Jacob Nordby submits irrefutable evidence that you hold the secret code for something awesome in this world. Can you find a flaw in his logic?
I’m doing a bit of math (also known as Google-ing) for a chapter in the upcoming Blessed Are The Weird book. Here’s something mind blowing I just learned about YOU.
You are the product of two parents, right?
But, they each had two parents and so did they and so on back to the beginning of people making people.
So, if you take it back only 20 generations, you are the actual product of 1,048,576 people loving each other. * (see footnote)
That’s only about 500 years worth of your ancestry, too. Even the most hardened fundamentalist would agree that the human race has been around for many thousands of years (I mean, most of us are okay with the idea that the human race has been around for at least millions of years. I tried to do the math on even just 2 to the 1,000th power, but my calculator broke–and even Google said I didn’t need to count that high and to quit trying). So the fact is, you are at the extreme point of an enormous spear. You are the distillation and intersection of a staggering lot of DNA and human stories stretching backward into the times before when we even bothered to keep track of things.
Why am I telling you these things?
Well, I was just godboggled, flummoxed and brain-whirled this morning as I considered the absolute miracle each of us is. We are weavings of intricate, hilarious, awkward, heroic and brilliant situations which have formed our undeniably unique perspective in this world.
You have millions of bandits and priestesses and farmers and hookers and monarchs and candlestick makers who all got together over the last few millennia to make you.
So, that means you are something special. You matter. The world couldn’t be what it is today without your presence in it. Thanks for being here. Now, use this information to give you the creative mojo to go do epic shit!
But, I can also read your mind (yes, I can). I can hear a couple of voices in your head disagreeing with me on this point. Maybe your ancestry is littered with people who created new little humans in painful, distressing situations. I grant you that this has been the way of things since time began. We all have that in common.
What is different about you, right now, is that you are awake to a different way of being. You have the opportunity to change the course of history and lead a new kind of march. Seriously, you are like some grand general at the front of a parade with all these who have gone before asking you to really do it this time.
“Please, now that you have an inkling of who you are, really do it this time,” they say.
And that is really the Big Red “So What” Button, isn’t it? I mean, this glimpse of our potential isn’t much unless it asks us to do something with it. Without a “so what?”, then it is like standing on the top of a mountain at night and feeling awed by the endless reaches of black sky all glittered with stars. It is a beautiful, inspiring moment which fades when morning light brings with it a thousand mundane, necessary duties. But this so what is the great question of what will we do with the knowledge of how wonderfully we are woven. That question, once asked, will haunt us and prod us and hold up a mirror for us at every turn. What am I doing with this splendid, tiny life of mine?
See, this isn’t just a feel-good piece about how awesome we are after all. It is a challenge. Are we up for the challenge? Can we accept the sheer weight of this knowledge and the accompanying joyful responsibility to do something worthy of our own magnificence?
Please feel free to argue with me by posting a comment below. I relish a rowdy debate. If you want to just say “wow!” with me, that’s okay, too.
“Everyone has inside of himself a piece of good news:
The good news is that you really do not know how great you can be…
…how much you can love…
…what you can accomplish…
…and what your potential is.”
~ Anne Frank
* Footnote: Or, at least having sex, but that whole deal is just about as awesome as it gets. So don’t worry too much about whether or not all your ancestors were married and whatnot. Bottom line, you got here because tons of folks exchanged DNA one way or another.
Photo credit: Flickr/Karla-K