Does life suck? A partially philosophical look
Let’s get something out of the way first. Do the media, advertising, and social media we use change how we feel and live our lives? There is no definitive answer to that question as any answer is subjective and dependent on the views and beliefs of the individual.
My personal thoughts are as follows. Yes, a big fat, yes. For the sake of avoiding arguments, however, we’ll leave anything that could go down the route of donning tinfoil hats out of this.
We’re constantly reminded that life is freakishly short. So much so that in our minds, whether we are vocal about it or not, we want there to be an afterlife. Don’t get me wrong; that is in no way a bad thing, but let’s just go back a little. Is life really that short, and by perceiving it as being short, does that mean that we need extended lives because this just isn’t enough?
Alien life. The prospect of discovering celestial neighbors has grown in popularity over the past few decades and for a good reason. We’re closer than we have ever been in the history of humankind’s existence. From the dawn of modern humans, at this point in history, we are closer to answering that question than we have ever been in the past 200,000 years. Let that number sink in… That’s only modern humans, too; our ancestors were around for another six million years prior. With all that said, we have not found a single form of life anywhere in the universe, not even one damn cell. That means, at the time of writing this blog post, as far as we know, we are alone in the universe.
We are alone. What does that mean for us and for life? Firstly, life does not suck. In fact, going off current scientific evidence, we are the only genuinely self-conscious beings in the entirety of the known universe. No other creatures throughout the vastness of space are like us. To put that into perspective, the universe is 13.8 billion years old, it is 92 billion light-years wide, contains 100 billion galaxies and all of those galaxies combined contain 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets. That’s a large number, almost too immense to even begin to comprehend. Out of all of those planets, we have no evidence that shows they are home to life. Not only that, but we’re isn’t even looking for self-conscious life like us. No, we can’t even find the purest forms of known life anywhere.
Now we have some understanding of how alone we are, and now you’re most likely filled with the existential dread that comes with understanding just how small you really are, we’ve come to an exciting development.
We are special.
Individually we aren’t unique, we don’t deserve any participation trophies for existing, but we are the only thinking and feeling parts of the universe. The Earth and everything that surrounds it is so visually beautiful, they are host to so many different smells, sounds, and unusual sensations, and we are the only things that can stop and think “Wow!”
We all have problems, and those problems are just as valid in their impact on our lives as anybody else’s. But most of those problems are temporary. They are trembling bubbles passing by at mind-boggling speeds in the ever-flowing river that makes up our experiences from birth to death.
Understanding that we are the only lifeforms in the universe that get to experience life and that we are always surrounded by new and exciting sensations is the most profound realization we could wish to come to. If we died right now, if mankind ceased to exist at this exact moment, nothing else, not one other creature throughout the stars, would be able to enjoy it in the same way we do.
It really cannot be stated any better, as far as we are aware, we are alone for the time being, and that means that we are the only self-conscious life in the universe. Given that, it should be our duty to spread out throughout the stars.
The Earth will last for a long, long time, but if our track record is anything to go by, we will not. If we die out, then our questions will die with us. The universe will be void of thought and will exist for the sake of existing. All of those visuals, smells, sounds, and sensations will never be thought about again. That, to me, would be the greatest tragedy of all.