Sonder

Human life inherently has no value. This is not a popular opinion by any means but is true nonetheless. Originally this idea will be unsettling. It goes against most things we are taught, and even feel in our lives. To be clear, I am not just talking about everyone else’s life, but my life as well. I found this both unnerving as well as freeing. It’s better to give you an example. Every day when you get full of yourself. When you look at your problems as all-encompassing and insurmountable. When you are crippled by your fear of failure and the blow to your ego that follows failure. When you cant follow your dreams because you would be an embarrassment to your family or self image. I want you to think of something. I want you to imagine yourself in one of the recent genocides. You could pick any of them, Hitler, Mao, Stalin. Imagine yourself as a lifeless corpse laying in a mass grave surrounded by other lifeless corpses. I want you to look into the glassy eyes of the corpse directly in front of you and realize something.

That was a real person. Just as real and alive as you are in real life. They had hopes and dreams. They had a mother, father, siblings. A god that loved them. They had memories unique to them, little bits of information and experience that died with them, never to be known again. This was a real human, just like you. This pit is filled with a million souls, 100 million souls, murdered without a second thought. Butchered for obscure reasons and at the whim of a single man. Unceremoniously buried in a large unmarked grave where not even a surviving relative could pay respects to keep alive the memory of the fallen. Every one of these faceless corpses deserved life. Each child, left as a feast for the carrion birds, deserved to be loved and allowed to grow safely into an adult with limitless potential to shape the world for the better. I want you to name one of them. A single one. In the rare chance (at least from my experience) that you can name one, how many could you name of the incomprehensible number of 100 million corpses in the 20th century alone. They were just like you are now in every way. A human being. Now they are a faceless and nameless statistic. Even statistics vary wildly from 40 million loving fathers and mothers, children and grandparents, to 100 million. That is in one genocide alone. That 60 million discrepancy is not a weird statistic. That discrepancy is a tragedy of beautiful lights brutally extinguished to the tune of merely 40 million, or 2.5 times that amount.

If they could simply be killed it begs the question. If their lives had value would they have been unjustly murdered in such a undignified manner, buried en mass with not so much as a marker? I do not think so. Again I established that these people are the same as you and me. The only value we (or our loved ones) have is sentimental. Like a toy you had as a child that you would not sell for any amount of money, though no one would offer any money for it anyways. I am the same as that corpse laying in the cold pit gathering flies. My own arrogance and self importance would be the only fallacious barrier to that understanding. Once I dropped that pretense of importance I understood things a little more clearly. I can fail, perhaps by my own standards that failure would improve me, and because nothing I do is that important. It is valueless without the value I impart it with in my own mind. I can be the master of the way I live because in the grand scheme of things my successes and failures are merely my own to judge. I am just a faceless corpse in the ground when all is said and done. So are you. When your importance is abandoned, and you eschew all illusions of meaning, then you can find a true purpose. You understand the world and its tragedies much easier when you know that it is because there is no worth to a soul. The kindness seen so often in the world, the altruistic actions of others in a nihilistic wasteland, warms the heart all the more when you realize that there was no real reason for these kind exchanges. Every day take a moment and look upon that scene to see your worthlessness. You will be free and happiness will come with less effort.

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