- Evidence suggests that life on Earth has existed for about 3.7 billion years, with the oldest traces of life found in fossils dating back 3.4 billion years.
- Current interpretations of astronomical observations indicate that the age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.17 billion years, and that the diameter of the observable universe is at least 93 billion light years or 8.80×1026 metres.
- Anatomically modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago, reaching full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago.
- Our Solar System contains about 200 billion stars and probably about a trillion planets
- The average life of a modern human being is about 70 years
These numbers are very humbling at least for me, to know how unspecial my own life is when compared with the grand scheme of things and that my life span will not even be a drop of sand in the beach of life in our universe. But, what these numbers also indicate is that the chance of us meeting, knowing and hanging out with everyone we know and have known or met is trillions to one. Now, isn't that lucky, isn't that worth celebrating every day of our lives? To have been born in the same time frame on the same planet considering the 15 billion years of universe, 4 billion years of life, 200,000 years of human life, trillions of planets and starts that have come before us? But for most of the us, these facts are just that, just numbers that we read, find interesting and forget, because our brains are wired to focus on the now and the present and to continuously tell ourselves how important and special we are, to protect and spread our genes, this is the aim of living organisms. So are we just slaves of our genes that use our bodies to survive, grow and spread? Or there is more to being human?
What are WE, What it means to be HUMAN?
We are our DNA code plus our memories of experiences. Our memories make us who we are, but if those memories continuously evolve and change then our impression of ourselves must also change, then do we really know who we really are? Perhaps we are human.
We are also human because we dream. We live in our dream world, our imagination, our version of reality. We are different because our DNA is different and most importantly our perception of reality is different through our prism of imagination. We use our visual, audio, and sensory signals data from the real world and combine them with our preconceived notions, feelings, experiences, insecurities, fears and memories to create a dream version we call "our" reality. This evolving reality we create in our heads help us judge, decide, make assumptions, and develop opinions. We continuously save these versions of "reality" in our memory to refer to later (two versions away from the real world), however, what's interesting about the conscious brain is that it saves abstracts, events, names, places, but rarely feelings. Feelings/emotions are saved in the unconscious memory and the only way to access them is to access the unconscious. How do you access the unconscious? By turning off the conscious brain, by sleeping, by dreaming. When we are sleep and dreaming we are accessing all our short and long lived feelings and emotions. Hence, often our dreams are chaotic full of fears of falling, dying, getting shot (yes those are all feelings) and sometimes, just sometimes we come across a beautiful feeling, we once felt as if we were somehow transformed back to that moment in time, regardless of how long it has passed. Even when we wake up that feeling is with us for the most of the day. Welcome to the unconscious brain where logic does not apply and feelings come alive and to access them we have to sleep to dream, we have to shut off the conscious brain so we can feel emotions, so we have to be human....
How Human Have You Been Lately?
How human have you been lately, in the chaos of nonstop input from news/social media, advertising/marketing platforms, coworkers, blogs, movies and never ending analysis of self ego, status, financial, physical, mental health and looks? Our conscious brain has evolved to help us make better choices and decisions by what we call "understanding" our environment through language and socializing. The problem is that this conscious brain that has evolved to help us survive in the jungle now has been thrown into a consumer/marketing/advertising driven society where our survival and growth is no longer our physical survival and growth but our ego and self-esteem, through acquiring material wealth, nonsense professional titles and school degrees that have no real meaning or value to our evolutionary brains. But at our core, without the chaotic anxieties and excitements of our confused conscious brains, we are all human at the unconscious level, needing feelings of comfort from threats both physical (diseases) and mental (anxieties) and seeking feelings of companionship and safety among friends. When we are at peace, we are most human, most basic, most loving, most pure, most illogical, most simple, most human. How Human have you been lately? What is it that we are all chasing in our lives when we rarely know what it is that truly makes us happy? Traditional religions make it easy because it's all in the after life in your casket but religion is also an invention of the human brain to comfort and protect itself from the anxiety and fear of death and nonexistence so it can't be trusted, but without religious guidance, do we really know what our purpose is on this planet and what we are chasing when considering the minuscule influence and affect we have on the lifecycle of....life?
Personally, I find the chaos and randomness of life, at times discomforting, but knowing how lucky I am to have met and known the people I know and have met always comforts and fascinates me. The chances of you reading this blog is trillions to one. Isn't that worth a drink to celebrate our friendships? Isn't that worth enjoying life for?