Monday, May 11, 2009

on uniqueness....

Per a friends post on the popularity of names, specifically your name and how unique it is. I was set off pondering this question, "How unique am I in the big picture?" In other words how many people has there been? Ever?

Fortunately I am not the first to think of or attempt to answer this question. The people at PRB, the Population Reference Bureau, have a fairly interesting, if not greatly speculative estimate.

Their tally, 106 BILLION people since the dawn of Homo Sapiens Sapiens. 6.8 billion as of now meaning 5.8% of all humans ever are alive right now... So that's a lot of people. Like you are 0.000000000009% of the total human experience of life on earth. How you feeling now BIG MAN?

But on the up side, our current life expectancy is around 79 or 80 years. For the better part of history, those first 50 or 60 millenniums it was 10. So we are getting "more" life then before, around 29000 days to kick back and soak it up. Also birth rates were through the roof just to survive so most of your time was spent simply trying to get your children to breeding age.

Another great thing to ponder is the idea that, in the words of Jim Morrison, "There will never be another one like you. There will never be another one who will do the things you do..." 106 billion individual life experiences, however short, different in every conceivable way. And also the same in so many ways. 106 billion people born, cared for, raised, falling in love, makin' babies, who are born, cared for, raised, fall in love... You get the idea.

So I guess all this info just makes me feel better about my individuality. It also takes some of the pressure off. We put a premium on our sense of "originality", or 'individuality". We stress over getting it right being unique. "Uniqueness" it seems, comes with being alive and aware in the first place. And even if you totally flop it don't worry your only .000000000009%, you won't drag down the grade too much!

"I just want to be different like all the other Different Kids, I'm still looking for that store at the mall that "ME".

Later J

1 comment:

  1. I've been harboring these thoughts lately.

    In 200 years no one will know that we were here save for our names sketched across a family tree inside a box surrounded by an attic somewhere.

    No matter how hard we love, hate, work or play we will all disappear.

    I don't mean it in a desperate or sad sense necessarily...just that this is our reality.

    Is immortality achievable? Is Ben Franklin "immortal" because his name lives on so long after his death? Is Adolf Hitler immortal?

    I’ve got my separate thoughts about the “purpose” of life. But regardless of what one believes the reason for “being” is we all want to “be.”

    Do you know what I mean?

    We all want to achieve something greater than ourselves.

    And yet I guess I’ve never stopped to ask myself what is that thing?

    Why do I keep working so hard?

    What am I running to?

    I mean, I have my beliefs about the value of love and the virtues of work and all the other stuff. But what will remain when I’m gone? In 200 years what will I have done that still matters?