Why – A LOGICAL EXPLANATION OF LIFE

CHAPTER 1
THE VALUE OF LIFE

“A man who dares to waste on hour of time has not
discovered the value of life.”
~Charles Darwin

“Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create that fact.”
~William James

Imagine yourself sitting on a park bench when a
cute little girl walks up to you and demands that you
explain everything she needs to know in life right there on
the spot. If you choose not to dodge the responsibility by
throwing a logic-stopping escape clause at her where would
you begin explaining life?

I’ve relived that scenario in my head a million
times, and I still question whether or not I have the right
answer, but you have to draw a line in the sand at some
point. So here’s what I decided the first thing a young
person should know about life is.

The amount of effort you put into anything you do
depends on your motivation, and your motivation depends
on understanding the importance of the goal you’re trying
to accomplish. For example, if someone offered you $1 to
run across the continent you wouldn’t do it. However, if
someone offered you $1,000,000,000,000 dollars or told
you they’d kill you and your whole family if you didn’t
then you’d certainly do it. You wouldn’t even have to
debate with yourself about it or work up the strength. Your
motivation would be so strong there wouldn’t be a choice.
There would only be one path in front of you.

Think about how that applies to life in general. If
you don’t know why life is important or how important life
is then you won’t have the proper motivation to take life as
seriously as you should. Thus you won’t put the appropriate
amount of effort into living. Instead your motivation and
priorities will default to immediate, shortsighted, petty, and
ultimately meaningless goals, and you’ll squander the short
time you have here on such trivialities. However, if you
truly, truly, truly understand the value of life you won’t
have to debate with yourself or work up the strength to
sacrifice the petty temptations of the world to pursue life’s
highest purpose. Your motivation would be so strong
there’d only be one choice, one path before you. So the first
lesson you need to learn about life is how valuable it is and
why.

In order to explain the value of life we need to start
from the very beginning, which was about 14.7 billion
years ago when all the matter and energy in the universe
was compacted into an infinitely dense point in space
called a singularity.

There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the
singularity. We don’t know why it was there or how it got
there. We don’t know whether it had existed forever or if it
appeared out of nothing in a specific instant in time. For
that matter we don’t know if time or space existed back
then in the same way we experience it today. There are
theories that it probably didn’t. All we’ve been able to
reasonably deduce is that the singularity was there, and in
an instant an unknown catalyst caused it (and possibly time
and space) to expand to cosmic proportions. This event is
commonly known as the Big Bang though the word “bang”
may be a misnomer. “The Big Expansion” is often said to
be more accurate.

During the early phase of the expansion all the
matter in the universe was too hot and energized for atoms
to hold themselves together much less bond with other
atoms to form the 118 elements that make up all the matter
we’ve found in the universe today, but the more the
singularity expanded the more it thinned out, slowed down
and cooled, which it did for 150 million to 1 billion years
before the building blocks of the universe had cooled and
dissipated enough energy that they were finally stable
enough to bond together into elements.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The first celestial bodies to form were massive
clouds of hydrogen gas, but within those clouds arose the
conditions necessary to give birth to stars, and within those
stars arose the conditions necessary to give birth to planets
and black holes. As the universe became ever more diverse
in composition it created more diverse conditions to
produce more diverse elements. The continued expansion,
cooling, and pooling of matter and energy in the universe
resulted in a never ending redesigning of the physical
universe that eventually created the conditions necessary
for life to exist.

About 9.6 billion years after the Big Expansion,
which would be 5.1 billion years ago, the Milky Way
galaxy formed. About 5 billion years ago some of the
remnants of a supernova within the Milky Way began to
cool off and form into the planet, Earth. About 3.5 billion
years ago life appeared on Earth. After that life evolved in
complexity for about 2 billion, eight hundred fifty million
years before simple, multi celled organisms appeared.
Oddly, after that evolution seemed to speed up, because in
about the same amount of time it took for life to evolve into
multi celled organism those organisms went on to evolve
into millions of elaborate species of plants, animals,
fungus, bacteria, etc. including dinosaurs that towered up to
43 feet tall. Unfortunately for the dinosaurs, they all died
off suddenly…possibly because of a combination of a giant
meteor hitting the earth and other forms of natural
selection.

