Recent reading has had me contemplating the human condition. One of the main themes of the book, and one of the continual themes of modern science since Copernicus, is the realization that we, humanity, are not special. We're just one species crawled up from the muck on one tiny speck orbiting an unremarkable star in a typical galaxy. We're not any sort of teleologically supreme zenith; just a bunch of fascinating, but often quite dumb and terribly short-lived, animals.
But many people resoundingly reject this conclusion. Perhaps it explains, for some, the attraction of fanatical religion and creationism and such: the need to repudiate the thought, sometimes violently, that humanity has no centrality to existence, that the universe doesn't give a damn about them. If they have no innate specialness, then life is meaningless and pointless. We're not special snowflakes that reality depends upon, but little more than purposeless amoebae flitting about the skin of reality. From this is birthed wretched nihilism, social collapse, murder in the streets, cats lying with dogs, and the degeneration of humanity into cannibalistic beasts living in caves, or something. So if they yell and scream enough to fill the void, convince themselves and others that they tha bomb, it'll be willed so. (Which, ironically, presupposes again that human wishes amount to a hill of beans.) The notion that we don't have to have a grand meaning imprinted in the stars with a blinking neon to be good people or have happy lives doesn't seem to occur.
Maybe it's all about vanity, really. What's the use of a life that isn't of grand import? Why be in the chorus line with the trout and the worms and all those icky things, when you can be the lead of the cosmic drama? Like Linda Evangelista, they won't get out of bed in the morning for less than singular importance.
But isn't not being the center of the universe liberating in a way? What a weight, literally of all reality, it is off our shoulders. Isn't it freeing not to be "the measure of all things" and simply BE, no more or no less? How frightening it is to have some gravid metaphysical MEANING to just existing. What did you ever do to deserve such central import to the universe? What if you don't measure up? It's daunting enough to want to please and make proud your parents and loved ones by meeting their expectations, let alone the whole cosmos. And, really, what does it matter? Does it really change anything in our lives one way or another?
BTW, am I just reinventing existentialism here? Should I take up Gauloise and fly to Rome to splash about the Trevi Fountain?