The chances of you being born are 1 in 10 to the 2,640,000th power. Yes, that is 10 followed by 2.64 million zeros. This number is so infinitesimal, it is just about impossible. For scale, the known universe, in total, has an estimated 10 to the 80th power atoms. You know, atoms, those things known for being small. And you remember the universe? That thing known for being big?
On that subject, the universe is bigger than we can comprehend. Yes, you may be feeling special right now, so allow me to make you feel inconsequential.
Firstly, the sun is much larger than you may think; it comprises about 99.85% of the total mass in our solar system. Earth is about 0.0225% of the total mass.
The BBC has done what I feel is the best representation of the entire universe’s scale, with this scrolling infographic. As they state at the end of the graphic, it would take 23 million years of continuous scrolling, at the absurdly large scale they used, to reach the end of the observable universe.
I’ve used this next website last year in a similar post, and I have no shame using it again because it is absolutely perfect. Tim Urban of Wait But Why exemplifies how small we really are, not just in human history, but in the history of time itself. If you click one link from this post, I’d urge you to choose this one, as it is as mind blowing as it is easy to follow.
So now that you’ve had a crash course in existentialism, let’s talk about it. What does all this mean? If we are so pointless, what is my reason to live? I’ll break it down.
Firstly, the fact that you are a miracle. It is absolutely insane that you have been born, and we mustn’t take this for granted. This is not a credit to you, and you shouldn’t be proud of this, it was more or less chance. However, you should be grateful. You should acknowledge that any statistician would deem your odds impossible. You should treat every day as magnificent happenstance it is, because just by being born, you have been given the luckiest break known to man. Do not let this be lost on you.
Now, the fact that we are small. If you think that nothing we do matters, and if you think that we will all be forgotten in a relatively quick time, you’re right. Some people find that terrifying, but I would challenge you to find the liberation in this. Try something embarrassing. Follow whatever path may call to you. Most importantly, be unapologetically you. No one will remember you, so be kind, and be happy.