Transcendental Journal Assignment: Post 4

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Just in time for the last post in the series, the weather outside was gorgeous. I decided to lie down on the roof of the “fort” again and look up at the sky. Going out in the late afternoon had the distinct advantage that the sun no longer shone directly down into my eyes as it had before. The trees above were beginning to bloom, as indicated by the small congregation of chirping birds on its branches. Most importantly, the weather was about the closest to perfect it had been in a while: it was warm and sunny, but with a cool breeze to complement the warmth. The weather seemed balanced just right, and it was hard to think about anything but how beautiful it was.

But the balance of the weather sparked another thought as well. I thought how fickle weather was, and how quickly the light breeze could take a drastically different form. In a few months (or, considering the weather lately, in a day or two), this comfortable breeze could develop into bitingly cold winds or some kind of hurricane. I was struck by the fragility of the pleasantness and beauty of my current position, and how just as easily the weather could have ruined my day (or at least my twenty minutes of nature). The plane that flew far above my head also reminded me how tiny and insignificant I was in comparison to the world around me. In other words, if the universe saw fit to end my comfort (or even my physical existence), it would hardly encounter difficulty in doing so.

One might consider this thought to be pretty dark and depressing. Indeed, on the surface, it does tend to give that impression. An even slightly different universe could have meant a catastrophic end (or, more likely, lack of beginning) of the human race. However, in a strange way, this thought is also comforting: we don’t live in a slightly different universe. We live in a universe extremely well-suited to our survival and well-being. It’s as though we had played Russian roulette with five bullets and survived. Sure, there’s inevitably the initial stress and shock at having so narrowly escaped death, but these in time ought to be replaced by an overwhelming feeling of relief and joy. It’s as though our minuscule size and apparent insignificance in comparison to the universe is meant to say, “Congratulations! You’re alive. Now be happy about it.”

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