About six hundred forty-nine million nine-hundred
thousand years after the dinosaurs went extinct a small,
furry mammal evolved into the first homo sapiens. After
that, humans evolved for about 90,000 years before our
cultural history began. From there it took us about 10,000
years to go from writing on clay tablets to surfing the
internet.

Now, with all of that information in mind, go
outside the city on a cloudless night and take some time to
stare up at the night sky. Think about everything that’s
happened in the past 14.7 billion years that led to you
standing there staring back up towards your cosmic birth
place.

If one particle had been missing during the first
second of the Big Bang it could have shifted galaxies and
you wouldn’t be here today. If one more or one less star
between the big bang and where Earth is today had or
hadn’t exploded or imploded you wouldn’t be here today. If
the earth was only a few miles closer or farther away from
the sun you wouldn’t be here today. If one more or one less
asteroid had hit the earth you wouldn’t be here today. If one
more or one less extinction level event hadn’t occurred you
wouldn’t be here today. If there had been one more or one
less rainfall you wouldn’t be here today. If one animal had
or hadn’t eaten one of your countless ancestors you
wouldn’t be here today. If one animal hadn’t eaten one of
the predators trying to eat one of your countless ancestors
you wouldn’t be here today. If any two of your ancestors
hadn’t met and copulated on the day they did you wouldn’t
be here today. Each of your (homo sapiens) female ancestors
was born with between 200,000 and 400,000 potential eggs
in her uterus though only several hundred of them matured
into eggs (assuming she lived an average lifetime). Each of
your male (homo sapiens) ancestors produced about 5
billion sperm in their lives (again, assuming they had an
average lifespan). When you were conceived, there were
between 40 to 600 million other sperm that could have
gestated the egg your mother provided instead of the one
that created you. Only one combination of sperm and eggs
in each generation could have led to your creation.
What are the odds that you’d be here today? For all
practical purposes there’s a 1 in infinity chance. Imagine all
the potential beings who would have gotten the chance to
exist had things turned out differently. Imagine how they
would scream in the darkness with jealousy that you
received this coveted chance and they didn’t. Some people
might call that destiny (though there’s no scientific
evidence that destiny exists), but even it was a matter of
pure chance that you, specifically, should be alive, it’s no
accident that the universe or life exists. There was a reason
The Big Expansion happened and life emerged on earth.
We don’t know what that reason is, but everything happens
as a result of cause and effect. If there was a cause there
was a reason (even if that reason is purely scientific). If
there was a reason there was a purpose. If there was a
purpose then there is value in the life of any creature
capable of fulfilling that purpose.

Unfortunately, you weren’t born with a price tag on
your toe. So you can only deduce how valuable your life is,
but there’s evidence of your value in how much work went
into creating you. Remember, it didn’t take 9 months to
create you. It took 14.7 billion years. The matter in your
body today was present at the Big Expansion. It has
traveled the length of the universe. Galaxies rose and fell
around you in the great cosmic tidal wave that brought
about the conditions necessary for you to be born. The
matter in your body used to be in a star. It might have been
part of a dinosaur. You might have been in the water drunk
by your favorite historical figure.
Spending your entire life on this familiar planet it’s
easy to take yourself for granted while perceiving the
beautiful nebulas and globular clusters in the sky as
miraculous celestial bodies, but look at earth from their
point of view. You’re a celestial body too. In fact, you’re
even more amazing than the most beautiful astronomical
phenomenon. The fact that you, a sentient being, aware of
your own existence and capable of self-determination,
arose from inanimate matter is as miraculous as The Big
Expansion its self.

The contradictory nature of your existence raises
some more penetrating questions. We don’t know why the
universe exists at all, but we know that the physical
universe is meticulously, mathematically, and consistently
designed and behaves according to fixed, unwavering rules.
Why and how is it that these rules exist? How is it that
those rules allowed for the sublimation of living creatures
whose bodies are meticulously, mathematically, and
consistently designed? Why is heredity mathematically
predictable? Chance isn’t predictable. So evolution must
not be entirely the product of chance. If that’s true then
what else could it be the product of?
It’s been theorized that the universe could have
been designed by some form of intelligence. There’s no
conclusive evidence to back this theory up, but it’s not
entirely without precedent. After all, we ourselves are
intelligent beings who arose from inanimate matter. And in
a universe where you can’t get something from nothing it
would explain where our intelligence came from. Granted,
that still leaves the issue of where the creator came from,
which is no small question. Maybe the creator existed
forever. Of course, if He did then maybe the universe
existed forever as well, but if that were the case then the
universe wouldn’t have needed a creator to create it since it
was always there.

