Probably the question that struggles us the most is where did we come from? What was the origin of life, how did it all start? Was there a creator? Did we just emerge out of nothing? Are we all just star dust? No one knows, and it is a hard concept to even grasp.
Thinking about there being a time before life is pretty confusing. We know there was a point that life started on Earth, which some say is around 3.5 – 4 billion years ago. Before that time, no life did or could exist, at least on Earth. But even before that there was a time when Earth didn’t exist, our sun didn’t exist, our galaxy didn’t exist, and so on, all the way until our universe didn’t exist, which essentially means nothing existed. Maybe there never was a time when nothing existed, but how did whatever it was that first existed come into existence? If thinking about that doesn’t make your head spin, you’re either too crazy, or not crazy enough. 😉
The other big unknown is about what happens when this life does not exist anymore. What happens when we die? Is it just the end? Can somehow, some part of us survive death? The unknown mystery of death is truly fascinating, and for most people, terrifying.
What does it really mean to die? Death, simply put, is the end of our reality as we know it. All of our cells stop working, which prevents our body from working which renders us unable to interact with the psychical world. I no longer can say hello or goodbye, hug you, or yell at you. I am now gone.
Whether or not you think it is good that someone is no longer able to bother you, the fact is, they are no longer directly influencing anything. Depending on where you were born and where you live, how long before you die varies, and global life expectancy is shown as a graph here (from Wikipedia, World Fact Book 2008.) In the United States, it averages around 79ish years. That means, on average, you will have 79 years of life before you die. But what happens after 79?
Death is something that has obviously troubled us as far back as we have been conscious. Death is a scary and strange thing. When someone dies it creates an awkward vibe and people don’t know what to do because we don’t fully understand it. We have decided the best way to treat death and receive closure to move on is by placing the dead bodies into boxes and putting them in the ground. Seems like a pretty strange process, but we need something.
Throughout the age of man, there have been many theories and beliefs about what happens after death but none have enough evidence to be classified as true. That is what’s most mysterious and intriguing about both subjects, they are unknown.
No one knows where life came from nor can they tell you what happens when it ends. Some argue that these questions are essentially impossible to comprehend and thus make them pointless to ponder. I can see how at our current state it seems that way, but scientific progress has come a long way and the rate should only continue to increase. So to ignore these big questions because they are such a mystery, seems silly.
I find the origin of life to be a bigger mystery and in some ways, less important than it’s partner, death. Life is a bigger mystery partly because everyone experiences death, it happens everyday. We can’t experience the origin of life, it happened far too long ago. Although we don’t know what happens after, the only true fact of life is that we die. Also, just thinking about how life came to be is pretty mind numbing. How could something not have been, not have been, still not have been, then all of a sudden, just be there? And if you don’t believe there ever was a point when they was nothing, where did the something come from that always was?
To me, death is more important than the origin of life because simply, I will experience it. Some day, hopefully not too soon, I will be dead. I know I have stressed this point enough but I have a personal connection to it, and I would like to know what is going to happen once my heart stops beating. It’s nice to think that after death I will still exist in some other form, but that alone doesn’t make it so.
Why Are These Questions Important?
How did life originate? What happens when I die? These discussions usually don’t come up too often at college parties or are popular conversations over coffee. Unfortunately, it’s much more common and accepted to talk about who won the game last night or who Tina is dating now.
These questions are important because it gives a meaning to something that ties into not just all humans, but all life as we know it. Not even just stuff that is alive, but planets, stars, and everything in the universe. We need to care about the mysteries in life, we should question and ponder absolutely everything with the serious attempt to be able to solve and explain them. Explaining them is just as, if not more important than the actual puzzle because what good would the answer to life be if only you knew it?
Knowing how all of life and existence started would change the way we live drastically. It would unlock a wealth of information far beyond anything we can imagine by handing us a blueprint of life. This blueprint would then lead to many other amazing discoveries. “Oh the Cavs won? Well, that’s interesting but did you know life formed from … ?”
By knowing what happens, if anything, once our life is over can give us direction during our life and remove (or possibly amplify) the fear of death. If everyone knew “this is all ya got!” people probably would waste less time. Then again, it is pretty depressing thinking about there being no more, nothing else, the end of the road after death, but I would argue that it doesn’t give life any less meaning. (I will talk more about this in depth at another time.)
Understanding life and its processes has impacted everyone’s life for the better and continues to do so everyday. The reason current life expectancy in the United States is 79 years is through advancements of how we understand our lives, curing illnesses and the prevention of what’s bad. What if we had in our hands where we and everything else came from dating all the way back to the first dot? We would surely be able to better understand what is good and bad for us.
So where do I think life came from? What do I think happens when you die? I have absolutely no idea! As time goes on, I may subscribe to a belief system through experience and raising my awareness, but for now, I can’t even imagine a possibility that would satisfy the conditions. The origin and end of life are huge mysteries, and probably the two most difficult topics to solve.
Even still, there is a thrill of the unknown that generates interesting thoughts and conversation. Not knowing the answer is half of the fun! 🙂