Like a Shvantz in Cold Water

I have heard that the universe is expanding. A lot of physicists say this and they have the data to back it up. I won’t argue. In the greater scheme of things, which is really the only approach when describing the universe in its entirety, I’m sure they’re right on the money.

But here’s the thing: In the greater scheme of things, I am insignificant to the point of being negligible. I am not part of God’s big plan. It’s OK because neither are you. Neither is anyone else, either individually or collectively. This is true even if you buy into the myth of God existing in the first place.  At best, all life on this planet would merit a footnote for being some carbon in a test tube where weird shit happened. After our atoms have reverted back to lifelessness, no one is going to care about the cities we’ve built, the wars we’ve fought, or how important we believed ourselves. Not when there are galaxies to consider.

Yet we matter to ourselves and, to a lesser extent, each other. I consider myself to be my favorite person and bestow all preferential treatment accordingly. I don’t steal or use force to get what I want, mostly because I don’t need to (and to be honest, I’d be pretty bad at it too). The game I’m running is one I’m allowed to get away with because I’m causing no demonstrable harm and my little corner of the world has plenty of resources to go around. I wish prosperity for others as well. That makes them less likely to turn on me. Adversity doesn’t build character so much as it creates desperation.

So here I am focused on myself while the universe around me continues to expand. From my perspective, I feel like it’s me who is shrinking. To maintain relative size , I need to grow with everything around me. It’s a daunting task given the immensity of it all.

There are two ways to tackle this problem. One is to actually grow. This requires a lot of effort and the results are far from guaranteed. What I find far more satisfying is to treat potential as a foregone conclusion. Start with the Joe Strummer maxim that the future is unwritten, which is true enough, and feed your brain a diet of endless possibilities to keep despair at bay. Sure it’s a mental ponzi scheme and therefore  not sustainable long term, but then again neither am I. Something will kill me that day, but until that day comes I fully intend to keep my spirits aloft with smoke blown up my own ass.

And that’s how I keep from collapsing into a singularity.

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