“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity…” – H.P. Lovecraft
We are not the centre of everything. It takes a little while for us to truly realise this, for we are so seated within our own lives, so trapped with the confines of our own experience that we cannot imagine not being the centre of everything. Whether we live our lives for ourselves or for those who are close to us, we are all of us guilty of favouring that which is closer to us than that which is further away. We attribute significance to the things we encounter in life based on how much they effect our lives, we register almost everything personally, because ultimately the only perspective we can ever come close to understanding is our own.
Ultimately, this attributing of importance is not a bad thing, for in every life there is something important enough that it could be said that this thing is the reason why this life exists. As I hinted at in my previous entry, life is mostly a case of going out and finding what it is that you want to do with it. Once you find what you want to do (and arguably all of life is simply self-discovery), go for it. However, there is a problem with people placing importance in that which ultimately restricts them and prevents them from fully living their lives.
This is where societal expectation comes in. I am a great believer in the fact that most people put way too much stock in what other people think of them. Everybody is guilty of it, because it is a natural human thing to want to fit in with other people, to not be different. Or is it? Is it that people fear being different or that they fear being treated differently? I think it is the latter, for throughout human history one thing has become very clear: it is difficult to be different. This entry is not going to become a rant about how diversity is a wonderful thing, which is it, but instead I want to focus more upon the fact that people worry about society in ways that they should not. That is, they put more importance in certain areas of it than they should.
Do not misunderstand me, I do not mean to say that society is not important, for it is exceptionally important. As Aristotle wrote: “Ἂνθρωπος φύσει πολιτικὸν ζᾧόν ἐστιν.” (Man is, by nature, a political animal). We are fundamentally a social animal and society is necessary to us. However, the kind of society we have today, one in which there is a judgemental attitude is not what we need. We require a society in which we can celebrate both diversity and fellowship.
From the perspective of the universe, our entire world, let alone our individual lives, are so completely tiny and insignificant that we should celebrate what we have and place significance where we want to place it, not upon what others say we should put it on. I am not advocating Lovecraftian Cosmicism, which would lead us to believe that we do not matter so far as to almost end up at a kind of nihilism. We need to accept that we are limited, that for all our pride we are fallible and yet, in spite of this, we should strive to achieve what little we can within our lives.
Each one of us is so insignificantly small and yet it is a miracle that we are here at all. Yet we have only a small amount of time that is our own, with which we can do something. So let’s make the most of it.
I will leave you with a passive-aggressive motivational quotation.
“If you knew how small you are and how short a time you have to do what you can, you wouldn’t waste time watching five ****ing hours of TV a day. You wouldn’t waste time doing a job you hate. You wouldn’t waste the little time you have dealing with assholes, feeling sorry for yourself, or being timid about the things you’d really like to do.” – Johnny B. Truant.