(YOUR NAME HERE)’S STORY
1. You were born into this life with no control over where you were born, to whom you were born, or in what social and economic conditions you were born. You couldn’t decide to stay in the womb rather than being thrust out into the world naked and screaming, and once you were born, you pretty much were handed a dealt deck in terms of your genetic make-up and your environment. If you were very lucky, you weren’t born in a war zone or to abusive parents or with a life-threatening disability or mentally incapacitated.
2. For approximately 18-25 years of your life, you grew physically and developed, to a greater or lesser degree, the intellectual, psychological, and social skills needed to navigate your way through life and find your place within human society.
3. For much of the rest of your life, you put the skills you learned to use working in some kind of job—in all likelihood, one that you didn’t enjoy very much or that didn’t pay you the kind of salary that you thought you deserved. The money that you earned from working, however, enabled you eventually to leave your parent’s home and pay for those items necessary for survival (food, clothing, housing) and those that contribute to human felicity (cars, Iphones, designer handbags, etc,).
4. Like all animals, you have a built-in desire to procreate and to spread your gene pool as widely as possible to ensure the survival of the species. If conditions were right, you may have found a suitable partner with whom to produce offspring. You then spent the most productive years of your mid-life providing for those offspring, attempting to ensure their survival into adulthood, and training them—with greater or lesser success—to become autonomous individuals in their own right.
5. If you were lucky, you didn’t die accidentally, perish from a disease, or be killed, and made it into old age. At that point your body began to break down, you got sick, you suffered physically (and perhaps emotionally as well) and eventually died. Within moments after your death, your body began to decompose, and within a few years, almost nothing was left of you at all.
6. Within one or two generations of your death, you were forgotten by every other human being on the planet (unless you were one of the ridiculously small percentage of human beings who were skillful or lucky enough to make an impact on human history, in which case, you might be remembered a bit longer). Your grandchildren will probably only have fleeting memories of you and their children will only know who you were through dusty, old photographs that have been left behind (if they haven’t already been tossed away by a careless descendant, that is).
7. With a relatively short amount of time—planetarily speaking—humanity itself will be destroyed through some kind of global cataclysm or pandemic and nothing will remain of our species. At some point in time a new species may evolve from the bugs that have managed to survive, but this species will probably have little or nothing in common with our own. Eventually, the planet, and even the universe itself, will simply cease to exist, and all that will remain will be the infinite void.
If there’s anything important that I’m leaving out of this narrative, or if you think that what I’ve written about the human condition is not universally applicable, please feel free to set me straight.
How does it make you feel as you read this story—which is actually YOUR story?