One day life on Earth is going to end. I’ll probably be long gone by that point, but it’s strange to think that both my contribution to the world as well as my legacy will one day be nonexistent. When that day comes everything I’ve ever created or done to improve the world will be irrelevant. Or will it?
I’ll be honest, I’m not even going to pretend to have all the answers. I’m just as clueless as you are. However, I think through reading my observations you’ll be able find several thoughts that resonate with you. By internalizing these ideas you’ll likely find yourself with more clarity regarding the manner with which you wish to live your life.
The Human Race Will Likely Cease To Exist At Some Point
I think this is the one of the biggest things people think about when trying to see if any of their actions are significant. We all know that at some point the sun is going to burn out and Earth is going to die along with it.
However, what people don’t talk about is the fact that the sun still has a few billion good years left. While it’s possible the destruction of Earth could also be the end of us I don’t think it’s likely.
I have to imagine that with a few billion years of technological advances behind us we’ll have plenty of other places to live. I think the sun is almost irrelevant to our long-term survival. It’s one of the last things we should be worrying about.
I think something that’s far more likely to cause the extinction of our species is World War III. Realistically we’re almost guaranteed to have another worldwide conflict within the next several hundred years.
As technology and war weaponry continues to improve it’s entirely possible and even plausible that a weapon capable of destroying the whole planet will be created. I think to deny this would be overly optimistic and wishful thinking.
Once such a weapon is created that’s it. Adios. Sayonara. Good-bye. All of us know that once this weapon exists there’s bound to be some nutcase crazy enough to pull the trigger.
I’m not a technology expert, but I think it’s likely we’ll invent a weapon capable of destroying Earth before we have the technology necessary to sustain life on other planets and universes. My whole point is mute if such technology were to exist, but once again I think it’s likely it’ll have been invented too late.
I think the only way to guarantee the continuation of our species is diversifying the human race. As long as we live on just one planet we’re vulnerable. We need to find a way of sustaining life on other planets and galaxies. As long as we are vulnerable, however, it brings up another important question.
Does The Extinction Of The Human Race Nullify Your Contributions To The World?
Initially I felt this question depended heavily on the belief system you subscribed to, but now I believe that regardless of your beliefs it’s a resounding yes.
If you’re an atheist you’re probably skeptical of that last statement, but I’ll explain. While the extinction of the human race will destroy your legacy, and the people who have benefited from your contributions, it doesn’t make the time those same people benefited from your contributions any less important.
Imagine having a kid with cancer. Regardless of your thoughts on the afterlife you’re still going to do EVERYTHING you can to make your child’s life the best it can possibly be. Why? Because even if they die and fade into nothingness they’re still your child and you want them to cherish every moment they have on Earth.
That’s how I see society in general. The future generation is my baby and I’m going to do everything in my power to give them the gift of joy. Even if their time is limited I want them to be able to love life, and appreciate every moment as much as they possibly can.
If you believe in God or reincarnation I think your contributions to the world are even more important. Besides helping people during their time on Earth you’ll have improved their afterlife as well.
If you believe in God this may mean helping people make more conscious decisions. Your contribution to their life may mean the difference between them going to Heaven or Hell.
If you believe in reincarnation perhaps you hold the belief that people keep coming back to Earth until they’ve reached a high enough level of consciousness to enjoy everlasting peace in the afterlife. By making contributions to the world you may be able to decrease the number of lifetimes it takes them to reach that state of Nirvana.
If you don’t believe in Nirvana perhaps you believe people reincarnate simply for the experience. If you hold this belief why not make Earth a better place anyway and help people enjoy their time here to the fullest? Who knows, you may even be able to benefit from your own contributions in a future life.
I think the one belief system with a hint of grey area is subjective reality. For those not familiar with the term it’s basically the idea that you are the sole conscious and everyone else is merely a projection of your conscious.
We all assume that just because we can talk to people and interact with them that they’re conscious. But do you have any proof of that? Couldn’t this whole reality simply be occurring within the depths of your own mind? After all, our own dreams often seem more real than reality itself…
I’m somewhat of a believer in subjective-reality myself. Knowing other people were conscious would provide me great comfort, but I’ve seen too many strange syncronicities and manifestations in my own life to believe it.
The problem with subjective-reality is it’s extremely difficult to determine whether your contributions hold any significance. If I help a homeless guy turn his life around does it matter if he’s not even a real conscious being? If he’s merely a projection of my own consciousness does it matter whether I help him?
When you’re dreaming does it matter whether you help the other dream characters? It’s an extremely complex issue, but as of now I’m leaning toward yes. I think that by helping these projections I’ll also be healing myself to some extent.
I can’t see why I’d be projecting people with these problems if I didn’t need to address them to some extent myself. This introduces a far greater issue, however.
Personal Growth And Enjoyment vs Contribution And Helping Others
I enjoy helping others, but it doesn’t stretch my comfort zone like the pursument of my own personal growth. It’s far easier for me to help people solve their problems rather than work on mine.
The issue, however, is if I’m living in a subjective reality isn’t it more important for me to be working on my personal development? Helping others may also help me to some extent, but I definitely feel more growth occurring when I’m working on my own problems.
I’ve spent the last several days stretching myself socially and I’ve had an absolute blast and experienced a lot of personal growth in the process. Some part of me, however, felt guilt for focusing solely on myself these last several days.
I know I could become the next Tony Robbins and help millions of people improve their lives, but I feel that doing so would provide me with less opportunities to pursue my own personal development.
I’ve spent a lot of time debating this, but I think I’ve found a solution to this issue. If I knew with 100% certainty that this reality was a subjective one I’d focus almost entirely on my own personal growth.
But because there’s no way of confirming that I’ll simply find the overlap between the pursument of my own personal growth and making a contribution to the world. I really think this is the ideal solution.
I can still go on amazing adventures and do crazy experiments, but by writing and speaking about them I’ll be making a contribution to the world that lots of people will be able to benefit from. That brings us back to the question,
Does Anything Matter?
To which I must answer a resounding yes. I truly believe that regardless of your belief system YOU are significant, the things YOU do are important, and YOU DO MATTER.
I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts on this one. What do you think about our lives? Are we significant, or are we just a tiny speck in a universe of infinite time and space? Let me know what you think in the comments. 🙂
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