Does anything really matter?

I’ve often pondered this, wondering about what meaning we have. We are things- things that were thrust into existence without our consent. When I think about what should exist I often come to the conclusion that nothing should exist. Not just empty space which itself is governed by natural laws but truly nothing at all. This can be a hard concept to grasp, especially in a universe where it appears to be the exact opposite of this. There is of course, the existence of virtual particles which shows us that the universe can spontaneously thrust particles into existence so long as an equal but opposite anti-particle is also produced and manages to collide with the twin parter, thus annihilating. To put this principle in mathematical terms, we can say 1 (particle) + (-1) (anti-particle) = 0 (nothing). So perhaps the universe itself is simply a virtual particle waiting to annihilate with it’s anti-universe in an even bigger universe. Perhaps if you zoom out forever you’ll keep finding yourself zooming out of the same- or a similar virtual particle (or similar thing), and this- along with every possible thing which nature allows is all there is. Pondering such things which cannot be proven can be exhausting as one is never really satisfied with the conclusions. What makes it even worse is the question it always comes back to- does anything really matter? Where do I play a role in all of this? To answer this question you have to come to the realization that to matter is in fact an abstract concept (not to say it has no value, money itself is an abstract concept). My friends matter to me,  my family, those around me, etc. But for someone in China, what matters to him is fundamentally quite different. A rock sitting on the surface of Venus or some far off, unknown world does not matter. Entire individual galaxies, while grandiose structures which are to be respected do not matter to me. Even on the smallest of scales we see the opposite, when a new element is produced the whole world celebrates at the birth of a single atom which existed for a fraction of a second before decaying. We have people saying that everything has a purpose even if we don’t understand it, and perhaps this is true. But fundamentally to matter is a relative concept, dependent on the subject. To matter arguably requires a conscious being to care about something, or to later be grateful for it (ex. the first life on Earth). So to say that nothing really matters and to say that everything matters are both true statements. Nothing really matters to inanimate empty space and everything matters to say God or someone who truly believes that everything has a purpose. Sometimes it’s just best to accept the flame as hot and go from there. To say that the flame is hot, that is concrete, that is a material thing which is tangible. Instead of getting worked up on the meaning of life, existence, etc. you can simply accept the fundamental concrete (even if you do not yet understand it) and move on from there, to focus on say human affairs. To decide to spend your mental energy on human problems and human issues, things which matter to people. Thus everything matters, some things matter depending on the subject and nothing matters, all of these are true statements. Thus to matter, being a relative concept, is also relative to you the reader. So perhaps the question is not merely an existential one, but a personal one.

2 comments on “Does anything really matter?

  1. pauladkin says:

    Nice post. But, if I may add my own grain of salt to this question .. What matters is the search for purposiveness. This statement embraces both ideas that nothing matters and everything matters and gives even pessimism and nihilism a forward driving impetus.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks! Yes I may add a sentence at the end stating that as ‘to matter’ is a relative concept, it is also relative to you the reader. So perhaps the question is not merely an existential one, but a personal one. Yes I do often find myself with a permeating existential nihilism, I suppose it comes (for me at least) with pondering such big questions.

    Like

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