Monday, July 18, 2011

It's all meaningless (by anon)

It’s all a waste.  Before I was born, there was meaningless.  After I die, there will be meaningless.  The universe is a big mess of meaninglessness.

I was walking outside late last week and I looked up into the sky.  I saw a very sparkly red star.  I thought it was Mars.  I was wrong.  It was Arcturus.  After a bit of checking things out on the web, I found out that Arcturus is about 25 times the size of our sun.  The sun is about 109 times as big as the earth, so Arcturus is really really big.  Visually, that looks something like this:

I was starting to feel small…until I came across this pic:

Antares is about 800 times the size of our sun.  It is so big that our sun is only one pixel in the image above.  A photon of light takes about one hour for it to travel around the diameter of Antares, and light ain’t no slow poke (~671 million mph).  If Antares were our sun, its edge would reach beyond the current orbit of Mars (and Mars is the fourth planet from our sun for those who need to think about it).  Antares is huge!  Antares is so huge that I cannot really begin to fathom how there can be something that big in our universe (and Antares isn’t even the biggest!).  I feel smaller than the smallest.  No…smaller.

And now I can’t get it out of my head that we (humans) are just some lucky little accident that happened on some tiny, rinky-dink rock floating out in a rinky-dink solar system.  The universe is so big (SO BIG) and we are so small (SO SMALL).  I look out at our buildings, at our people, at our books and we give them so much meaning.  Everything around us has meaning because we put it there.  We are born into it and we die in it.  But we are but a blip.  We are an accident.

One day this will all end.  A large comet will someday strike the earth or a large solar flare pointed in just the right direction will completely annihilate all life on earth.  And all the history we have, all the knowledge we have gained, all the technology we have developed will vanish without a trace.  All our great thinkers will be turned to nothingness, as if they never thought at all.  This is probably the single most humbling thought I’ve had.  We think we are so special – humanity – but one day all record of us will be gone.  As if we never existed at all.

There’s a probability that a large enough comet might hit the earth around 2030.  Maybe our dance with destiny is sooner rather than later.

Saying that this is all a waste is too strong.  I guess I should probably say that it is what it is and leave it at that.  But whatever – we are so much smaller than we can possibly comprehend and yet we think we are so big.  Meaningless.  From dust to dust.  From meaninglessness to meaninglessness.


  1. So we're small and one day we'll be wiped out for good (unless one carries the silly notion that we'll all live on forever somehow). Big deal. So we, along with everything we create and whatnot, are meaningless. However, you also say that we put meaning to things. Isn't that enough? Do we really need the universe to tell us that we mean something? Can't we just accept that there is no "Absoulte Meaning" for us in relation to the rest of the universe, and that any meaning at all is actually created by us, for us, within this context, within this itty bitty, ultra microscopic corner of the universe?
    So we are capable of being conscious of things like this - like what this blog post is about - so we can either say, well it's all really meaningless so let's just jump off of these buildings we used to think were meaningful, or we can say, well it's all really meaningless, but let's keep doing things that we can give meaning to for ourselves anyway.
    What matters is the here and now of our consciousness, the here and now of our experience of life. We're all pretty much stuck with it, so we might as well make it good.... with all of our books, great thinkers, buildings, and every thing about life that we could say is meaningless relative to the universe.
    So, we may not mean much to the universe, but doesn't the universe sure mean a lot to us?

  2. Who cares if the universe means a lot to us now?? In only 200 years, no one would have ever heard of you. In a million years, no one will have ever heard of "humanity!" We are but blips in one cosmic play without any rhyme or reason. This isn't depressing, it is just reality.

    So, yes, we can live our lives right now full of meaning, but we should always humble ourselves to the inevitable meaningless of it all. We might all start to get along better with such a realization.

  3. Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken. It's a common misconception that people take Frost's words literally when in fact, he and his writing suggest that he is be facetious. It doesn't matter which road you go down. It never matters, you'll look back on the choices you made in life and think about the difference they made when, in all reality, the road you chose, which you felt was meant just for you, made no difference. So as the cosmos is unimaginable from our feeble, subjective, little minds- things will tend to unfold as they should. The universe is going to play out and run the course it was destined to every since it was the size of a proton and released every bit of energy in the universe.

  4. I like this post. I think the same sorts of things all of the time. Maybe we're just another living organism, complicated relative to life on our planet. We think we're a big fuckin deal though. I think we're too afraid to embrace nihilism like this. Most people are more comfortable to lie to ourselves, idealistically putting our faith in things we can't see... that we have souls, etc. Who knows, arguably our universe is infinitely big and infinitely small. Who's to say what matters?

  5. Life here is a test, a test of our creator that is so large, that it dwarfs our universe. Do good here and believe in your creator and you will no longer be meaningless. We are not meaningless to Christ.

  6. You seem to be in quite an existential crisis Anon. Speaking from experience, I would hit the books. So many have been motivated by the despair you are probably feeling,like Sartre and Camus. I am familiar with what you are probably feeling, and it is difficult to be consoled when you have reduced the universe to will find peace, just read and wait

  7. How would hitting the books solve anything? You are assuming that I have not read. I have, and no matter how profound the written word may be or any thought that can be thought, the reality is that everything we take so much pride in will be erased. It is like we are already ghosts, though we act like full-bodied, eternal beings. If only that were true.

    But don't misunderstand me. I'm not depressed. I feel like I'm seeing my existence and the significance of my existence properly.

  8. We give the universe meaning, without life to observe it, to give it worth the universe has nothing. It's simply there. Just by observing reality around us we change it, that's something rocks, planets, stars, even whole galaxies can not do. Life Comes from the universe around us, and it gives the universe meaning. And that's what we are here for, even if its for a moment, because in that one moment we can do more then any inanimate object ever could.

    1. Hi Anonymous
      I think about that sometimes too. It's as if our consciosness and ability to observe experience and reflect is the meaning of existence. Life is the universe becoming conscious. It's beautiful.

  9. Hi,

    I felt kinda the same at some stage but even though all seem to get quiet meaningless sometimes there's great things we can all do here on earth. We are of light, music, colour and we resonate with what's true and it's all within you! Also what we feel I believe has a reason and when all reasoning is "solved" and consumed, feeling is one.

    This is just the way life is and we all feel the same though we see it from a different point of view.

  10. What's more depressing is that once this world is incinerated into atomic nothingness and completely forgotten, the only remaining relic that this planet ever exisited will be the Voyager 1 space craft with a record carrying the voice of Jimmy Carter... JIMMY CARTER WILL BE THE LAST REMAINING VOICE FROM THIS PLANET!!!! We are soooooo doomed to oblivion...

  11. I like to hope that humans will survive on by means of huge spaceships that are renewable. Maybe then we can carry on.

  12. dddddooooooooooooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  13. Something from nothing.........I say again to all who think the end is the end, "Let There Be Light, and there was light"