The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind and still have the ability to function.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
We have all experienced that emotion at least once in life when we think that in the grand scheme of things, we don’t really matter.
In the infinity of the cosmos, the constant sourceless flow time, does a speck of a little being that appears and disappears in a flash hold any significance?
Yes, in the bigger picture, even in the observable universe, we don’t even feature as a faint blip on the cosmic radar.
One could thus infer that life is quite pointless, devoid of any meaning.
But wait a moment and think.
Don’t we also have the opportunity to find meaning for our life for our own self?
We have a finite amount of time to experience our perceptual reality and engage ourselves in something that we find meaningful.
It might not matter in the bigger picture, but in the present moment, what we do with our life and what adds meaning to it matters, doesn’t it?
So how does one find a middle ground while being confronted with apparent pointlessness on one hand and finding meaning on the other?
Here’s where the quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald comes in.
To make peace with pointlessness and meaning, we have to able to hold both ideas in our head at the same time.
And, it can do wonders to your existence.
On one hand, realising our pointlessness in the grand scheme of things will make sure we don’t become egocentric in our perspective.
On the other hand, choosing to find meaning for our own life and living by it will make us more responsible carriers of consciousness.
Once we learn to make peace with both these opposing ideas, of pointlessness and meaning, a certain stoic calm would dawn upon us.
In a way, we will learn when to take life seriously and when to just sit back, accept and laugh at how insignificant we are.
An image conjures up in my mind when I think about making peace with this duality.
Imagine a father and his 5 year old son peering through a telescope at a clear night sky.
The father looks at a minisclue fraction of the cosmos through the lenses and realises how little his existence is.
And then, he looks at his son gazing through the telescope in awe and finds all the meaning in the world to live fully and responsibly. To make the most out of his existence.
In that moment of realization, he’s made peace with his reality.
Perhaps the best way to stay clear of nihilism and egomania, is to understand the duality of pointlessness and meaning,
and live with a solemn awareness of both ideas each living moment.
How does one make peace with these polar opposite perspectives?
Perhaps, a telescope would help.
watching your baby fall asleep.