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The Way Things Are

Different people are bound to have different opinions about such things as how we got here and what is going to happen when we leave. You may believe the earth was created in 6 days, about 6000 years ago. Or you might believe the earth is over 4 billion years old. You may believe we live in a universe that is eternal and unending. Or you might believe the universe spontaneously exploded into existence about 15 billion years ago, creating not only the matter we see, but even time itself—and all of this came out of an unfathomable amount of energy compressed and concentrated down into a single point, a dimensionless singularity.

Regardless of how it all came together and what, if anything, made it happen, here we are. There are around 7 billion of us spread out across this spinning globe, which itself is hurling through the expanse of space at an incredible rate of speed. We seem fortunate to be relatively close to a big mass of burning helium and hydrogen. Any closer and we would dry out or burn up. Any farther away and we would freeze.

Either the earth is fortunately situated, it was purposefully situated, or perhaps our life forms have just evolved specifically for the set of circumstances we experience and so are now somewhat intolerant of change.

Regardless, we find ourselves here, and we are alive. That means we get hungry. And as time goes by, we get more and more hungry until we eat something else that is also alive.

Some of the time we are tired. Then we have to sleep. Sometimes we are too hot or too cold or something else makes us uncomfortable—like we might be lonely or afraid.

When we are uncomfortable, we want to do something to make ourselves feel better. This might involve finding something to eat or finding someone else to be with. It might involve finding things or making things to keep us warm or to make it easier to eat or sleep.

When enough time goes by, we die. Or at least, we don’t seem to be alive any more. We’re not really sure about all of this because the only ones of us still around are the alive ones. But we have seen others die. And we know there are lots of things around us that are not alive.

We know what it is like to be able to think, to see, to know, to predict, and to become. But we don’t know for sure what it will be like or if there will be anything left of our consciousness after we die. We are pretty sure each of us will die eventually. After all, everyone we have seen die seemed to be just like us before they died. So it seems pretty obvious what is going to happen. It is just a question of when, where and how.

So what do we do while we’re waiting? We eat. We sleep. And we try to make ourselves more comfortable. That comfort comes in a variety of forms, including: physical, emotional, psychological, and intellectual.
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