Note this is very off the cuff so I may waffle on as I try and get my words to fit my own understanding as conveying an idea can be a beautiful and incredibly complex thing, but that’s for another time.
I was reading some xkcd comics as I’ve done again and again, year after year. I always seem to keep coming back to it, the reason being each time I come back I understand more than I did last time. First time I found xkcd I didn’t get about any of the comics other than the ones based around life. Then I did some Maths at a relativily impressive school and I was best as Mathematics. So when I came back to xkcd I realised I understood alot more of the jokes that feature Mathematical problems as part of the setup or punchline. Now 2/3’s of the way through my Computer Science Degree at a Russel Group University (basically a top 10-15 Uni’s I think) I’ve gone back again by chance and I understand more of the jokes about problem solving and computer languages.
So getting back on track, I was reading an xkcd comic where they reference Baby Boomers. I thought to myself that the Baby Boomers made all this awesome music and crazy style that we just associate with the times like the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s even some bits of the ’90s. I thought about what my unfortunate generation have produced or at least what they like and have made famous and to be honest I focused on the negative stuff, the stuff I hate, the culture that’s been born of idiocy. This is something I’ve spoken at in length in the past on a wordpress account I have. There’s a culture of just drinking until you throw up and that’s somehow funny or cool, and weed is acceptable. Now I’m totally fine with weed, I’m such a stuck-up bastard that stoners were the only people chilled out enough who liked me and I liked them because they didn’t go out with the ‘lads on tour’ or do ‘tactical chunders’.
So there I was thinking about the decades that my parents grew up in and were influenced by and then I was there stuck thinking about the crap that I see around (admittedly it’s not all bad, it’s just more obvious). I started to think about what my kids might get up to when they’re born, what mark they’ll leave on the world, how they’ll push entertainment in a direction they want by voting with their money, what trends might rise and fall in their time. I then thought about what their kids will experience and how the world will change to them too and I realised I probably won’t get to know and that is where part of the beauty lies.
I won’t be alive long enough to see how this planet pans out, I won’t be alive enough to see the big changes in the world that are influenced by the new generations. It’s ultimately unknowable and there is such a fantastic beauty there. You can’t know, you can never know, you have to accept your mortality and move on because there is nothing else to do. There’s so much that you can’t know but what’s more is there’s so much that each one of us doesn’t want to know for whatever reason, we hate the subject matter, we don’t feel it’s worth knowing, we associate bad connotations with whatever it is. There is in everyone this vast gap of knowledge, sure you might know why things work or are the way they are but not everything.
I’ve been watching Cosmos recently, a show with Neil deGrasse Tyson and it talks about some of the different scientists discovering things about our solar system such as that we’re one of many planets, we’re one of thousands of solar systems, one of thousands of galaxies but all tied to this Universe of which there could be more, who knows. The Universe seems to me to be like the biggest machine that you could house in a factory, but each cog that makes up that machine is incredibly tiny, the Universe works on a vast spectrum to intricate degrees that are ridiculous. The chance of our lives on this tiny blue speck are tiny, the fact there are 7 billion of us is a miracle and the fact that some of us are lucky enough to find various kinds of love through family, friends and relationships is a bigger miracle too.
You’re so small in this Universe and you are loved by and love maybe a handful of people and there is so much that you don’t know. It makes everything seem, to me at least, to be just beautifully irrelevant, I’m here to enjoy life and do what I can with the time I have and from an Atheist point of view that’s all I’ve got too, I’d better make the best out of it. I think if people genuinely took time to think about sayings like ‘You’ve only one life’ and that sort of thing, if you actually sat down and truly thought about all the repercussions that means you’d feel blissful in the realisation that we’ve managed some truly ridiculous notion of order in a huge machine that works upon chaos and chance.
There’s this beauty to life which is more than just how nice the day is or how happy you are right now or how lucky to feel to have the job you do, the friends you do, the partner you do. There is a beauty that is so close to us that is just ignored it seems nearly everyday. If I could comprehend this feeling so I could feel this way all the time I’d be on some euphoric high for the rest of my life just knowing that this is it, there’s so much more, there’s so much beautiful chaos, not destruction or hate but life and nature and cosmic events that make all this so, in the truest meaning of the word, awesome.
In Cosmos it was said that when the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies collide it will send so may stars out of their normal orbit that for a million, maybe a billion years (I forgot which unfortunately) there would be a star show each and every night. I can’t imagine something more fitting to the idea of the Universe’s alluring chaotic tendancies than being able to have generations upon generations look up at the night sky and see shooting stars, stars that burn so bright and so plentiful.
There is an ineffable beauty to being a spectator of this grand machine work, so enjoy it.