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Discussion #35 - Human Significance

In a perfect world, the perceived worth or value of every human being would be 100% identical. The hard fact is that every human life is indeed 100% equal in significance. Unfortunately, virtually nobody on earth actually believes this reality. Instead, we rank each other based on a few key yardsticks. Examples of these would include perceived intelligence, confidence, influence, charisma, physical appearance, career, family, financial success, etc.

This ranking of human perceived significance has been going on for a very long time, and does create an extra dimension to human existence. There is little that can be done to squelch it, so most choose to embrace it. We use it as a motivator, and many will achieve amazing things as a result. It is important however, to take these perceived value/worth differences with a big grain of salt, as again in reality we are all worth the same. The proof of this is our relatively similar (and short) mortal lifespans. To me this is the great equalizer.

Everyone has a different appetite for this aspect of life. Some are shooting for (and content with) basic survival, some for normality (fitting in with the people around them), and some are shooting for greatness, fame or wealth. Everyone else is striving for something in between these three. If you fall closest to the last category, be very careful. There are many in this world drooling over what only a handful of people actually possess. 7.6 billion is a much bigger number than most fully realize. To be "on the map" or "A-list" in this department is not exactly the best lifestyle, mainly due to the loss of privacy (which most of us take for granted). We are a species who love to put people on pedestals. Artists, politicians, writers, athletes, religious leaders, royal family members, the wealthy elite, etc. Most modern societies around the world are not promoting the reality of equality, as it is far less profitable than the perceived one.

Unless we believe in a spiritual afterlife (ie: heaven), in a relatively short period of time we will all be laying on the exact same (metaphoric) slab. Then my friends, we will all most definitely be 100% equal, regardless of our legacy. This last point is not up for debate, but a well-known fact that we forget or choose to ignore for most of our lives.

The truest definition of the word "ego" is the belief that one's significance is higher than others. Many spend much of their lives desperately trying to prove this very thing. Although it does make life more interesting, in the end it becomes a complete waste of time. We should always pursue our dreams, but there are only so many big-shot flashy careers to go around, and these lifestyles are far more attractive to most people. The laws of supply/demand and genetics never take a holiday.

This point may seem a little harsh, but is undeniably true. We rank each other's perceived significance based on the weakest links in their life. Examples of this would be a billionaire who is diagnosed with a serious form of cancer, or someone with two careers, one impressive and one not so impressive. This is just human nature. We are competitive creatures, and do this as it makes us feel better about our own significance in the world. Most people become extremely good at hiding these attitudes over the years, and many more are completely unaware that they even exist. The subconscious mind is a very powerful thing, and we evaluate each other on a fairly continuous basis in this area of the mind. In this area there are many more automatic decisions being made than in higher levels of the mind, where there are fewer more deliberate/controlled decisions being made far less often.

Virtually everyone is desperately trying to hide the fact that we believe the world revolves around us (we call this tact). The reason for this is simple; the world does revolve around us. Everything we perceive is through our own senses, so ego is unavoidable. The best we can do is try to hide it, minimize it, or pretend it doesn't exist (as it is repulsive in excess). Others will see it before we will, and if brave enough may even let us know from time to time. The issue is more prevalent in the richer countries and social circles, as the normal level of competition is much higher. This is also the reason why many feel they know what is what when it comes to issues that are currently unproven, even without credentials on the subject. One example of this would be climate change.

When people ask the question; what do you do? (or what did you do if retired), what they are really doing is trying to quickly ascertain your significance in the universe. If it was socially appropriate, we would also be asking questions like "how much money do you have?", "how big is your house?", or "how popular are you and your family members?" So we basically stick with "what do you do?", which partly explains the worldwide obsession with having an impressive career. Of course there are other more noble reasons for having a great career, such as providing for our families and preparing for eventual retirement.

People have a natural fascination with perceived significance, which does in many cases cross over into obsession territory (celebrity is a good example of this). There is nothing wrong with having an impressive career, it's just that it will do nothing to improve our "fruit fly" lifespan. I hate to sound negative, but this is just a reality. To me it's just absurd that people are so obsessed with having an impressive life, and yet they barely care at all about even attempting to extend their healthy lifespan. All they seem to care about is having lots of people attend their funeral. This has actually improved dramatically in recent years, as the average lifespan of a pioneer (approx. 100 years ago) was only 40.

A lot of this depends on whether or not we believe in a spiritual afterlife (most of the world does not, I personally do). Personally, I believe that there is far more to the human soul than just the biological "machine" that is our body, but I would never judge others for having a different opinion. There is far too much judging going on in the world today about this subject, which is ridiculous as most of us have never died and come back to life to know for sure what is on the other side. Faith can be a wonderful thing, but based on strictly faith alone we could potentially be convinced to believe almost anything, and this is exactly why some cults flourish with a charismatic leader at the helm.

Many also believe that building a better world for future generations is the main purpose to life. I definitely also believe this to be extremely important, but we should not forget that our own generation (and life) is 100% of equal importance to both future and past generations. There is nothing wrong with trying to improve our perceived significance in life, it's actually a lot of fun (which creates healthy endorphins). It's just that (like in many areas of life), people tend to go to extremes in subconsciously competing for these feelings. This is the root cause of most social dysfunction, and ultimately much of the stress and strife that many face in life.

