Does Anything Matter? Does That Make Everything Matter?

Does Anything Matter? Does That Make Everything Matter?

I’ve begun to explain it here, but I think our life is completely insignificant, however our lives can matter because we matter to other people. When we pass tombstones on our way to our loved ones, we pass names and dates of people who used to be alive, well, we think used to be alive. We actually aren’t sure if they ever existed, they didn’t touch my life, I don’t have any memories with them, I’ve never heard any stories of them, is there someone in the ground under this tombstone or is it just for looks?

When we’re in the ground, the only evidence that we actually were alive was that we had an impact on people. Stories exist of us and when those stories die, so does our existence. I don’t think anything happens after we die, I think we slide into the unconscious unknowing sleep we existed in before we were born.

Unless you’re one of the 10 people that future generations will learn about in textbooks, you are faceless and nameless in history. Just one of the common folk that woke up, went to work, and came home. We are insignificant to the number of people who exist on the planet, even more to the number who have ever existed, and there will be a time our species doesn’t exist at all anymore. Our planet is infinitely more insignificant to our galaxy and our galaxy to the universe. Where does that put us?

There are two ways to view the belief that nothing happens after we die: that nothing we do has any significance or that everything we do is most important because this is all we have. I currently feel terrible at the loss of an opportunity that I in the end couldn’t control the outcome, despite my best efforts. A dream was crushed and I am unable, at least in the near term, to change it. I am frustrated with myself to be so down and upset. I tell myself that It doesn’t matter, that none of this matters as much as I think it does because I’ll die one day and it will be moot. As long as I strive to live a compassionate, virtuous, and meaningful life — what do I have to worry about? These societal successes are made up anyway so don’t be so down. Then I think, but this is the only life I have, my time is finite, and this is all I will ever have and it could end at anytime, so it’s the most important thing, right?

I’m about to suppose because I’m unsure what the answer is here: I think if I really understood and grasped how crazy it is that at some point we will slip under an eternal blanket of nothingness, I wouldn’t care so much because truly I’m just happy to be here, capable of perceiving life and feeling emotion. We’re all on the house’s money. So what does this mean? The emotion I feel is still real. I’m down on myself. Then I’m down on myself for being down on myself because I shouldn’t feel this way about societal success. Then I defend myself that it’s because of my transience. Then I my transience comes back into focus, so then I get more down that I can’t do what I want — and the spiral continues onwards. Then I occasionally stumble onto the knowledge that one day everything I think and my whole being will cease to exist, then I’m freed of these thoughts for a short time as I appreciate the life I live.

In the end, I think if I was actually capable of understanding what it means to die and cease to exist — I think it would prevent these thoughts from bubbling up and from being so down on myself. So am I supposed to consistently remind myself that I’ll die to be able to live? What happened to the ease of simple existing? Does such a thing actually exist or is it just a nice concept? Why can’t I just live without thinking about death? If I did that then I’d wonder if I was living with the urgency of knowing that I will die. When did this burden of conscious thought become so great?

I guess I don’t have a good answer where the line is between what we get to spend our finite time on doesn’t matter and that it matters the most. One thing is for sure to me, we will die and who we are will most likely matter to us more than what we accomplished.

Our lives matter because we matter to other people. Nothing we can achieve on Earth is significant because we will die and so will our entire species one day. I think it’s possible our finite existence means everything matters, every second of time we get to spend before that complete annihilation is invaluable.

Maybe everything matters because nothing does.

See you in two weeks.

‘til our last breath,

James Kiesewetter

 

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