I finished “On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous”. It was really good. Even better than it seemed like it was when I did my little review of it.
I’ve been buying Beyond sausages. I eat meat, but I hate agribusiness farms, so I try to avoid eating anything that I didn’t kill myself or was killed by someone I know. Or at least killed near my house. So I buy fake meat, which has sucked mostly, but the Beyond is doing good stuff. I tell my four year old that it is gorilla eyeballs. He asked me if it was really, and I mentioned that at least one atom currently constituting this piece of fake meat may have been part of a gorilla eyeball at some point. This seemed to satisfy him.
It reminded me, this conversation, of how long material last versus the lifespan of an ape. Our atoms have been parts of so many other things before us, and will be part of so much more after we die. Humans live for such brief periods, compared to time. I mean, everything does I guess, life itself will exist for just a fraction of the amount of time that time exists. The universe wasn’t always suitable for life, there must have been a long stretch of time at the beginning when there just wasn’t a place for life to be. As the universe cools and expands the conditions that have allowed for life will cease to be as well, but atoms will continue to be for many billions of years afterwards.
Humans like things that exist briefly. A shooting star, a lilac bloom. Even our pets live for only a fraction of our own natural time frame. Their brevity makes them precious. The modus ponens here is that things that are brief are precious, life is brief, therefore life is precious.
Big revelation! Headline news! I know, I know, it’s a cliche. The thing is, even now, it seems like bullshit to me. Atoms take on all sorts of forms, who cares if some of them walk around? I definitely don’t think there is some ascribed meaning to life, it’s just a chemical happenstance that resulted from the right kind of universe and a long enough period of time. This argument, that life is important because it doesn’t last very long, is a little stronger though. I do not usually exist. This period in which I do is a small blip on the face of time, and it is the only fraction of time in which there is an I to notice that such things as time exist in the first place. Maybe it’s important, subjective to me, for that reason. Even if it doesn’t actually feel like it.
Anyway, read that book I was talking about up there, if you get a chance.