When the bubble is convinced it's real
An average person measures three and a half times the length of his or her own forearm in height. Every person is also slit in the middle up to the crotch, running two cubits or twice the length of that forearm. Such flimsy creations are human beings, some of whom strut and fret like "gods". More bad news for those who are legends in their own minds. Scientists have discovered seven Earth-like planets, arriving at the conclusion that our home galaxy may be populated with tens of billions of worlds like ours. It increasingly shows that an individual in this infinite universe matters no more than a grain of sand in a vast desert.
It may be the time to have a good laugh at the expense of the self-important ones. Those who have oversized egos or supersized ambitions, those who take pride in their good looks, pedigree, education, money, or physical strength need to sober up. A few swelling drops of water cannot undermine the depth of an ocean.
Psychologists claim that self-absorbed people are "successful" for two reasons: Their continual focus on personal goals, and lack of concern for others. Success, defined as getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame, is perhaps as old as the history of mankind. Its manifestation has changed over the centuries, the basic concept remaining the same.
God works in mysterious ways, and it may be an intentional design to create highs and lows amongst His creations to spice up the ontological game. Maybe, the gaps amongst humans are justified for the same reason engineers leave a small gap between two rails when laying out railway tracks. Equality amongst people could have pushed them more dangerously against each other.
Some bubbles are more bubblicious than others, and it takes all kinds to make a world. The diversity amongst human beings is akin to that curry-in-a-hurry trick of Indian restaurants, which use the same base gravy to cook different dishes. Likewise, humans are only outwardly black or white, but all of them have the same red blood running through their veins. The essential entities are equally delicate, vulnerable and mortal. The garnishing makes the differences that make them so strikingly different.
In the ultimate sense, though, everybody is equally and infinitesimally insignificant. All the pride and glory that we bestow upon ourselves have no more lasting value than sparks flying out of a bonfire. Every human life is a finite impulse of infinite time.
Human pride has a fall for the same reason air balloons pop in high altitude. When the balloon goes up it faces less air pressure, and the internal pressure becomes much higher than the external. It causes the balloon to expand and burst.
Those who strive for greater heights in life forget that all their accomplishments are barely a blip in the big picture. Talented minds, valiant hearts, exquisite beauties, filthy riches and the strongest built bodies account for nothing but the roofs that signify the floors. And, every roof converts into a floor as the building goes up.
But the top of that hierarchy is no more important than the bottom. In fact, it's the other way around. The bottom can exist without the top, but the top has no hope without the bottom. Those who brag about their strokes of good luck don't appreciate that they are lucky because others are wretched.
This universe has at least 200 billion galaxies filled with around 10(^24) planets. A single man or woman is one among more than 7 billion people in one planet in one galaxy. It's claimed that the world's eight richest billionaires control the same wealth between them as the poorest half of the globe's population. The 1 percent owns 35.6 percent of all private wealth – more than the bottom 95 percent combined.
Thus our world runs on puppet strings made of incessant contradictions. It iconises a few and minimises the rest in the bizarre pursuit of an elusive equation that diligently promotes inequality. Whether many converge upon one or one diverges into many, the life of an individual, as Shakespeare describes in Macbeth, is full of sound and fury signifying nothing.
The significant ones signify nothingness more than others. Perhaps significance is an inverse measure of futility; the mercury rises as the countdown heats up. The ascending order of life is only emblematic of its descending order. Those who go ahead of others sadly remind us of how many have been left behind.
The tip of a pencil is sharpened so that it can be used for writing. But it works backward for the human race. Proud as peacocks, highly accomplished individuals are pitiful parodies of themselves. Their self-conceit is a form of deceit that erases common sense. The bubble is convinced it's real.
The writer is the Editor of weekly First News and an opinion writer for The Daily Star.