Wednesday 17 September 2014

2am Truths As The Universe Sighs

I have these moments sometimes. 

Moments when I feel this little niggling tingle in my chest, when I find myself easily distracted away from trivial things and overly cynical about the people who partake in them.

And so I turn off all the lights, I put in my headphones, I turn the volume up on full and I listen to a playlist I have on spotify called 'Gravel Fingernails'.

And at that moment, I know those songs are able to penetrate a very deep layer of my mind, and I go a bit strange. I often cry, I often have my head in my hands or fists clenched tight, sometimes I even get a little out of breath, because it brings forth to the surface some of the most astounding epiphanies I could never otherwise access. The music itself is able to delve deep into my soul, extract a series of thoughts and observations, and string them together upon this logical thread of truth which is tugged through to my conscious mind and I just suddenly understand.

I'm aware of how crazy it sounds, and I wouldn't even regard myself as a compulsive music-listener really, but one of these moments happened tonight, and it was so profound I wanted to elucidate upon it.

And it began by curiously googling the amount of people who have ever lived.

There has been 108 billion living, breathing, thinking, dreaming human beings that have lived before me on this planet of which I now stand.

To put that into perspective, throughout all of space, time and history, the worth of my being as a person is the equivalent of one single neuron in the human brain.

There is nothing about me or my existence that is even slightly remarkable.

And all I can ask was 'Why?'

'Tell me then!' I scream up into the internal rafters of my own cavernous mind, hearing my voice echoing back,

 'Tell me, why is it when I listen to certain music, it tugs forth to my chest this frightfully powerful surge of electricity which is wrought in a pulsing, twining rope anchored in the core of my being, and I can almost hear it rippling and crackling just beneath the surface of my skin? So I clench my teeth together, I furrow my brow and squeeze my eyes shut, concentrating every iota of this power deep and deeper into my chest until I am suddenly granted the sweet relief of a musical crescendo, my eyes flicker open and I inhale as my pupils dilate against the light, and the electricity disperses, chasing the blood through my veins until every nerve in me is on fire?”

The ancient wood of wisdom supporting these cognitive rafters offers only a creak in return, a soft flow of dust trickling into the shaft of light under which I stand.

“Tell me why when I sit in the sunshine, I lay my head in the grass and watch the minute little insects, tiny ants, spiders and woodlouse innocuously going about their business, clambering across blades of grass with unfaltering determination and purpose, millions of the like I step on daily without sparing a flicker of consideration, why do I suddenly feel such eternal empathy, such sorrow for all that they will never and could never know, and I torture myself with ceaseless wondering; Do they know what they are? Do they know what I am? Do all conscious creatures think in the same way, only separated and defined by the abilities we posses to express it?”

Something above begins to stir now, and the ceiling begins to stretch and morph at my frustrated provocations. I continue, forcing my mind to formulate some kind of answer.

“Why is it that I seem to exist in this state of constant hyper-awareness of absolutely everything, a crippling, exhausting empathy with the entire universe? How is it possible that for a soul so laughingly irrelevant in the big picture, someone who is as good as nothing, to feel such a profound sense of everything?”

While the echoes of my words rattle off into the swirling maelstrom I have conjured by uttering them, a smaller, harder thought pushes its way to the front of my mind.

We always assume that the smaller and simpler a form is, the less value it has. With such an infinitesimal capacity it has to achieve alone, it's sole role is to operate in several thousand of its own identical kind to produce anything noteworthy. 

Cells, ants, bricks.

And here I am, another identical form lost among the 108 billion of my past and present kind, an individually considered irrelevance. 

Yet when considered individually by me... I am everything.

Every single one of us, due to the nature of being the sole pilot of our own existences, has had these thoughts before, wondered the great questions of the universe and felt the existential frustrations of being so little but so much. Every single one of us is a fully formed and unique universe of perception and experience, a happened coincidence of consciousness and matter.

Yet... every single one of us remain but 1 in 108 billion.

In this whole grand scheme of things, whether that be considered in universal terms, or the confines of something smaller and more tangible like working for a vast corporation or being one resident in a big city, we are all singularly pointless box-tickers and task-doers, like ants in a line, a microscopic cluster of cells or bricks in a wall...

But suddenly these internal rafters erupt, and in a blistering whirlwind of light and colour, this divine stream of truth sweeps down and envelopes me, bathing me in its sudden profound wisdom. 

We're not. 

Because there is one thing which sets us aside from all of these other examples, a thing which every person possess which serves as direct evidence to prove that there is no way we can ever truly be uninmportant.

We know it.

Because the truth is an ant is not aware that it's just a singular ant that will never ever be remarkable, make a difference or ever do something to be remembered by.

But we are.

That's why there has been singular human beings that have gone on to achieve astounding feats - scientists, performers, political figures, athletes, social activists, astronauts - We as humans are completely and utterly aware of the fleetingness of our own lives and ultimately the pointlessness of our existences, and I could even argue that it is that sole fact alone which motivates and drives some to do remarkable things.

Because the thing is, 

If we know it, 

We can change it.

I'm not saying you've gotta take on the entire universe and bring about global peace and solve world hunger to have had a remarkable, worthwhile life, but it was just then that I realised a simple fact that if you're not set on course do to everything you want to do before you go, then what are you doing?

And as I take these headphones out of my ears, wipe the sooty tear marks from my cheeks and feel this new sparkling wisdom find a home among the vast labyrinthine depths of my soul,

I know that one day I will make a difference in the world.