion they all believe in some continuity. What about people who do not have faith in the religious theories? I believe when we die, we just cease to exist. Along the way there might be this bright light moment and a decompression of memories but after this extremely brief moment the screen goes black. The curtain falls and we no longer exist in mind, only body. This is another terrifying thought to hold. It is another thought though, that shows that our existence needs to be all about our present moment. Once you are dead, there is nothing left. So worry, but don’t worry too much. Be angry, but don’t hold grudges.
We end up giving ourselves too much power to believe we are worthy of more than we have. This is exactly what leads to war, hatred, and greed; worrying about our lasting impact. Instead, let’s all live in the present moment. Don’t get caught up in the lasting effect of your name, because most likely your name will disappear only a handful of years after you die. Don’t take what you have now for granted, worrying about the future (or the past).