Human existence is a dilemma. A sort of existential crisis built around mental gymnastics aimed at running away from reality or the uncompromising nihilism of the world. If the universe has no purpose, man shall offer one. If a universe has no consciousness running the show, we shall create one (or many) in our minds who are in our image. If you won’t create your ultimate purpose, other assertive personalities will do it for you. This is the dilemma, the confusion, the fear that we do not understand, the awkwardness of being a conscious being in this universe with a lot of unanswered (and unanswerable) questions.
It’s only a couple millions years ago that the first human fossils appear in the fossil record. Even later that, just a couple hundred thousand years ago that modern humans first appear on the scene. We have been around about 200,000 years. A few ten thousand years ago, we woke, as a chick shutters an egg shell in search of life, from our eons of slumber; having evolved into homo sapiens, we took the first steps from primitivity, from small-mindedness, from pointless Savannah dominance, to civilization and culture, to dreaming of taking over the planet, to imperial dominance over all conscious beings. Man began to travel from the cradle of humanity in a subconscious bid of conquering all that exists. But the more we discovered in our endeavours, the more we realised we were a sorry lot trying to find our way. Our lives and genes and nature having compelled us with powers beyond what we could fathom initially or finally.
Ours was a search for ultimate meaning, purpose, order, direction or flow of all that is. But all we got back was indifference and solitude. The universe wasn’t ready to tell us anything. Not especially in the event we have the ability to find out for ourselves. In the course of these human events, we started to learn. We didn’t take long to know we are living on a pale blue dot with a yellow sphere illuminating our sky in the day and a full or crescent or half moon in the night. We probed more questions still. And the universe answered them. We were not just on a planet. We were in a solar system composed of a yellowish star burning millions of joules of hydrogen fuel and a few other planets which we occasionally worshipped as gods. Yet that wasn’t it. We were not just in a solar system. But just another star system in a seemingly infinite number of others orbiting a super massive blackhole in the middle of a galaxy we call Milky Way. We now know that this galaxy is one of thousands in a group we call a cluster. Add to this the surrounding clusters to make up thousands of clusters in a larger group we call a galaxy supercluster. Yet our supercluster is one of thousands that, rounded together, make the observable universe as we know it with our current understanding. It could be much bigger than we shall ever know because it is expanding at a rate faster than light.
As one grows, one puts away childish things. This childhood unveiling showed us things we didn’t want to see. We realised the sun was not made in cosmic gas clouds for us to feel heat or grow crops. We realised the moon wasn’t dismembered from earth to provide light at night. We realised we were solipsistic beings and that the world didn’t revolve around us. We realised that we knew but little to understand our place in the scheme of things. We realised that it was possible someone wasn’t looking out for us. We realised we had to make our way. We realised in some sense we are the conscious part of the universe, the subjective side of it that doesn’t tow the line of natural laws but simply obeys them.We realised we are the channel by which the universe responds to its rigid frequencies, the mouthpiece through which it communicates to itself. We realised what a privilege, an honour, an improbability it is to live in this beautiful expansive, mysterious universe. And what a gamble it is to live. A few of us who knew the dilemma realised how tragic and miserable and ignorant one would be to have had the chance to live this life if only for a brief few years and died having not known what a beautiful marvellous intriguing world we live in.