Purposeful Discovery and Our Significance

Tahayo River in September 2017

ell, here I am. As it may appear, you are about to read yet another bloke’s thoughts and ambitions to have his voice heard. I guess it hinges on man’s desire to be heard, stemming from the concept of the drive and pursuit for meaning and purpose, a.k.a. part of a bigger plan. Some of us try with every bone in our body to make our voices heard. There are those who take the road of sinister extremes and try to rewrite all the rules as a failed dictator said,

It is not truth that matters, but victory — A. Hitler

But there are those who feel as though it is our duty to make a great impact on what we care for may it be country, family or assets. Martin Luther used dialog to created ripples which hatched the great European Reformation.

“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” ― Martin Luther

But the fact of the matter is, we just aren’t. For me it was emphasized as my wife and I started watching the Planet Earth 2 on Netflix. And all I can say is.. wow.

For your enjoyment! Check it out

It is beautiful to get even a small glimpse on how vast our planet is and how truly insignificant we as the human race. We don’t understand the magnitude and variety there is, making us normal for the most part. Tolstoy pondered the same question and had a solution on how to live in that light. He wrote:

“How good is it to remember one’s insignificance: that of a man among billions of men, of an animal amid billions of animals; and one’s abode, the earth, a little grain of sand in comparison with Sirius and others, and one’s life span in comparison with billions on billions of ages. There is only one significance, you are a worker. The assignment is inscribed in your reason and heart and expressed clearly and comprehensibly by the best among the beings similar to you. The reward for doing the assignment is immediately within you. But what the significance of the assignment is or of its completion, that you are not given to know, nor do you need to know it. It is good enough as it is. What else could you desire?*

Simply, Tolstoy felt that in light of our own menial significance, we are to remember we are but a worker. This means to me that, our own personal worth needs to be understood, however we are a drop in the pond in the sea of humanity. Our ripple mostly will have no effect.

we are but a worker. — Leo Tolstoy

But that’s alright. If we find the humility to be ok with our insignificance, we find it solves heartache. Our care is not our own only, it is the care of ourselves and those around us by simply being the worker and doing the task at hand.

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Put another way, “Just Do It.”

All that is great, however that leaves still a gaping hole to further investigate. And at that I’ll leave it at this parting thought, why do we ask the question: Why do we want to be significant?

I’m a generative artist and data scientist who is interested in solving problems, creating gen art and data vis, understanding biology and philosophy.

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