Waste of Time 12/4/19

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Everything that we do is a waste of time. I wish I could say that it wasn’t the case, but those are the cold hard facts.

It may seem heartless and cruel, but the fact is that history will forget you and all that you have done. What’s worse, the world will forget us as a culture and everything that we’ve accomplished, and the universe will forget the earth, and that it had ever existed. In the end, nothing, the planet, the solar system, the galaxy, all of the probes we’ve sent out into deep space, all of our art, literature, architecture will all vanish.

It’s the nature of this existence. Everything falls to the second law of thermodynamics. We all return to the endless void from which we originated, and there will be no evidence that we ever existed at all.

Which begs the question, why try?

So many of us work for a better and brighter future. For some of us, it’s for “selfish” reasons. We might be working for a better paying job, higher education. For others, maybe it’s less selfish, like providing for our family or building a better future for our children. Still others work to serve others, to make their world better, to make us all more giving. But in the long run, whatever we do will be lost, sometimes sooner than later.

I’ve lost a lot in my days. At my “major” institution where I earned my title as tenured full professor, I wrote two programs that increased enrollment in the physical sciences from three to nearly forty. One of the programs was a forensic science program, unlike any forensic science program I had seen with an emphasis on chemistry, physics and photography. By the time I left, the dean, and even the science representative had no idea who had written it, claimed it failed, and simply swept it away. They had no idea what a tremendous gem it really was, something I that didn’t even fully comprehend until I myself became the director of a forensic lab and realized just how the focus of the program closely matched the needs, and shortcomings, of modern forensic science.

Gone.

These days, there are few that even remember me, let along my programs that could have served them so well.

So what’s the point?

I had a discussion with an analyst in the forensic lab where I was director who insisted that only Christians can be moral. Morality is part of the Bible, came from Christ’s sacrifice, so if you’re not Christian you are, by default, immoral. The funny thing is that this same individual asked me if I pay for other people’s groceries, which, when I have the money to do so, I do. Apparently, I paid for the groceries of somebody in line (typically immediately in front of or behind me), and generated some discussion, completely unbeknownst to me. He had heard the discussion, and the description of the man who had done this kindness and put two and two together realizing that it must have been his non-Christian and therefore immoral supervisor who did it.

But what’s the point?

Maybe, the point isn’t for the far distant future. Maybe the point is that we are all right here, together, now. Maybe the point is that we are all in this existence doomed for destruction right now, so perhaps, just perhaps, we should be kind to one another.

Recently I saw a “meme” on my social media page that made an interesting point. I’ve never begrudged anybody for making money and becoming wealthy, especially if they do so on their own (I’m a bit “iffy” on the wealthy by inheritance crowd), but this meme made the comment that being a billionaire is actually immoral. The reasoning was that one could not spend so much money in multiple lifetimes, and the money is (I’m paraphrasing here) a resource. It is food on the table for somebody, it’s charity, it’s jobs. Therefore, to hoard so much money, which is the equivalent of hoarding resources, is in and of itself an act of immorality. There is a class of billionaires, such as Warrant Buffet, who are working to change this. Warren has promised to pass a modest sum (a few hundred thousand dollars) on to his heirs and dispose of the rest of his wealth in charitable giving. And why not? When you die a billionaire, you’re still dead. What has your billions of dollars accomplished, save to create lawsuits and bickering over which heir should get it. By giving the money away, Warren is promising to live in the here and the now. That is the point.

2 thoughts on “Waste of Time 12/4/19

  1. Thank you Richard!

    ‘Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his [sic] life be repeated; thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.”
    Viktor E. Frankl

    When I have existential questions, I read the work of others like Frankl and it all falls into place :)!

    Like

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