We are all on this planet such a short time, and the impact of our lives, even collectively, is so inconsequential in the grand scheme of the Earth’s history, more so, in the eye of the universe, that it’s somewhat surprising how concerned are we with our respective legacies. Even in the context of what we refer to as future generations of humanity, our impact has little more importance than a few drops of water in the ancient floods that shaped the faces of mountains and the courses of streams across this planet. An accident of evolution gave us the intellect to ponder these things, to think that we are any more than just the latest so-called “dominant” species on this mud ball, as likely to be extinguished from existence as a fly is threatened by a nimble hand.
Does this realization mean I stop caring? That I stop believing our wanton wastefulness is unsustainable and must be stopped? That I no longer believe in the importance of educating and enriching our forthcoming generations so as not to lose all hope for our peoples’ future? That I put the brakes on the dozens of endless creative projects that seem to ceaselessly engage my every waking hour in some vain attempt to shout to the heavens “I was here, I mattered?”
No. The answer to all of these questions is “no.” Because even metaphorically taking a step back to see the bigger picture, to attempt to grasp the meaninglessness of it all, I still cannot remove myself from the reality in which I’ve spent 33 years. I am a part of this society, this human community, and am as entrenched in our desperate need for validation and proliferation as every other member of our hubristic race.
But I wonder if I can do better, if I can do more than just produce for the sake of being productive. Do more than just business for the sake of keeping busy. Do more than just exist because the alternative is the unknown, and if there is any fear more deep rooted in our human genes than of that which we cannot know, I am not aware of it.
There are answers out there. I won’t likely ever find them. But the need to solve the mystery won’t let me rest — won’t let my mind rest, even as it wears on my body. When I was younger, I felt as though I was tapped into something nearly tangible, something that may have fooled me into thinking I was on the right track to finding answers. And now? Now I just don’t know. It’s far past time to start the search again.