Well, it’s October 1st, the beginning of a new month in 2022, a month initially meant to be the eighth month, based on its name.
I’m at the train station and, it being Saturday, the schedule is different than during the week. There’s also some question of whether the trains are boarding on the usual side or not. There’s a displayed “announcement” on the light boards that all trains are boarding on one side at this station until further notice, but it could be something left over from yesterday. Also, the guard is not aware of anything regarding the change in sides.
Nevertheless, today was a day for ordering the monthly pass on the machines, and the ones on my usual side weren’t even working, so I’m on the other side for the moment, anyway. I’m going to have to try to be vigilant as the time for my train approaches*. If I miss one train, the next won’t come for another hour.
It’s hard to be vigilant, though. I feel absolutely exhausted. My brain feels like it’s barely running on one cylinder, metaphorically speaking**. I’m just so very tired.
Thankfully, I can embed below my video, which I did end up posting on my YouTube channel yesterday afternoon, so that can provide some of the content and spare me a little writing today. I might as well, since what I’ve written so far is about some of the most banal things imaginable.
Just a bit of clarification about the video, in case any is necessary: Obviously I don’t mean to say there is literally no life in the universe, since that would be a contradiction (If there were literally no life, then I could not be speaking about the fact).
I just have always been irked by people who make the wide-eyed claims that it’s so amazing and quasi-mystical that the constants of nature are so perfectly designed to make life, and that must imply some sacred meaning or purpose to it. That’s about as idiotic as looking at the location of a speck of dust in the corner of a school gym and saying how amazing it is that all the facts of nature conspired to bring that speck of dust right there at that point…it had to have been part of some greater purpose! It’s drivel. Only the case with life is even more unimpressive.
My biggest issue with this is that it leads to a kind of quiescence, an assumption that, if the universe was “designed” just so that life can exist, then life, and particularly intelligent life, must be important, and the universe will somehow arrange things to nurture us and protect us from extinction. If you think that’s the case, then ask the dinosaurs, or better yet, any of the far greater numbers of life forms that went extinct in the Permian-Triassic “Great Dying”.
Oh, wait, you can’t. They’re all extinct.
No, the universe is almost completely hostile to life, both in terms of its space and in terms of its time. We are lucky beyond ordinary imagining, though I tried in the description of the video to give some notion of just how lucky in spatial terms, at least, by noting that life exists in roughly only 1.5 x 10-64 of the universe’s volume.
As far as time goes, well if you’re thinking of humanity alone, based on the time that has elapsed since the “Big Bang”, which may or may not be the literal beginning of our universe, the percentage is tiny enough, and others have demonstrated this handily, as in the “cosmic calendar” that Carl Sagan made famous in Cosmos. But if you want to count all expected possible future time, well then our existence is some fraction of what could be infinity, which is pretty undefined, but might as well be called zero. The limit certainly approaches zero as we extend the future further and further.
This is not necessarily a call for people just to give up and say “what the hell”, though you have that option, of course, and it is tempting. I wanted to note that, if you would like for life to continue, and even to have some lasting, cosmic-scale impact, then you can’t take it for granted. You need to work at it, and work hard, and work long. The universe is not trying to kill us (contrary to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s habitual way of putting it); if it were, we would be dead already. But the universe is huge, and it does not even have the capacity to care what happens to life, except in the minds of that life itself.
All life is in the situation of a castaway on a desert island—there’s no preexisting infrastructure, there’s no one out there looking out for you or protecting you, or providing your light, your heat, your air-conditioning, your food, your clothes, your shelter, what have you. If you want any of those things, you’re going to have to make and/or find them for yourself, and you’re going to have to keep doing it, for as long as you actually want them and want to survive.
Without much more ado, here’s the video***. I forgot to ask when I made the video, but please give a “thumbs up” and subscribe and share if you are at all inclined to do so, for any colorable reason. And feel free to check out the other stuff on my YouTube channel if it looks interesting to you. If anyone finds this interesting at all, I’m hoping to make more such videos about topics that interest me, assuming the universe doesn’t eliminate me in the meantime (though it seems likely to do so). Oh, and please let me know what you think, either in the comments below the video or here.
Thanks. Here it is:
*Just a slightly later addendum: They have announced overhead that my train is approaching in 10 minutes, and have confirmed that it is not on its usual side. So I was right to be proactive.
**Of course, it’s a metaphor. I don’t honestly think that any of you really believe that my brain is an internal combustion engine of some kind, except in the loosest of possible senses. Apologies.
***I wore a mask and dark glasses in the video mainly because I don’t like how my face looks—it bears evidence of the many things that have happened to me in the last decade or so. Maybe no one else can see it but me, but it is what it is. Anyway, the glasses are awesome, I really like them, and the mask combined with them makes for a good look, I think. Certainly better than my underlying face, anyway.