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  • Writer's pictureCalvin

Needle Mover

Everyone goes through ups and downs in life. 

Sometimes, good things will happen to you.  Let’s say you get married to your one true love, or you have your first child, or you get that promotion that has been slipping through your hands for the past five years.  You will obviously feel super ecstatic and blissful at that moment and your world will change for the better.  And congratulations to you of course.

On the flip side, let’s say a close family member passes away, or you go through a traumatic divorce, or you lose a close relationship that is dear to you, obviously you will feel pain and agony like no other.   And in that case, I’m sorry and I hope you get well soon.

At the end of the day, regardless of the happy and the bad things that happen, these moments are simply one moment in time happening to one person within a sea of billions of people on this planet.  It might seem like a life changing force for you, but at the end of the day it doesn’t even move the needle for another stranger’s life, I’m sorry to say.

You can sit there and be happy all you want (or be sad all you want), but the reality (I think at least) is that the world will just continue to move on and continue to go forward.  Wars will continue to be fought over inevitable differences.  Children will continue to be born.  Climate change will continue to affect the planet.  And people will continue to live, love, and laugh at the biggest or smallest valuable moments that they hold dear.  Things will continue to move forward as they always moved forward, regardless of our accomplishments or not.

Honestly, I feel that even if we solve these huge traumatic events that have been plaguing the world over these past few decades, it’s still not going to move the needle in terms of our internal peace and happiness.  If there were no more wars on this planet ever again going forward, or if we create the perfect partnership with artificial intelligence, or if we wipe cancer off the face of the Earth, then what?  Will we be in perfect utopia for all eternity?  Will we feel ecstatic and joyful for years and years to come?

Chances are, probably not.  Because every year, it seems like there is a new problem that pops up.  Something that hinders our growth and something that we need to solve.  Every year, it seems like the world is going to go down the toilet and every year it seems like the world just keeps on progressing forward as per normal. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not discounting some of these big existential issues that we face going forward, such as climate change, social equity, and international disputes.  These things do need to be solved by the right people who have the right capacity to solve such issues.  But even when these things are solved, I feel like the world is simply still moving forward at its usual glacial pace. 

Yes, if someone cures cancer, I would be ecstatic.  I would be happy for a moment in time, and I will be so grateful.  But then, after a day, after a week, or after a month, I’m pretty sure I will go back to living my life normally and usually as before.

Just a few weeks ago, I finally caught COVID (after three long years!).  And for me, it was an eye-opening experience because all the trivial matters that I used to think were big were not really that big at all.  I stopped worrying about relationship problems, career problems, and financial problems.  I stopped worrying about what my mom said to me the previous day that irked me so much or how that stranger at the airport gave me an annoying stink-eye.  The only thing I was worried about was recovering from COVID and getting healthy again as soon as possible.

And thankfully, after a couple days, I tested COVID free and feel relatively back to normal again.  It’s funny how such events like this can open your eyes to what is truly important.  And honestly, most of the things that we preen about, whether it be within our minds or publicly on social media, are just stuff we do because we already have our basic needs covered.

For me, COVID was dare I say an easier problem to handle, because the goal was so clear and simple.  Frankly, it was to survive and beat the disease.  It was to gain immunity and become COVID-free again so that I can go back to living my life again.  To put it in simple terms, it was to win.  And thankfully, I am very grateful that it happened.

So for me, that experience with COVID was an epiphany.  It was eye-opening.  It was an earth-shattering perspective.  But honestly, how important was my experience to other people out there?  Will some random stranger on the other side of the Earth care that I beat COVID?  Will some random dude from Northern Europe (apologies for picking on Northern Europe) really care about whether I got COVID or not?

Because after all, how long has this COVID thing been going on?  And how many people have beaten (or unfortunately fell victim to) this disease?  How many people have had these earth-shattering epiphanies when they fall ill to disease of some form or fashion, whether it be COVID or not?

So yes, the greatest epiphanies that I uncover can be helpful for me in that moment in time.  And I can use it as a valuable learning lesson perhaps for decades and decades.  But even so, at the end of the day, that’s just for me to learn.  I don’t think these personal discoveries will move the world significantly forward or significantly worse in a moment’s notice.  And honestly, I think that’s for the better.

Because no one man or woman can or should wield that much absolute authority over an entire society.  No one deserves such unmitigated influence.  But yes, continue to have your epiphanies and continue to fight for these life-changing movements.  And you do you.  Just realize that these moments can be wonderful for you (and that is great) and can better the world (based on our arbitrary definition of better).  At the same time, they are also just moments in time for the world, and the world will continue to move forward collectively for what it’s worth.  And I’m personally thankful for that.

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