The first stage of Under A Tree’s Ethical Citizens Fellowship asks its fellows to grapple with questions of identity, culture, and the human search for values across generations. One of our most talked about sessions forces the fellows to position themselves within a broader cosmic context where they are asked to reflect about the importance and weight of their existences when reconsidered from the near-infinite vastness of time and space.
Below, House of Dumezweni Fellow, Karen Cadet, reflects on what it means to take ourselves a bit less seriously without sacrificing our sense of duty, compassion, and commitment to do good with the little time we have:
Our universe is so vast and is made up of so many infinities.
In comparison we are barely significant.
Our life means absolutely nothing to the universe.
We only get a taste of life; out of 13.8 billion years of the universe’s existence each of us are only here for about 79 years.
In other words, if we were to crunch the universe’s life span in one year, we would barely have a millisecond.
To the universe, our time spent here is a millisecond.
So, why does my life matter?
Why does any of our lives matter?
To the universe, we are merely a speck of dust.
So, where does this leave me?
My existence doesn’t matter to the universe
But it matters to me.
I like to think my millisecond is all I have, all the universe has so graciously given to me.
So, why not make the most of it?
My time here is so little so I’m going to live my life to the fullest and do what makes me happy.
Why should I waste my time on negative people, things, and thoughts?
Why put my energy in things that don’t mean anything to me?
My time here is so precious, my little millisecond.
So as a mere speck of dust, I’m going to take my little millisecond and run with it.