On the meaning of life

What is the meaning of life? Perhaps just to ponder that very question.

The fact we are able to thus ponder is the result of a seemingly impossible sequence of extraordinary coincidences.

“There are many physical constants, any one of which could have been even fractionally different and we would not have existed.”
— James Lovelock, Novacene

Each living being represents the latest link in a beautiful chain of chance events. A countless number of flipped coins that all landed in our favour.

We are the result of this profound, unrelenting force; the accumulation of incomprehensibly numerous yet imperceptibly tiny increments.

The passing of the baton through the generations is what brought us here and is perhaps all we know that has meaning.

However, to simply state ‘the meaning of life is reproduction’ seems a rather adolescent philosophy.

But it’s true weight and significance can only be felt through the earth-shattering, life-affirming experience of welcoming into the world the recipient of your evolutionary baton, the newest link in the chain that you yourself have helped to forge.

The sublime is an aesthetic quality of nature, often used to describe the sense of awe and fear imposed by mountains, oceans and things of vast scale – usually much bigger than something that can be held in your arms.

But this delicate, intricate little creature represents the vastness of time and space and every flipped coin and chemical reaction that has taken place across the expanse of the universe that preceded her creation – for which you are directly responsible!

She represents the moment you passed from bystander to protagonist in the epic of life.

The gift of consciousness allows us to ponder these things and it allows us to override – if we so choose – the animalistic urge for greed and instant gratification, and to instead serve a higher purpose.

The meaning of life is then, at least until we know any better, the passing of the baton through the generations – and using our precious time as protagonists to leave the world in a better place than in which we found it.


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