Monday, 31 March 2008

Monday Bit of Wisdom No. 2

In honour of Richard Dawkins' imminent visit to Inverness, I decided that today's Bit of Wisdom should come from his book Unweaving the Rainbow - in fact, it is the opening paragraph of the first chapter, and just the first of many arresting ideas in the book.
"We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here."

It's quite a thought and, on a gloomy Monday, when you're feeling a bit sorry for yourself, it might even make your small life seem a bit more special - it certainly does for me.

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