The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Why I want to save the world

 Why I want to save the world
Why I want to save the world

Why I want to save the world

“If someone loves a flower of which just one example exists among all the millions and millions of star in the sky, that’s enough to make him happy just to look at the stars … But if a sheep eats the flower, then for him it’s as if, suddenly, all the stars went dark. And that isn’t important?”

– The Little Prince, Sir Antoine de Saint Exupery

Here’s a thought to ruin your day. Scientifically, your entire existence – everything you are, everything you’ve ever done and everything you will ever do, every hope, every memory, every towering achievement – is reducible to the byproduct of a serendipitous chemical accident that occurred long enough ago as to make the entire course of human tenure on this planet appear no more than a hiccup on the breath of creation. Your life and everything in it is ultimately insignificant.

Allow me to elaborate.

The Big Bang, right? A seemingly arbitrary collision of matter that sent particles hurling into the depths of infinity, combining and mutating into dust, rocks, gas, and eventually assembling to form such intricate terrestrial delights as Bart Simpson peanut butter breakfast cereal and vacuuming robots. This process took a preposterously long, long time. From what we can now tell, the explosion has resulted in a universe that is billions of light years across and contains untold trillions of planets, moons, stars and asteroids, all racing away from each other at unfathomable speeds.

One simply cannot comprehend the sheer magnitude of the amount of space and stuff in which we spin. Our whole world, Earth, is like a single water molecule floating somewhere in an ocean too vast to even imagine.

Logically, then, it would follow that no matter what happens to our planet, regardless of what we do to it or how we treat it or what ends befall anything on it, we can be fairly safely assured that the life of the universe will continue uninterrupted. Whatever the fate of the universe may be – endless expansion and contraction or a slow cold death, or any other of countless unimaginable eventualities – there’s probably absolutely nothing we could do to make one iota of difference. We could pull off a spectacular nuclear holocaust, ending all life as we know it and fundamentally altering the chemical composition of the entire planet, and it wouldn’t cause the slightest inconvenience to existence at large.

So why bother trying to fix ourselves? Why don’t we all drive super gas guzzling diesel fun mobiles and buy rare Brazilian rainforest wood furniture and live it up while we can? I’m not just being an obnoxious fatalist – I mean it. In the long run, none of it really matters. Let’s pick a fight with Russia and see exactly what a nuclear warhead dropped smack in the middle of the Red Square can do … just for kicks. Or how about filling the oceans with as much toxic industrial waste as we can find and seeing what kind of silly creatures mutate and crawl onto dry land to see what we’re up to?

Why on Earth would wacko visionaries like me bother writing irate letters to the president asking him to please stop blowing sh*t up and drilling for oil in nature reserves just because it’s messing up the world? What a waste of time. We, in the grand scheme, don’t have long, any way you look at it, so I might as well squander as many natural resources as possible while I still can. Might as well wreak havoc and enjoy it. After all, it seems to be what we do best.

The suggestion that we mere humans will have absolutely no impact whatsoever on the progress and destiny of, well, everything, is humbling to most, discomfiting to many. It’s a fact that I think is worth at least some modest cogitation, even by harried undergraduates who have important parties to attend (and later fail to remember) and more immediate subjects (business law … mmmm) to figure out. The stifled poet deep down inside cries out about the puppy dogs and ice cream cones and flowers in the park. These things are worth saving, if only for the simple detail that they make our tiny, otherwise unexciting corner of the universe a little bit prettier.

The dilemma begs the question of whether it really was an accident at all. The mysteries of our planet seem to work in magical ways. Could our hearts beat and our brains pulse with energy without the aid of some purposeful order?

I don’t know. But I do know that Bart Simpson cereal is really f***ing good, and I’ll be damned if I deprive some future generation of partaking in its joy because I was too lazy to avert international nuclear or ecological crisis. I will rise to the Bart cereal challenge.

Who’s comin’ with me?

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