Why

Hello.

With your permission, I would like to ask you a question.

I hope you will think about it.

Here it is: Why are you alive?

It really is a simple question.  But of course, the answer is much more complicated.

For myself, I’ve known since about 7th grade that the only reason that I was alive, really, was, in my words, “To propagate the species.”  I don’t know where I heard this, or if I made it up, but I suddenly had it in my head to tell everyone.  I remember walking between classes, and asking The Question of various friends.  After they had responded, usually with “I don’t know,” and asked me to answer, I would always say, “To propagate the species.”

That’s it.  That’s all there is, folks.  Nature does not give a hoot about me.  If it will be, it will be.  If not it, then something else.  Each and every action that I commit to undertake will be absorbed by the Universe without care.  My reason for living is really no reason at all, nor is it for every other living thing on this planet.  They exist.  Some will exist for longer than others. Some will not.

But here’s the thing.  Although the Universe has no understanding of Good or Evil, every thing that I do has an impact.  And although the Universe doesn’t care, I do.  My actions cause ripples, waves, and spread downstream.

Imagine the world as an enormous river, flowing from the past to the future.  Imagine taking a thin slice of that river, all the way across.  Imagine a veritable snap shot of every water molecule, the direction and speed apparent.

I am a molecule of water.  (Hi, I’m Aychtuo)  I know a bit of where I’ve been in the river (or at least I think I do), but I don’t know how close to the edge I’ve been, and I don’t really know how big the river is, so it’s kinda hard to judge my absolute position, but I at least know my relative position…I think…All I can sense around me are other molecules, each going its own direction at its own speed.   Sometimes, I’m attracted to those molecules, sometimes I’m repelled, but I am always affected.  My path affects those of the molecules around as theirs does mine.

(In this river, perhaps the molecules get to choose which way they want to flow.  How much?  I don’t know, but if it’s not a little it’s nothing.)

Because I influence the molecules around me, and they influence the molecules around them, eventually, if you travel downstream far enough, you’ll find the effects of that action, however dilute.  Is the river turbulent or laminar, or does the metaphor break down?

A large enough disturbance in the river has the power to change its entire course, much like a small boulder upstream causes the river to snake widely over the landscape through millions of years.  Enough boulders can divert a river in no time at all.  Heck, we do it all the time.

Why am I alive?  To propagate the species.  Why do I care to be alive?  Because I believe that my actions can change the future in a way that believe to be good.  I can and will make a difference.  Does it matter?  That’s up to me to decide.

Why are you alive?  That one is up to you.

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