You can see where speculating about a creator will
get you. So we won’t get any further into that for now other
than to point out one implication that arises from the
existence of a creator. If there was logical intent behind
your creation then your life has an extra source of value.
You’re valuable to the one who went through 14.7 billion
years of deliberate, calculated work creating you.
Regardless of whether or not your parents were the
only intelligent beings responsible for bringing you to life
there still aren’t words to fully describe how cosmically
epic in scale your existence is. And yet for all the work and
purpose that went into bringing you here you’ll only have a
handful of decades to be a witness to your self and all of
creation. In a universe where time appears to be infinite
you’ll take a finite number of breaths. You’ll speak a finite
number of words. You’ll see a finite number of blades of
grass. You’ll meet a finite number of people. Every
moment of your life that ticks by was the only chance in all
of eternity for you to experience that moment. That makes
every moment of your life (no matter how mundane it may
seem) infinitely rare and thus infinitely valuable. That
makes every moment of your life the best moment of your
life.

Despite the infinite value of life, someday you’ll
die. Why? What happens after we die? We don’t know. We
make up explanations about death that make us feel better
about it, but the truth of the matter is you don’t get to
decide what happens after you die. What you believe
doesn’t change or prove anything. The only thing believing
in an after-death scenario proves is you’re too weak and
afraid to admit your ignorance. You may think you’re
doing yourself a favor by creating an explanation to hide
from your fears behind, but ultimately all your self-serving
fantasies really accomplish is misleading you in life.
Simply putting off worrying about death until the last
minute isn’t going to help you either because you won’t be
able to make the most out of life until you work through the
stages of grief over your own mortality. Only then will you
be able to soberly accept that you’re going to die and get on
with making the most of the time you have left in a logical,
conscious way. In order to accomplish all of those things
the wisest course of action is to just admit your ignorance
and work within the parameters of the unknown.

The truth is we don’t know what happens after we
die. If the simplest answer is the correct one then our
consciousness simply turns off and we cease to exist. If
that’s true then we need to ask ourselves, what effect does
death have on the value of life? Does it render our lives
meaningless? Does it matter what we do in life? Does it
mean there are no consequences to our actions?
These are all logical concerns, but the evidence
points to the conclusion that our situation isn’t as grim as it
might first appear. We’ve already established that we exist
for an infinitely valuable reason, and what little time we
have in life is infinitely valuable. Death doesn’t change
that. The value of one moment isn’t effected by anything
that happens (or doesn’t happen) afterwards. Furthermore,
you don’t have to wait until after death to find
consequences for our actions. You can call this “the rule of
immediate karma.” The decisions you make and the actions
you perform at any given moment shape your experiences
immediately. If you fill your life with anger, hatred,
pettiness, etc. then that’s what you’re going to experience
in those fleeting, irreplaceable moments of your infinitely
valuable existence. It doesn’t matter if you’re not punished
for it later because you already suffered the consequences
of an infinitely negative nature the moment you did it. On
the other hand, logical, positive behavior rewards itself
immediately in an infinitely valuable way.
That’s what’s on the line. So given the infinitely
rare chance to exist and be aware of your own
existence…And given the epic scale of miraculous work
that went into creating you…And given the fact that there
is an infinitely valuable purpose for your existence…And
given the possibility that you were created intentionally by
an intelligent agent…And given the fleeting amount of time
you have to fulfill your purpose in this universe…And
given the fact that how you live your life has infinite
consequences regardless of whether or not there’s an
afterlife, the most important thing you can be doing with
your life right now is asking yourself, “What’s the most
important thing I can be doing with my life?

To Be Continued……….

Published by @have2bbetter

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