Insignificance

Human beings on this planet are only one of the several species living on the planet. Also, planet Earth is a tiny speck in a large solar system, which resides in a huge galaxy, which is in turn part of a cluster of galaxies. All these clusters of galaxies form part of the observable universe.

Given this reality, it seems like a lot of hubris to imagine that our individual plans or ideas have a total certainty of working out. There are always a myriad of factors, many of which are out of our control, which interact with any of one’s pet projects or dreams.

A relevant poem:

The Indispensable Man

(by Saxon White Kessinger)

Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego ‘s in bloom;
Sometime when you take it for granted,
You’re the best qualified in the room:
Sometime when you feel that your going,
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions,
And see how they humble your soul.

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining,
Is a measure of how much you’ll be missed.
You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop, and you’ll find that in no time,
It looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example,
Is to do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.

Keeping this reality in mind, the ancient Roman philosopher, Seneca, advises us to remain in the present moment and to live our lives to the fullest:

“So it is: the life we are given isn’t short but we make it so; we’re not ill provided but we are wasteful of life. Just as impressive and princely wealth is squandered in an instant when it passes into the hands of a poor manager, but wealth however modest grows through careful deployment if it is entrusted to a responsible guardian, just so our lifetime offers ample scope to the person who maps it out well.”

Seneca