It’s 04:55 in the morning the TV’s on and the bottle of whisky is half full, or half empty depending on your particular point of view. I am writing this to the light of the tiny bulb in my lamp and the night is just at it’s darkest point with the approach of dawn. And as I sit here it occurs to me that this is an awfully strange world to be living in, a world which only really exists in our minds. Every day we get up, we do our thing and we go back to sleep while preparing ourselves to do it all over again the next day. The difference between a good day and a bad day can be in a single phone call, a deal perhaps that went right, a date that went perfectly, a kind word from the boss or a hand dealt from a deck of cards. What makes a bad day for one person will undoubtedly make a good day for someone else and vice versa. Take it down even more, electrical pulses racing through the nerves in our bodies and a couple of chemicals in our brains determine for us whether we feel good or feel bad, the difference between utter depression and complete euphoria can be as little as a couple of milligrams of serotonin released into certain pathways in the brain.
Not long ago I looked up at the night sky and became overwhelmingly depressed. There were so many stars, countless almost infinite planets out there somewhere and the distance between them so large that no human could ever hope to visit them. Undoubtedly life exists somewhere out there in a galaxy so far away that we’ll never know about them and they’ll never know about us. So how could I, Marc Goldberg, make a difference in a universe so unflinchingly large, a place so incredibly big that it even defies the ability of the imagination to comprehend it?
It was a thought that made me feel smaller than a grain of sand, I was barely even a particle in this massive universe within which we are contained. If the earth was to blow up tomorrow the universe wouldn’t even notice. Planets blow up all of the time and we don’t even notice, only a handful of people even care at all about what exists outside the realms of our own atmosphere. The nearest star to our own sun, Epsilon Eridani is 10 light years away from us, so far away that no one will ever make it there and back in a single lifetime. The mere conceptions are overwhelming in their nature, perhaps even frightening until I realised the obvious truth.
If all of these stars and planets are so far away from us then what good are they? If the universe is so massive then why would I worry about being a mere speck within it? If the nearest solar system is 10 light years away then what do I care about what is happening there? The size and majesty of the universe is nothing other than the best special effects show that nature has to offer. I can’t feel small in a universe that is so big as to be utterly irrelevant, other than to provide all of us with a beautiful display.
And so we live our lives, thinking perhaps that we have done nothing of any value, thinking that our little job in our big,small, medium sized business is nothing special but we’re wrong for thinking that. Each of us is so incredibly unique that replicating us in our entirety is a feat that can never be achieved. And don’t start getting smart and say cloning, for even were your genetic matter reproduced in it’s entirety the experiences that created the person you are, are yours. You are defined by the life that you have lead and the people around you are defined in no small measure by the impact that you have had on them. Each of us has an amazing capacity to affect the lives of friends, family and complete strangers with the simple act of passing on a kind word or doing them a favour. The opposite is also true. The smallest of unkindness can have the greatest effect. We, each of us, has more power than we will ever truly comprehend to make this world a better or a worse place. Every day when we wake up even by our mood we will elicit a response from those around us.
If we were aware of the power we held this world would surely be a very different place.
So the next time you are tempted to be angry and shout, or tom be impatient, or argumentative remember the power you hold as an individual to shape this world that we all share, this world that we all have a stake in. And perhaps we can all make our world a better place as we sit on a spinning ball located within a mightily irrelevant cosmos.
And so the philosophy is this, however small or powerless you may feel at any given time you are, in fact extremely powerful. You have the power to impact positively or negatively on the lives of all the people you have ever met and all of the people you have yet to meet. Take this to heart and the whole world awaits you with bated breath just to see what it is that you will do next. Remember the philosophy of the power of the individual and the whole world is yours.