The Daily Stoic for December 19th, “Human Scale”.

“Think of the whole universe of matter and how small your share. Think about the expanse of time and how brief—almost momentary—the part marked for you. Think of the workings of fate and how infinitesimal your role.”

—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 5.24

Yesterday I discussed how the whole world, everything that exists, the rest of the people on this planet, the Earth, the Solar System, the Universe… All of that will cease to exist -at least for me- when I die.

It may sound selfish, but it’s true. It’s not semantic, like the tree falling on a forest and not making any sound because nobody’s there to listen. Maybe the Universe will continue, maybe not, but as far as I’m concerned, it’ll be over. The same applies to you.

Human Scale

But on the other hand, of course, there’s the sheer scale of things surrounding us. The earth is -at least- 4500 million years old. What are our lives compared to that? What’s 60, 70, 80 years?

There are around 7600 million people on earth right now. Every one of us is a mere drop in an ocean of mankind

World population past, present and future estimation. Source, http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

Actually, the trend, as this graph above shows, is scary. This exponential growth does not seem natural, but it also seems dangerous. 10.000 million people in 2050?… I don’t think we are prepared for such a huge amount of people, not in resources, and neither in human-ness. But I digress…

Yes, those numbers give you a humility lesson. We are just a tiny atom in a huge ecosystem. And it definitely makes you feel small. But at the same time… As soon as I expire, the world around me will disappear. So my thoughts are both how insignificant I may be, and how important I am, and how grateful I am to be alive every day.

Do those thoughts contradict one another?

Conclusion

Today’s Daily Stoic, “Human Scale”, reminds us of the sheer magnitude of the world surrounding us. Our lives are just insignificant drops in a large ocean and… Still, they are all we possess. 

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