Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blessed Insignificance

I am aware that to many, the idea of one's own insignificance is disturbing and depressing.  Staring into the sky, being aware of the incredible vastness of the universe... finding how small the number 1 is compared to the number 6 billion... knowing that one's own influence drops off unimaginably rapidly with distance.

These ideas are so prevalent that religious systems have clung to dogma throughout history designed to make us each feel special in some way.  The heliocentric model of the solar system was a big problem partially for the fact that it removed mankind from the apparent center of the universe to the outskirts.  Evolution is rejected as heretical because it places mankind on the same level, in some ways, with every bit of fungus on the planet.  And the list goes on... human beings love to be children of god, to be the center, the spotlight, the apex of creation, the final, crowning gem of the earth.  Even within secular circles, there is this odd recognition of humans being the ultimate good.

I think it is unusual for me to revel in my own insignificance.  I do, though.  There is no more comforting thought than the lack of effect my own failures and mistakes will ultimately have.  This is no recent thing for me, when I was being raised devoutly religious I thought the same.
I think it reveals a lot about my character to know that I wish for nothing but for my mistakes and failures to be forgotten forever.

Depressing?  Maybe.  But guilt is one of my most powerfully-felt emotions, and there is nothing so appealing as the end of all feelings of failure and regret.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed. This is the most comforting thing about atheism to me.