Friday, September 7, 2012

One in Seven Billion

This summer, as I was out in DC, I had an epiphany. Bare with me on the retelling of my thoughts...

I was walking up the stairs to the Lincoln memorial and there was a class of some sort (I assume a "close up" type experience) coming up the stairs along side me. I slowed down to let them pass and to watch them. Sure, call me a creeper, I like to consider myself a people watcher.

As they pass, a girl with a camera and a notebook, lags behind a little. I watch as she pulls away from the group and slowly looks at the monument while taking a few photos and writing a thing or two. Then she just stops and "ponders" for a bit before she heads back to the group.

As I watched her, there were many things going through my head. First, this girl wants to be different. She is probably known by her peers as the nerd, or the artist, or the deep thinker. Her teacher probably assumes that she will go on to be something amazing. Second, she has probably had so much positive and negative attention from her being "different" that she personally believes that she will grow up to be something amazing as well. Third, all of it is in vain. Her trying to be different, the accolades from her teachers, peers, and even her own hopes and dreams, they are all in vain.

How many famous photographers are out there right now? Well, I googled it. One page lists 50, another 99, and another only 12. Out of the almost 7 billion people on earth right now, there are TWELVE famous photographers. What are her chances of growing up and being one of those twelve. Yup, I did the math these are her chances: 1.7142857e-09. I don't even know what that means besides, that her chances SUCK!

Well, lets cross photographer of her life goal list and go to writer. She doodled a little, maybe she could write something amazing about the Lincoln Memorial that will change peoples lives, move people to recycle more, stop wars, and even convince addicts to stop using. Or, she could stop kidding herself because in all of time, there have only been 14,510 books written by popular female authors. ALL OF TIME. And does she really think she can compete with Anne Frank, Jane Austene, Margaret Mitchell, Stephanie Meyer, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Anne Bronte, Ayn Rand, or Harper Lee? No, I think she better throw in the towel.

For that matter, how many people in the world have said "when I'm rich and famous"? Let's think about it, how many famous people are there really? In comparison to the population of the future, current, and past earth, there weren't that many famous people.

I came to the conclusion, on the steps of a monument, commemorating the life of a man with a 19 foot tall statue, that neither me or that girl will ever become someone people will make a 19 foot statue for. We will never be famous. We will never be unique. How can there be unique when there are almost 7 billion people on the earth right now?

As this thought permeated my mind for months, I think it depressed me. What is this all for? Why am I selling pest control? Well to pay for school, but why am I going to school? Well to get a good job, but why do I care if I have a good job? Well, to have money, but why do I need money? To do amazing things. Why do I need to do amazing things? Won't it all be the same if I try really hard to become someone important and fail (because I only have a 1.7142857e-09 chance of being important) or if I just sit in a movie theater for the rest of my life watching movies and eating popcorn (it would have to be at a harkins theater because they have DDP).

(This is an amazing post on depression) 
With this depressing thought bouncing around in my head for months, I had another experience that paralleled this one, which is a lot less depressing. Actually, it brought hope back to me. That however, will have to be told in the next post.

To be continued...

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