“My life is a simple thing that would interest no one. It is a known fact that I was born, and that is all that is necessary.”
— Albert Einstein
There seems to me two equally valid points of view regarding the nature of life as we know it:
- Life is infinitely complex. There are no two people alike, as the gene pool provides unlimited variation. All sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors exist, not to mention points of view, philosophies, and religions. We know the sound of our loved one’s voice and can discern it out of a noisy room. We can identify their whole face by only the smallest number of features, e.g., “She has your eyes.”
- There is no inherent distinction in life. From a God’s-eye view, it’s all really the same. It’s been said that there are only 7 essential storytelling subjects. The human comedy keeps repeating ad nauseum. Humans are all bipedal, omnivorous, mammalian, vertebrate — only a scant 0.1% genetic variance between fellow humans. We are conscious, self-aware, sentient. We subsist, procreate, steal, give, covet, love, live, & die. We are all the same.
The first theory gives me hope. The second gives me pause; it makes me question why the first is hopeful. What’s really curious is that great art has always thrived in both world views. The one inspires the likes of Norman Rockwell, Frank Capra, or Walt Whitman; while the other produces the likes of J.D. Salinger, Woody Allen, and Sylvia Plath.
I’m not convinced that one is inherently better than the other. While I want to believe the one solely, the other won’t leave me alone. I cannot deny each view’s validity and I find that they are not mutually exclusive.