Isn’t it annoying when you get into bed, and instead of sleeping you get all kinds of thoughts rattling through your brain? For instance, last night I thought about how insignificant we are as individuals in the grand scheme of things, and how important we think we are by contrast.
This is not an exercise in humility, but rather in realism. If I heard a story about some guy who lived 300 years ago, who did this and that, how would I react? Would it matter to me? I would first be amazed that I can know what some person did 300 years ago, and then I may wonder if that actually happened, or if someone made it up to prove some point. Both are possible, and the outcome is actually exactly the same, it occurred to me.
What will people remember about me after 300 years, if any will even know I existed? Will I be judged according to whatever view of morality humanity would be operating with in 300 years? (Remember that slavery was only abolished less than 150 years ago, so a lot can change in humanity in 300 years.) Would anyone know I even existed? And if they did, so what?
I may think that what I do or say, or rather what I fail to do or say has some kind of cosmic implications, and that may fill me with a sense of self-importance. But last night I felt a sense of relief at the possibility that in 300 years nobody will even know I existed. That’s comforting. I’m not that big a deal. That made me smile.