What is truly important? What makes life worth living?
The things that keep each of us going on a day to day basis differ widely from one individual to the next, and most people feel that they have a pretty deep understanding of their own personal values, so much so that many people actually have a difficult time understanding the values of others.
Is there a common value to all members of mankind? Something that holds the same position of priority to everyone; Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, and Atheist, alike?
What might that common value be? Life, perhaps? If so, why do we kill each other, or at the least why do we condone or rationalize the taking of life? Perhaps we have lost sight of what is really important.
So I ask again, what is important? You can answer that question for yourself by imagining a little scenario.
Imagine that it is fifty million years in the future. You are somewhere, doing something, and you can remember this moment; this moment and every moment you’ve ever had in your immensely long, fifty million years of living. In this scenario of the future, you are not part of some collective consciousness; you are still the one-of-a-kind individual that you always have been, only now you have all of the growth and experience that one can only achieve after having lived for fifty million years.
For this scenario, it’s not necessary to try to work out the logistics of how you would actually live to be fifty million years old. Maybe we have an immortal soul; most people believe that we do. Or maybe some technology will be developed within our lifetime that allows us to live as long as we should wish to remain alive. Either way, you prefer to have it happen is fine; what is it important for this scenario is that you have retained every memory of every experience you’ve ever had. After all, if you don’t remember it, how can you learn and grow from it? We are each the product of everything we’ve experienced, so for this scenario, you are the product of fifty million years of experience.
What will you have done in those fifty million years? Maybe you spent some or all of it living in heaven with God and Jesus, or Allah and seventy-two virgins. Maybe you’ve been spending all that time exploring the ever-expanding universe, learning about what makes a god. We can only just begin to glimpse at the amazing growth and experience that we will have under our belts in fifty million years.
And speaking of God, (or whatever higher power you prefer), what is the most omnipotent being you can imagine? I’ll bet that after fifty million years you’ll have grown in wisdom and power to exceed the most omniscient and omnipotent being that you can imagine today. In fifty million years we’ll be gods!
So, there you are, fifty million plus years old, somewhere in the universe, doing something vastly enjoyable, and you look back on your life and reflect on the time when you were not yet one hundred years old. What do you still have in fifty million years that you had in your first century? What material things do you still possess? Your house is long gone; you car has long since turned to dust! Planet Earth may even be gone.
What you will have in fifty million years is your family, your friends and loved ones; your relationships! And it’s a fair bet that after fifty million years you’ll have developed an astronomical number of relationships. People with whom you had unresolved issues in your youth, people that hurt you, people that you hurt; all will be forgiven, most likely within a span of time that is much shorter than fifty million years. I can’t imagine being fifty million years old and still holding a grudge, can you?
By this scenario, I’m not trying to suggest that material things are not important. Material possessions are part of our quality of life. What I am trying to suggest is that the same things that will be most important to you in fifty million years are the same things that should be most important to you today!
Imagine that delightful picture one more time. There you are, fifty million years old, somewhere, doing something, and able to remember this moment. How do you want to remember it?