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The Eternity Fallacy -- Why Doom Isn't That Bad

Even with a complete legacy at hand... A minimum of 2000 articles that I aspire to write... I am fully aware that it will all burn to the ground, just as the ground will and just as you and I will. In other words, nothing lasts forever, including humanity itself, the Earth, and eventually the Sun and the various planets and moons that surround it in the Solar System.

Planets have a lifespan of their own. They do not last forever. As long as we won't be able to live in the Solar System in hopes of colonizing a new system, our fates and the fates of our projects are forever sealed with those of the planets on which we reside. Therefore, when they die, we will die too, unless we, as a species, even get to survive that long.

Preservation of traditions and legacies is somewhat "funny" because there is no true hope of eternity in anything that we will ever do. Even satellites that we may send to outer space with containers of their own are suspectable to destruction by whatever danger lies in their path -- asteroids, gravity, storms, explosions, and so on.

Space is a dangerous place -- and we too are not isolated from its dangers, because we too are, technically, in outer space. It's like claiming that North Korea isn't a part of the world, even though it is a piece of land on Earth, just because it is a hermit state. Even after a million years of safety, nothing ensures that no comet will crash on Earth and wipe out much of its life.

To put it simply, not even the multi-generational preservation of legacies like my own can ensure its own eternity. It's because we might never be able to escape the doom of our planet, our sun, and/or other cosmic bodies that might hurt us in some way or another. Unless we get to colonize other planets, and eventually leave the Solar System, we will be doomed by the time this planet or the Sun will die.

This is where nihilism comes in: the notion that nothing actually matters because it all ends eventually. I'm not referring only to death but to extinction, destruction, and annihilation. The nihilistic premise is that everything and everyone don't matter because they all end someday, and there is absolutely nothing we can do to change that fact. It is, in fact, a common arguement among nihilists. One that allegedly justifies the behavior of characters such as The Joker and Kefka from "Final Fantasy 6"

Likewise, this site won't last forever, as will the host that provides it, the country that contains it, the region it resides in, and so on and so forth. The nihilistic conclusion, which comes from said premise, is to either give up or devolve into a total jerk who has absolutely no values or respect for anything or anyone.

The topic of religion attempts to defend itself by suggesting three possibilities: eternal salvation, eternal damnation, or (eternal?) reincarnation. If the religion you're supporting is indeed the correct and true one, you will gain the first; if you do not, you will be cursed with the second. Finally, if karma is true on the universal and spiritual scale, then you will reincarnate regardless of your actions, for it is believed that the soul is eternal and transcends physical existence.

But, regardless if the eternity of the soul exists or if there are in fact souls, we shouldn't bother ourselves with lamenting the lack of eternity in this universe and in our lives and civilization. That is simply because things don't have to be eternal in order for them to be worth something to us.

I had a wonderful childhood, for example, but I am aware that it will never return. I do not delude myself into thinking that I will once again return from school to my mom's apartment, eat a schnitzel in pita, and play Suikoden IV on my PS2 on my cube-shaped TV. In fact, I can't even play that game anymore because of how old it is and because my PS2 got broken with all the years of usage.

One of my fantasies, in fact, is to get to play that game at least one more time, simply because of how sentimental it was and is for me. Therefore, regardless of my nostalgia, I have prepared myself for the fact that this period in my life will not return; a period that is nowadays considered "retro", and, in time, will become "ancient", just like games from the 80s and 90s.

I also had another game, an online one, where I actually made an organization of a few dozen real people and called it "Storm Alpha Squad". It was my first ever venture on the internet. That game eventually got shut down eleven years ago, and is now run on illegal servers, which I do not intend to use. I might not play that game anymore, but that fact does not eradicate the fun I had and the memories that followed.

To conclude, things do not need to be eternal for them to be worth something. Even if my own legacy will not survive the end of our species, it does not mean that it wasn't worth it, to create it and pass it on. The contribution to the world that would be made by it does not have to last forever in order for it to be considered useful. Even if "nothing matters", it at least matters now, as the past matters to us, or at least has mattered to us once.

My life's overreaching antagonist, Ms. Chen, said something important once: "Our time together at school is gone, dead", in the same conversation where she called me "irrelevant". Funny, considering the fact that even the dead can matter. To someone, to anyone, at any point in time, eventually.

She might pay with her disillusionment, even if that disillusionment will last for a few moments; these few moments will mark my victory over her, my revenge; my retribution. All of this will eventually matter, even for a hasty realization that "ah, he's more important than I thought; good for him".

This is a revenge I wish you, the reader, will learn from me as well -- to not submit to the death of the past; to the temptation that it might nowadays be a useless feature to ever consider significantly again.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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