Thursday, 23 September 2010

How lucky are we?

You can look at your life in many different ways, but here is one way I am sure many others have thought about and many more haven’t.

We are incredibly lucky; we have been blessed with an evolutionary advantage higher than any other living species we are aware of, but do we really feel lucky? I have to be honest I don’t feel lucky most of the time, I never win the lottery or if I do it’s only the smallest sum. I haven’t been lucky in love, or lucky in having an amazing gift or talent. Then again is this sort of luck a shallow version of it, should we not perceive luck differently. I am alive and I live in a nice part of the world, I have a roof over my head and I have good health, is that lucky? Is it if you compare me to someone living in the third world? You could go further and say well even people living in the third world, they are lucky compared to say the Dinosaurs or other extinct species, they have less luck than humans in the developed world, but at least they are humans. They have the gift of thought and self awareness, would we say that is lucky? You could say that having those gifts when living in extreme poverty is more of a curse than a gift so not lucky after all, since they have little or no chance to fully use their advantage for anything more than survival.

We know you don’t need self awareness and a conscience to survive, most animals don’t have these evolutionary advantages, but you could say they are lucky to be alive and not extinct, though I would suspect the Tiger in Bengal may not feel so lucky as its population decreases, or the Veal Calf as it travels to its imminent death. Then again it does not know it’s going to die, it is a dumb animal breed as food; is the calf lucky to have lived at all or unlucky? Is an antelope jumping merrily across the African savannah lucky, and is it unlucky when a pride of Lions catch it and eat it alive? Luck is relative.

We humans alive today can be perceived as being lucky, our ancestors have survived disease, and hardships we could only imagine. We have survived the constant changes in culture, religion, leadership, and the awful consequences all of those have had on certain parts of the population. We have survived war, famine, conquest, and climate change, hotter or colder. Our ancestors were strong enough to live long enough to pass on their code; they were not badly injured or lame, disabled or impaired. They survived prejudice, and likely they were conformists.

If we go further back, our distant ancestors were good hunters or gathers, they could stay warm and find food, they survived long ice ages, and were not eaten by carnivorous animals. Further back before we were even humans, we survived many extinction events, from asteroids, comets, super volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and of course colder ice ages. It is quite amazing if you look back on the history of the planet and think what are the chances of all those factors happening to let you live today. We could go further and say we are lucky that our planet was able to stabilise enough to support life. That we were fortunate to have a nice Mars sized object hit Earth, to give us our Moon. That our Sun was the right size, so it burned its fuel at a rate that meant it lasted billions of years instead of millions. That our Sun happened to find itself, lost, alone far away from the billions of other stars, so we have night and day and not just constant day. I could go on and on but I think I have made my point. We are lucky, I think we need to start to realise it. Maybe if we think positively about how lucky we are, this luck will continue and maybe if we are really lucky, it will give us a portion of luck we actually want and would appreciate. Otherwise we waste this luck, we waste what it has taken to receive this luck, and that would be a shame.

It is hard at times to appreciate how lucky we are, I know I find it difficult, and I find it even harder when I see what others have. I don’t mean the few who have more; I mean the billions who have less, the ones who should feel lucky to be humans, alive today in this world of plenty, but who aren’t. Can we ever make luck fairer or it that impossible, or do we need to recognise that luck does not exist, and it is just the circumstance of reality. You can either attempt to better yourself and your circumstance or you can just accept it.

Anyway to everyone out there I wish you all good luck.

No comments:

Post a Comment