I was sitting by myself a few days ago, and started to wonder about the value of a single person. Not in relation to society, or anything else that tangible, but in relation to the totality of existence.
At first, I thought that the lack of a single person’s existence would irreperably alter the universe. Everything we do impacts others in thousands upon millions of imperceptible ways every day we’re alive, so wouldn’t one missing person somehow change the fabric of existence? Even stranger than that, wouldn’t that mean that everyone, no matter how insignificant they may seem at first glance, is special because they hold together what we consider to be reality?
Then I thought a bit further, and realized that a lot of the things we do cancel each other out, and thought that it didn’t seem possible that everyone could possibly hold the ability to alter reality and existence. It smacks of Chaos Theory (no matter how contested it is) to think that all of our contrary, opposing actions keep everything in balance and in check, so that the loss of a single person wouldn’t really make much difference in the grand scheme of the cosmos.
In reality, I think the answer is somewhere between the two. We can’t really aggrandize our lives and think that the universe would fall apart if we weren’t here, but I think that reality would change, and that pulling a single thread from a tapestry would eventually cause it to unravel or rearrange into something distinctly different. Maybe it’s not a reason for thinking that you have value or worth in the infinity of the universe, but it’s not as though you have to think that you have no effect on the universe either. As in everything else in life, this is best represented in shades of grey.