Something that I think about often, and which constantly amazes me, is the vast amount of experiences which are created and had at every instant and at every location. It’s something which is, perhaps, a bit difficult to conceptualize. In many ways, depending on your perception of it, these experiences might seem trivial, unimportant, or passing. Yet for me, at least, the massive sum of these experiences is so incredible, so beautiful, and also so enormous that my limited human comprehension cannot fully appreciate or truly acknowledge it. Considering what thinking about this has done for me, I feel that it’s important for people to experience the same wonder and amazement that I do when I contemplate this matter. Doing so is an incredibly humbling experience, in that you begin to realize how ‘mediocre’ uniqueness is, yet simultaneously very beautiful when you realize how equally unique mediocrity is. I’m sure that this statement comes off as confusing and contradictory, but let me explain both my thoughts on the matter and the matter itself.
I feel that the best way to explain the subject of my thoughts is to provide examples of what I was thinking. I’ll begin by giving an example of what I had first started thinking about when I had considered this concept, and which explains the concept well. Consider yourself for a moment. Think about everything that makes you an individual, everything that makes you unique. Think about the physical form of your body, both how it looks and how it feels. Consider your scars, your bruises, your ailments and allergies, all the broken bones and fractures you have ever had. Now think about your personality, what you’re known for and who you’re known as. What do you enjoy to do, what do you not enjoy to do, and why do you feel those ways. Think about your interests, what you want to do with your life. What is your favorite subject, what your hobby is, what are your pet peeves and what annoys you. If you’re religious, think about what your faith means to you and what that faith says. If you subscribe to a political position or a certain philosophy, think about that and consider how it shapes your life and your perceptions of the world. Now think of all your friends, those who are closest to you and those who are not. Think of all your experiences with them, all the good times and all the bad times. Think of your love interests, how wonderful or painful they’ve made life for you, and everything you’ve had together. Think of your family, your childhood, your school experiences, and your adult life. Think of all these things I’ve listed, plus everything else which makes you who you are, as experiences. The sum of all of these experiences is what makes you into a unique, special individual. You’ve lived a life unlike that of anybody else, a feat which in itself is incredibly special and incredibly beautiful. You are, in a sense, the only of your kind. There is nobody who has had the same experiences as you, you are unique.
And yet, you are completely not. For, despite being a completely unique individual who holds sole claim to your experiences, you are among 7 billion other human beings who have sole claim over theirs. Your experiences might be unique, but you are not unique in having the experiences. Consider a wedding, and how special that moment is to the two getting wed. It is completely and entirely their moment, their experience, developed and designed around them. Yet the vast majority of adults are married, and in being so have had their own weddings, their own special moments. With this example, the contradictory nature of what I had previously stated seems to be withering away. A person’s wedding was unique, but it was a wedding like all of the others. Similarly, it was unique and special like how all of the others were equally unique and special. It was, therefore, mediocre, in a sense not unique, in its uniqueness. And yet, conversely, because it was unique, and thus unlike all the others despite still being a wedding, it was unique in its mediocrity.
This is where the concept becomes so impressive, and also starts to become outside the limits of comprehension, for me. Think back to everything that you had thought of earlier, everything that made you a unique individual. Multiply the sum of those experiences by 7 billion. 7 billion unique relationships, 7 billion different families and childhoods, special moments, careers, ideas, beliefs, faiths, wants, needs, desires. Think about all of your friends, how intimately you know the closest. Think about everything you know about them, how you perceive them. It’s difficult, after a point, to be able to know everything about all of them to understand all of their experiences. But also consider how intimate that knowledge is, how special their experiences are to you and to them. How much they mean to you and them, how intensely they shape your lives. Now try to do that with 7 billion separate, unique individuals. It’s impossible for our human mind to do, but all of those experiences are there. Its remarkable to consider.
This recognition of the vast expanse of experiences being had goes even farther when you begin to consider the existence of everything around us. Think about our planet and its biology and geology, think about the planets around us. Think about Jupiter and Saturn, the massive gas giants which orbit our average ‘Yellow Dwarf’ star. Think about the inner planets, about the inner most planet Mercury which orbits the sun in a racing 88 Earth days, about the greenhouse-gas disaster of Venus, which has a toxic atmosphere of mostly Carbon Dioxide and a surface temperature of 92 times that of Earth. Consider how unique these qualities are to these planets, how special their development and evolution were. Our solar system is magnificent, in its composition and its formation, but its not alone. Astronomers have estimated that every star has at least a single planet in orbit around it. Even more remarkably, there is estimated to be at least 100,000 planetoids larger than Pluto for each individual star system moving in free-flight through interstellar space. The number of worlds is massive. Over 400 billion stars exist in our Milky Way galaxy, and hundreds of billions of distant galaxies have been discovered in the night sky. think of all these solar systems, how amazing and unique they each are. Try to imagine the complexity of our own solar system and its orbit and then consider the complexity of another star’s system. How magnificent it must be, but it is just one of trillions. There is nothing truly special about it. In the end, each of these places in space are special in their own unique way, in their history and development and the reasons behind those. But they are all the same thing in the end, they are all planets and all galaxies, just one in a mass of trillions. They are mediocre in their uniqueness, but unique in their mediocrity.
Of course, the incomprehensible and nature of such a massive amount of special experiences happens to make it trivial, unrecognizable to our daily lives. We live reacting to local social and environmental stimuli. You think about and interact with your close friends, your family, your coworkers, and your social circles through the day and through personal and electronic mediums. But you hardly think about the experiences, the daily lives of every other person. How often do you imagine or consider the day of someone from China, or from Kazakhstan, or Ghana, or Argentina. The most trivial aspects which make up the majority of our day is what makes our days unique, our private and public interactions and conduct. Think about your own private moments, and then place yourself in the shoes of an average woman living in North Korea. The experiences are massively different, unique, but all doing the same thing, accomplishing (hopefully) the same ends. You don’t think about this often, because you don’t need to. We only need to rely on (and often mentally can’t rely on anything more than) our local environment. Only when we take actual time to consider the enormity of experiences do we really begin to appreciate them.
The knowledge of such an enormity of experiences happening, if not the conscious recognition of them, does carry some profound implications. Because you are unique, you are an incredibly special individual, in your own way. You have had an incredibly life, because it is entirely and uniquely yours. But if you consider that you are just one of 7 billion other people having lives, you realize that you aren’t the center of the universe. A recognition that we’re all just trying to go by with our day posses a sort of pacifying property. Do upon others as you would wish to be done upon yourself, because the reality is that every other person is living and experiencing just like you. If only the world recognized we were all human, that we were all individuals living their own experiences, global unkindness and greed would disappear. Of course, greed and unkindness, through competition and war, slaughter and deceit, and corruption and inefficiency, is found all across the world. It rules us, and enables those who exploit it personal gain. If only they considered that those they manipulate and those they murder were a person just like them. Even on a more personal level kindness would be more prolific. If you think about the life of the person you’re about to cut off, about his drive home and his own personal frustrations and situations, you might be less likely to interfere so belligerently in his life. You can only imagine what it would be like to you.
It’s an enormous understanding, and it often slips us by as unimportant and unrecognizable. Sitting down and actually contemplating it, however, allows us to see just how important and yet how subtle it can play on our perception of our world. It is an exciting thing to imagine, when imaging the happenings on a distant world or in a distant land. Thinking about all the experiences being had, or which have been had, is magnificent.