“…we cannot exclude the possibility that there might be some other form of matter, distributed almost uniformly throughout the universe, that we have not yet detected and that might still raise the average density of the universe up to the critical value needed to halt the expansion… This should not unduly worry us: by that time, unless we have colonized beyond the Solar System, mankind will long since have died out, extinguished along with our sun!”
– A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
Someday all of this will end. Everything we have created, forged out of necessity or love or hate will be diminished to nothing. Someday everything we have learned, taught, become aware of, or done will be a distant speck on a timeline that, depending upon your viewpoint of time, will come to an end. That leaves more questions than answers.
Does what we do really matter? In the big picture, do our actions really have as big of an impact on the world as we think they do? Is any of this worth saving or fighting for?
Certainly, with a shift in perception it can seem that way. We can make ourselves believe that our actions have an impact on the day-to-day of our lives. That our actions, fueled by our views, will create something better not just for ourselves, but for everyone. But at what point do we recognize the inevitability that this isn’t forever?
Perhaps it stems from a fear of death. Or maybe we can’t come to recognize that we’re a brief flash in history, ticking away a second at a time. We can believe that our actions are worth doing, but in the big picture, what are we really? How can we define a race of people lurching toward an end, struggling to come to terms with what exactly it is we’re supposed to be doing in the few short years we’re alive?
It could be that definitions don’t matter. Life exists just as it is. Our deeper purpose isn’t to be understood, but instead to be considered lightly as we reflect upon our own lives. Our collective actions, gathered throughout history until this present moment, created everything we have and, to some degree, what we are. Maybe we aren’t meant to come to terms with what’s in the future?
But what kind of people would we be if we didn’t try?