The value of humanity: does a single life matter?

Guest post by Sami Reed Cleaver – Click to connect

Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another. Carl Sagan

We worry about the number of reacts on Facebook. The number of followers on Instagram. Buying a house, getting a car, finding love, passing exams – we worry about something ALL THE TIME.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “does any of this really matter in the long run?”

If we considered every grain of sand on all the beaches and deserts on Earth to be the universe, then our sun wouldn’t even qualify to be a single grain of sand; in short, we can’t even comprehend the size of our tiny little planet. The mere existence of the Earth is just an inconsequential blip in the universal timeline. Our lives just last for the smallest fraction of a second in comparison.

If our lives are so exceptionally tiny, then who cares about these everyday trivial problems? Why should we do anything really if we are indeed so very insignificant? When considering the significance of an emotion, an action, even the entire Milky Way from the view of the Universe, on first thought can be that everything feels… well, pointless.

There is an essential component still missing from the above pessimistic train of thought – value. The significance of literally anything depends upon the amount of value we put upon it. A diamond ring sitting in the display of a jewelry shop may be tiny in size, but does that in any way decrease the value of the diamond to us?

Sure, a billion years from now the Earth may be destroyed, we’ll all be dead and an alien species will be living on what’s left of the planet. There may be no one left to remember humans. However, this in no way decreases the value of the present. For example, the brilliance of Isaac Newton is still revered to by humans today. Of course, there may come a time when people no longer remember his name, but this doesn’t change the fact that Newton’s life affected the lives of billions of others.

A life is significant, no matter from which angle you look at it. So, here’s another dilemma for you: if sacrificing a single life could save the lives of a million others, does this justify the sacrifice? Would you lay down your own happiness for the happiness of the nation or the world?

The easy answer here would be of course we would.
One life is a small loss compared to millions.

As simple as it may seem, when put on the spot rarely do people think like this. For example, a mother would not be willing to sacrifice her child if the baby’s death could save all of humanity. If you were faced with a choice between saving your mother and saving three strangers, you would automatically choose your beloved mother, right?

The bottom line is that the value we put on one life will always change from person to person. There is no fixed value. For some, a death for the sake of humanity may seem trivial; others would gladly let humanity die if it meant that their one special person could live.

“I love mankind, he said, “but I find to my amazement that the more I love mankind as a whole, the less I love man in particular.” The Brothers Karamazov 

Next post – #takeawaykeys “The Story Grid”, Shawn Coyne


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54 Responses

  1. librepaley says:

    Great quote at the end, I never can square all of that perspective with the love for my children. Still, an important and humbling experience is to stand looking at the clear night sky and considering how infinitesimally tiny you are.

  2. the more I love mankind as a whole, the less I love man in particular

    There’s your answer.

  3. masercot says:

    My dad died last year after several years of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before that, it was emphazema… before that PTSD and before that, he was in the wars. Before that he was a homeless teenager.

    I’ve spent the last several months trying to figure out what it all means and if it is all worth it…

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      My grand was also a homeless child before war & then – in the war…I don’t know, but I believe his life matter. Maybe every single life is matter, otherwise we wouldn’t be here …

  4. Lovely read.Life is to live simply.Thank you

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Yeah, it was a guest post tho 🙂 but I decided about the theme…

  5. A number of things to think about, Victoria Ray. I think what matters is what the individual believes matters.

  6. George F. says:

    Funny, a character is my latest post has the opposite opinion. Drop in.

  7. George F. says:

    Well, not exactly the opposite opinion…he thinks only certain people matter. Yeah, in the scheme of things everything is pointless. That diamond ring? It’s just another crystal. It has no value except the value we put onto it with our consciousness. Does it do anything? Perform a function? No. But we connect with it emotionally for some reason. That’s the value. You do know that diamonds are kept off the market to keep their monetary value high, correct? It’s like oil. Plenty of oil. But scarcity creates high prices which keep us humans on the treadmill. Anyway, always love your posts.

  8. Great post Victoria 🙂

    To answer your question “does any of this matter in the long run?” The short answer is of course NO! 🙂

  9. You are so right. To say we are a speck of dust in this universe is wrong. Not even our sun is a speck of dust.
    But I do hear Pluto gets a lot of like in Spacebook

  10. K E Garland says:

    I just had a similar conversation where someone asked me if I would save my kids or my (deceased) dog and my answer was all three are equally important to me. They thought I was crazy.

  11. Since we are literally creating our own Universes and attaching value to experiences, then surely something must have worth, even if only to our tiny existences 🙂 If we are part and parcel of the Source, then I’m sure we manifest physically for a purpose, but if the purpose is simply to return to the Source, does it matter what we do here? Hell I don’t know 🙂 I tried to write something today and ended up with something that looked like a cross between editorializing and a legal brief. It had some value – but maybe only for me to figure out to write something else or say it in a different way, which may never be read or understood 🙂

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      I don’t know either. I read similar statement in the “Backwards” book tho – it doesn’t matter (in general) what we are doing here, on Earth & in human bodies. The matter is only – to learn or “feel” (experience!) -> unconditional love. What do you think…seems like a good deal between us, Source & human body (host) :))

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      About writing. Sometimes we have to wait…and see if our theme or idea will find the right way out 🙂

  12. Eilene Lyon says:

    Compliments to your guest writer. The key to considering the importance of a life is not to look at the infinite universe, but what that life impacts in the present, nearby. We all have tremendous impact on things that are invisible to us, much the way we could consider ourselves invisible to the universe. What matters, then, are the interactions with our fellow humans and other beings and inanimate objects here and now. Even though Newton had a lasting impact, it was what he did during his lifetime that mattered most. It’s not about striving for immortality.

    • Victoria Ray NB says:

      Yes, she’s good 🙂 I just posted link to her soc media.
      Agreed with all you are saying but, again, it takes us to the point – that all we do we should do with “love” (that includes everything: compassion, understanding, affection, respect, protection etc) to the humans around us (=to the world).

  13. ortensia says:

    May be we should start paying more attention at little things……there is were meaning and pleasure hide, I think.

  14. Oh yes it matters…Otherwise I will be Thanos…

  15. As you say every person and every living thing is different. Thankfully there are enough souls who take a wider view that help hold the mix together.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Very GOOD post! In our present world, it is very difficult to see that everyone matters!

  17. The Best Speech about Humanity – Carl Sagan