Nosce Te Ipsum
Everything is meaningless. Considering all potential monotheistic and polytheistic beliefs, at most this life we are living is merely a ticket to be punched while waiting for an afterlife.
The universe expands beyond our comprehension. Each of us a single voice in a cosmic sea of trillions spread along a chorus line spanning millennia. You could cease to exist tomorrow, and no one would notice; except those who happen to be relatively close to you. Their motivation for caring is how you fulfilled some purpose related to their own selfish needs. Needs like love, stability, counsel, guidance, and companionship. These needs are a weakness stemming from our inadequacy to fulfill them ourselves. Answering definitively that an individual is not an end unto themselves. As symbiotes, we cling to someone as insignificant as we are... How insignificant? We share more parallels with a rodent than of those of any eternally benevolent being.
Both rodents and humans primarily operate from fear and desire. Spending a great deal of life preoccupied with satisfying biological processes as opposed to pursuing scientific or philosophical truths. In humans, every grand gesture can be reduced to meeting a need for survival or reproduction.
Materialistically, human success is measured by the opulence of how one executes biological functions. For example, for the function of eating, there is a taco that costs $25,000 due to the rarity and exclusivity of the ingredients. Does this meal, costing more than the annual incomes of a majority of families on the planet, feed someone more than a dollar taco made in a truck?
It is a unique trait to fear our distant future death. Animals other than humans may fear only imminent death. A deer in the field is alert for a cougar hiding in the brush it is approaching, while a human who may be afraid of a cougar is not even in the forest.
Given acceptance of our cosmic insignificance, where do we go? An individual has a few of choices--lose everything in the swamp of despair or integrate this understanding into a higher level of consciousness to help you operate in this world while we're here.
There are plenty of diversions. By diversion I mean anything occupying our time on this planet while we wait to die. Chronologically, newer generations invent new diversion all the time and frictions can arise if successors do not honor the same diversions as their ancestors. For example, previous generations may have put an emphasis on appropriate diversion being work, religion, or family. While newer generations have emphasized entertainment. Entertainment as a diversion has varied in practice and acceptance over history.
Television is an example of entertainment going from exclusion to acceptance within society over time. There was a period in history when television was the bane of the American family, now Presidents watch up to eight hours a day.
One reason we binge watch television for long periods of time when given the opportunity is for an escape from our world into fantasy. Much in the same way an addict injects poison into their veins to escape a lack of control and connection with the world.
Another example of our desire to escape nature is found in how we approach food. Think of the themes conjured when someone speaks with pride of the sport of hunting... We think of concepts like rugged self-reliance, hardiness, and being close to nature when we think of hunters. When the opposite is true for society at large who is moving away from the source of food for being a messy time-consuming process.
Humans love efficiency and economy. The less we must do ourselves the more time we have for leisure, which is the purpose of most work. Our quest to escape from “real life” is one of our more noble drives as a species and has been a North Star for humanity since the dawn of existence. Awareness of this behavior in humankind reveals an instinctual alternative to despair by finding things to do and not to do.
Ultimately, the choice becomes; do we isolate, or do we contribute to the collective human experience while we are here? If we choose to participate in the human experience, what ought our contribution look like?
Participation in the human experience requires collaboration and diversity of input. These two components are essential in improving important aspects of the human experience. Aspects like liberty, technological achievement, and human learning.
How should we collaborate? Start with the most efficient means possible. Presently, the most efficient tool is the virtual society we have already available. Humankind for the first time has a stage on which nearly every member may air grievances and share experiences. These expressions are shared on what is the most level playing field yet created, the internet. If your message goes viral, it could change the world.
Comparatively, authoritarian leadership creates a usable product more quickly, but the product will be stunted and confined to the imagination of the sole contributor in actualization. Collaboration is painful and time consuming, but the result is a more rewarding outcome to a larger segment of the population. To get something done right, collaborate. To get something done right now, dictate.
Real life is amazing and beautiful, but our virtual life can be equally engaging and beautiful too, since it is a representation of real life. The subject and object are independently beautiful. The same way we view the art and the artist separately. Social media is mass communication, which historically has been a privilege reserved for the most affluent members of society. Virtual life allows us to see and share the world through as filtered or unfiltered lens as we prefer.
The replication of our experiences through our virtual existence reaches a spectrum of society not necessarily available to us in real life. It permits ideas and memes generated by a common experience to transcend the barriers of time and space. This is important. The more quickly we learn about life on this planet, the easier survival becomes. This begins to divorce us from the parallels of living like a rodent hunting for the next piece of cheese. This applies for present and future humans. We, right now, are better off for having more information available to immediately reflect on and we generate more artifacts than previous societies. Giving our successors the best opportunity to be better off than we are. How do I define “better"? The ever-reducing presence of negative social determinants for the society at large.
Essentially speaking, each human experience is important in furthering society’s collective intelligence, but at the same time the experiences are not necessarily unique. Which is a comfort knowing we are not alone in this world and our struggles. If we raise awareness of social issues, we can make systematic adjustments that have a larger social impact. If something is bothering me and it is bothering you, why don’t we fix it? The rules are ours to write.
How does this information apply to us? In truth the execution is more complex than the idea. Do your part to participate in the historical dialogue of humankind. If we choose to engage in the human experience, we simultaneously help ourselves and others. To be a good human you must speak and listen. Share your experiences in a lasting way. Do what you can to leave behind as many artifacts as possible. Artifacts like art, journals, videos, and anything else that encapsulates your life. Learn from your own history as well as others. Archeologists lose their minds over finding an ancient ceramic pot. Imagine what the archeologists of the future will do when they find discover your Instagram?
Become a citizen through some form of political participation. Listen to your neighbors and champion local causes. If being public doesn’t suit you then support those who are willing to advocate on your behalf.
No one has this all figured out, so be a leader in whatever small way you can and cut your own path, while giving those around you enough room to cut theirs. Use your strengths to empower others, you never know, the story they share may one day unlock the mystery to save us all.