Monday, January 11, 2010
Everything Matters!, by Ron Currie, Jr.
The central theme of Everything Matters! is not a new one. It's a concept that has concerned philosophers, theologians, normal people for... well, ever. It's the reason the idea of an afterlife is so appealing, and why a day of judgment in some form is part of so many religions.
The idea: Does what we do on this earth actually matter?
But Currie takes this idea a step further: Would what we do matter at all if we knew the world were going to end, not just someday, but at a given point in our lifetimes?
I may have some grand ideas from time to time on this blog, but even I know better than to tackle that topic head-on. Of course I think what we do matters -- and even if there is some afterlife or a being that will judge us for our actions in this life, that's not why it matters. It's why I'm largely a Vonnegutian humanist -- we have no way of knowing what lies beyond this life, and without religion in the picture it's quite reasonably nothing. But we do have this time, and with that we ought to do what we can to make it the best it can be for as many people as possible.
Without asking Mr. Currie directly, clearly I can't know his personal stance on the matter. But from my reading of this book, and hell, from the title of the book, I have to think he probably agrees with me to a point. What matters in this life isn't -- and shouldn't -- be based on some larger purpose, some hope of eternal reward, even the idea that what we do will affect the rest of the universe. It may be that in the grand scheme, what we do is utterly meaningless. But despite our reaching for the stars, whether or not we are part of some grand scheme, we are without doubt part of some small scheme. And what we do within the sphere of our existence certainly matters.
Also, I am convinced that Currie must be a Kansas City Royals fan. Or, he was just very good at giving the Royals their due for the one decade they deserved it. Either way: Woo!