The moment had arrived.
As I sprawled across the pavement, staring up at the vast openness of the Texas night sky, trying to comprehend what all those little white dots represented, I began to cry.
I rarely cry, yet I know the feeling that preludes it. There was none of that this time. The tears were some uncontrolled response to something that had clicked below my awareness. All my conscious mind could focus on was the ecstasy. I had never felt a deeper happiness in my life.
My friends, scattered around me, in there own worlds, all silently acknowledged my response, as if it was expected, as if it was required.
As the night grew, and as the tears became an unrepeatable fact of the past, my happiness persisted. My friends and I marched with the suburban night. We played with language, laughing at its limits, mocking its paradoxes, appreciating its beauty.
It was in the midst of this walk that my consciousness finally caught up to what I had realized while staring at the 8 billion year old masses of light. I had, for the first time in my life, seen my life, and all human’s life, from a nonhuman perspective.
It was my attempt at grasping what 8 billion years meant that caused this tectonic shift in understanding. With Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” playing in my mind, I saw the crushingly humble insignificance of even my greatest problem; my ambition.
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
That all this is temporary, changed me. I glimpsed The Void.
I can become stressed by schoolwork, by managing the rapport of multiple beautiful females, and with the pressure my ambitions place upon me. This is only because I have forgotten that place I had once been, that peak of understanding, that verge of hinging to humanity but peering, unguarded, into the abyss.
A abyss that didn’t resemble Nietzsche’s woe, but the bliss of Buddha’s Void. The meaningless was beautiful, relieving, and liberating. By glancing this meaningless vastness, I had my evidences of meaning’s non-omnipotence. I understood that I am the creator and gardener of my meaning. I have the absolute responsibly of my happiness.
This was the moment I broke through a perspective barrier. I am tempted to say I will never experience another moment like this because I assume I have reached the highest level, but, secretly, I think there are many more levels to ascend too. It is truly a metamorphosing moment when one realizes that all of life is a game, and that we can chose whether or not to play.
To my ambition I repeat Shelley’s ironically long lasting words:
“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”