Buckle up


That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there – on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

Pale Blue Dot is a photograph of planet Earth taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of about 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles, 40.5 AU), as part of the Family Portrait series of images of the Solar System.

If we ever looked up at the night sky we will see a plethora of stars, twinkling. Realizing that we are just one of the 100 billion people on a planet with a star that is one of the 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, that is one of the 2 trillion galaxies in the known universe, is rather humbling. This leads us to the next question. What is the purpose of life? One of the humorous answers to life, the universe, and everything is Fourty-Two. But what exactly is the purpose then?

The millennials are unhappy. We are unhappy at work. We are unhappy at home. We are unhappy at vacations. And that’s not because of any of the old times were simpler craps. We have made our lives miserable. We don’t care about others. Hell, we don’t care about ourselves. Sure, we are richer, we are fitter, we are smart. But yet we are unhappy. Is this because we are busy chasing one thing after another. Or is it because we have prioritized money or success over meaningful relationships? Or is it just the way it is? Is the sense of entitlement making us more miserable now? Or is it just that we are just frustrated our lives with the lives of others and we realize that we are doing nothing?

We lose hope after every single failure. We measure success in terms of materialistic gains. Sure, we work hard. But we fail harder. When I introspect I feel that I am no different. It’s easy to fall down (gravity -.-) and it’s hard to get up. We don’t realize the importance of failing. We don’t learn if we don’t fail. When we teach modern computers through reinforcement learning, it takes thousands of tries to get things right. But not with 100% accuracy. And mind you that’s a computer. For us the learning process is difficult.

The first step towards self-improvement is realizing that there is something to improve in the first place. To accept that we are not perfect. To ditch the sense of entitlement. To throw away that always positive attitude (more on this later). Realize that the purpose of life is just not to earn money or get a house or buy a car.

Now, look up at the stars one more time. Tell yourself. The past doesn’t matter. The failures don’t matter. The problems don’t matter. What matters is what you are going to do right now, to make your life a little better. You are part of a bigger picture. If that doesn’t humble you, nothing else will.

The Milky Way panorama

By ESO/S. Brunier – The Milky Way panorama, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15001611

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