In this sometimes crazy, chaotic life I have felt compelled to search for the answer to this question: What are we really doing?
Are we here to worship one of the 4,000 ridiculous gods that we have created throughout time (Not your god, of course, yours is the real one!). Are we here to buy that house and car and have cookouts on the weekends? Are we here to work, work, work? War, war, war? Well, I’ve found the answer. I will explain it, but you’re probably going to hate it. Have a look at this picture:
What many people don’t take into consideration is that the first one on the left had babies that grew up to have babies of their own. The descendants of these babies slowly evolved into the next species, that also had babies. If we repeat this idea right up to the image all the way to the right, then we understand that there weren’t just two homo sapiens (modern man) in the beginning. There had to be hundreds, if not thousands of them. This is where our story begins.
The First Spear
One of the first humans picked up a long stick, somehow put a point on it, and threw it. The information about the spear was passed onto the next generation, and the next, and so on. Let me rephrase that: The information about a pointy stick has survived for, roughly, three-hundred-thousand years, and is still going strong. Even five million years from now the people will know of the spear. But, of the personalities and inner struggles of the first humans, none of that information was passed on. All those thousands of lives forgotten, deleted.
The First Farm
At some point in time humans got tired of walking from one food source to the next. They decided to plant the seeds of fruits and vegetables, and they captured young animals from the wild to domesticate for a steady supply of meat. Hence, the first farm was created. The information about farming was passed on from generation to generation. But, of the thousands (maybe even millions by this time) of individuals alive at the time of the first farm, pick one and tell me what his/her favorite fruit was? Were they happy or utterly miserable? What songs did the little girls sing? We know nothing of them. Apparently, that information wasn’t important enough to pass on.
We can repeat these same steps through the invention of the wheel, through the Bronze Age, Middle Ages… The only thing that gets passed on from generation to generation is useful information — knowledge. Point being, we humans aren’t the star of this show, folks. Information is.
Some might suggest that the reason the hundred billion humans that have gone before us have been lost to time is because they didn’t have the tools to write down their stories back then. This is untrue because even today successful biographies are only written about those that have either achieved something, discovered something, or invented something. It’s all about retaining the knowledge. You would be hard pressed to go into a book store and find a biography of a man that just worked forty years in a factory, raised a couple of kids, and then died of old age.
So, just as bees collect honey, and then die, the human animal collects information and then dies. Just who, or what, gets this information in the end, I couldn’t tell you, but it is quite clear that our little daily struggles and overwhelming joys are irrelevant because this life is not about us. We, too, shall be completely forgotten in just about a hundred years from the day we die. At that point our names won’t even come up in a dinner conversation.
Many may find this idea horrifying, that they will be forgotten. But, when we consider how imperfect we are, isn’t it rather comforting to know that our embarrassments and mistakes will not survive the test of time?