December 9

“He who does not wish to die cannot have wished to live. For life is granted to us with the reservation that we shall die; to this end our path leads.” – Seneca

It’s going to happen. We can not escape it. But it also comes for everyone else. We all are going to face this fate, we are all eventually going to cease to be a part of this world. It is simply the price we all have to pay to be a part of this. We can think of it as the cost of admission.

If the cost seems steep to us, it might be that we are forgetting just how amazingly fortunate we are to be here in the state we are in.

We know considerably more about genetics now than we did just one hundred years ago and to compare the knowledge we have of things now to that held during Seneca’s time makes the philosopher seem like a barbarian. It would be wise of us to consider however, just how we might seem two thousand years from now.

If we turn back to how fortunate we are to be here, in the state we are in, with the faculties, and individual traits we currently possess we will see that the odds of us existing at all are remote.

There are twenty three chromosomes in the human genome that live in pairs, giving us a total of forty six. When males generate sperm and females generate eggs, those pairs are halved, mixed, and then turned into different variations of those twenty three chromosomes. This process leaves us with eight million possibilities in each egg, and another eight million possibilities in each sperm which equates out to sixty four trillion combination possibilities. And yet here we stand. The number of people who could have existed instead of us is greater than the number of people that have ever existed. By a large factor. That is almost sixty four trillion people who will never see a sunset, never hear the ocean, never feel a crisp breeze, and never smell the warm air after a summer shower.

Yes we have to die. But that is only because we got to live.

virtus fortis vocat

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