We all struggle to achieve/maintain our significance in the world. Keeping this in the back of our mind when dealing with others can be extremely empowering.
Discussion #35 - Human Significance

In a perfect world, the perceived worth or value of every human being would be 100% identical. The hard fact is that every human life is indeed 100% equal in significance. Unfortunately, virtually nobody on earth actually believes this reality. Instead, we rank each other based on a few key yardsticks. Examples of these would include perceived intelligence, confidence, influence, charisma, physical appearance, career, family, financial success, etc.

This ranking of human perceived significance has been going on for a very long time, and does create an extra dimension to human existence. There is little that can be done to squelch it, so most choose to embrace it. We use it as a motivator, and many will achieve amazing things as a result. It is important however, to take these perceived value/worth differences with a big grain of salt, as again in reality we are all worth the same. The proof of this is our relatively similar (and short) mortal lifespans. To me this is the great equalizer.

Everyone has a different appetite for this aspect of life. Some are shooting for (and content with) basic survival, some for normality (fitting in with the people around them), and some are shooting for greatness, fame or wealth. Everyone else is striving for something in between these three. If you fall closest to the last category, be very careful. There are many in this world drooling over what only a handful of people actually possess. 7.6 billion is a much bigger number than most fully realize. To be "on the map" or "A-list" in this department is not exactly the best lifestyle, mainly due to the loss of privacy (which most of us take for granted). We are a species who love to put people on pedestals. Artists, politicians, writers, athletes, religious leaders, royal family members, the wealthy elite, etc. Most modern societies around the world are not promoting the reality of equality, as it is far less profitable than the perceived one.

Unless we believe in a spiritual afterlife (ie: heaven), in a relatively short period of time we will all be laying on the exact same (metaphoric) slab. Then my friends, we will all most definitely be 100% equal, regardless of our legacy. This last point is not up for debate, but a well-known fact that we forget or choose to ignore for most of our lives.

The truest definition of the word "ego" is the belief that one's significance is higher than others. Many spend much of their lives desperately trying to prove this very thing. Although it does make life more interesting, in the end it becomes a complete waste of time. We should always pursue our dreams, but there are only so many big-shot flashy careers to go around, and these lifestyles are far more attractive to most people. The laws of supply/demand and genetics never take a holiday.

This point may seem a little harsh, but is undeniably true. We rank each other's perceived significance based on the weakest links in their life. Examples of this would be a billionaire who is diagnosed with a serious form of cancer, or someone with two careers, one impressive and one not so impressive. This is just human nature. We are competitive creatures, and do this as it makes us feel better about our own significance in the world. Most people become extremely good at hiding these attitudes over the years, and many more are completely unaware that they even exist. The subconscious mind is a very powerful thing, and we evaluate each other on a fairly continuous basis in this area of the mind. In this area there are many more automatic decisions being made than in higher levels of the mind, where there are fewer more deliberate/controlled decisions being made far less often.

Virtually everyone is desperately trying to hide the fact that we believe the world revolves around us (we call this tact). The reason for this is simple; the world does revolve around us. Everything we perceive is through our own senses, so ego is unavoidable. The best we can do is try to hide it, minimize it, or pretend it doesn't exist (as it is repulsive in excess). Others will see it before we will, and if brave enough may even let us know from time to time. The issue is more prevalent in the richer countries and social circles, as the normal level of competition is much higher. This is also the reason why many feel they know what is what when it comes to issues that are currently unproven, even without credentials on the subject. One example of this would be climate change.

When people ask the question; what do you do? (or what did you do if retired), what they are really doing is trying to quickly ascertain your significance in the universe. If it was socially appropriate, we would also be asking questions like "how much money do you have?", "how big is your house?", or "how popular are you and your family members?" So we basically stick with "what do you do?", which partly explains the worldwide obsession with having an impressive career. Of course there are other more noble reasons for having a great career, such as providing for our families and preparing for eventual retirement.

People have a natural fascination with perceived significance, which does in many cases cross over into obsession territory (celebrity is a good example of this). There is nothing wrong with having an impressive career, it's just that it will do nothing to improve our "fruit fly" lifespan. I hate to sound negative, but this is just a reality. To me it's just absurd that people are so obsessed with having an impressive life, and yet they barely care at all about even attempting to extend their healthy lifespan. All they seem to care about is having lots of people attend their funeral. This has actually improved dramatically in recent years, as the average lifespan of a pioneer (approx. 100 years ago) was only 40.

A lot of this depends on whether or not we believe in a spiritual afterlife (most of the world does not, I personally do). Personally, I believe that there is far more to the human soul than just the biological "machine" that is our body, but I would never judge others for having a different opinion. There is far too much judging going on in the world today about this subject, which is ridiculous as most of us have never died and come back to life to know for sure what is on the other side. Faith can be a wonderful thing, but based on strictly faith alone we could potentially be convinced to believe almost anything, and this is exactly why some cults flourish with a charismatic leader at the helm.

Many also believe that building a better world for future generations is the main purpose to life. I definitely also believe this to be extremely important, but we should not forget that our own generation (and life) is 100% of equal importance to both future and past generations. There is nothing wrong with trying to improve our perceived significance in life, it's actually a lot of fun (which creates healthy endorphins). It's just that (like in many areas of life), people tend to go to extremes in subconsciously competing for these feelings. This is the root cause of most social dysfunction, and ultimately much of the stress and strife that many face in life.

We all struggle to achieve/maintain our significance in the world. Keeping this in the back of our mind when dealing with others can be extremely empowering.
Copyright 2014-2018 Christopher Wicks | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions
Copyright 2014-2018 Christopher Wicks | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions