CLICHÉ: Life is short. WHAT WE FORGET: Life is the longest thing we can know.
Is life long or short? To answer that, we should first decide if we’re talking about a single human lifespan. Let’s say, yes. If we take the current average human lifespan and round it up to 100, we then need to determine from whose point of view are we measuring?
100 years, looking at it from any single human point of view, is long. In fact, we could say that it’s the longest thing a human can possibly experience.
But if we look at it from an objective, universal point of view, 100 years is very short; it’s an instant, a beat, a single point in time.
I did some calculations: if a regular human life was one second long, then the human species’ existence (6 million years being a reasonable estimate) can be measured to be around 17 hours long. If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound like much, I invite you to close your eyes right now and count to 5 seconds to imagine the length of 5 human generations at this timescale. It’s also worth noting that most humans lifespans were less than half a second long until the last few minutes of the 17 hour period.
So again, if we assume humans evolved 6 million years ago and the average human lifespan today is 100 years, then we can convert those numbers into understandable terms by saying: the human species came into existence 17 hours ago and no single human spent more than 1 second alive.
But somehow they managed to gather and share enough knowledge through these minuscule moments to build the world we live in today.
Life is short. Yes that is a cliché. But it’s one that can be used to remind ourselves that we’re collaborating on a big ongoing project. You’re here to do your shift. You already clocked in. Now do work. At the end of your shift, clock out. Somebody else will take over.
Make the work good.