The earth we live on is 4.5 billion years old. Even if you live to be very old, your time on earth will be just a fraction of all that the earth has existed through. A fraction of a fraction of a fraction, in fact. That’s worth keeping in mind the next time you get upset, the next time you get impatient, the next time you find yourself falling prey to one of the scam artists who talk about the singularity and life extension. A lot of our biggest worries and anxieties can become manageable and small when we remember how insignificant they are.
The Stoics had an exercise for doing this. Marcus Aurelius would look up at the stars and imagine himself running alongside them, he’d see them for their timelessness and infiniteness. Try that tonight or early this morning. A glance at the beautiful expanse of the sky is an antidote to the nagging pettiness of earthly concerns, of our dreams of immortality or fame. And it is good and sobering to lose yourself in that as often as you can.
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