Unique, just like everyone else

(This is a draft I wrote over a year ago and forgot to post.)

The other day I went for a ferry ride over to the Sunshine Coast.  As is my habit, I rode at the bow, on the outside deck, enjoying the brisk sea air and watching the scenery scrolling smoothly by.

I was watching the thousands of small waves – really no more than large ripples – raised on the water by the wind.  They’re all very similar in height, general shape, speed and duration, but I’d hazard a guess they’re also each unique, when you get right down to the specific measurements.

I was thinking about how just in the stretch of water I could see, many thousands of these little waves formed and vanished while I watched, and these waters have been doing this for billions of years.

How sad that all of that uniqueness has come and gone without a witness to appreciate it like this.  I found myself wishing I could pause the universe and levitate out over the water to study some of the waves close up.

There’s an obvious analogy here with people, or beings in general.  Too many lives pass without really being differentiated from the lives around them.  They’re unique, strictly speaking, but only noticed by their immediate neighbors and ultimately remembered by nobody.  How many trillions of minds have come and gone already with only themselves, at most, aware of their uniqueness?  How can people be content to simply exist for a finite length of time, without at least doing something that is meaningful to them?

But the wave-people analogy ends here, as there is no analogue of me on the boat watching the waves.  We must observe ourselves and lend meaning to our own existence.

The second thought that came to me while watching the waves is how very much I want to simply witness all of the beauty and uniqueness in the universe.  Every little wave, every sand dune, every life on every world, even if unremarkable relative to its peers, at least deserves to be observed and remembered.

It was kind of a zen moment and I haven’t really put it into words well, but I did promise myself to write about it.

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