September 16, 2019 | 74° F

GUC: Weather serves as reminder for one to self-reflect

Opinions Column: Macro to Micro

Rays of sunshine enter my living room early in the morning. It looks like it is going to be another sunny, warm day outside. Yet, the snow left over from last week remains. The weather seems to offer some perfect picnic days only to force us under our heavy coats the next day. Many attribute this to climate change as the averages of global temperatures are rising. It is a bittersweet type of sunshine, then, that we are allowed to enjoy these days. However, though the scientific reasoning behind the flip-flopping of weather is undoubtedly a call to take heed, I am primarily interested in the sense of instability and continuous change such weather makes us experience.

The weather is merely one direct example of such instability. Nothing remains or stays the same wherever I look. Everything is subject to change. From the minute air particles in the air to the movement of the planets above, there is constant motion. Using my human qualities, I cannot help but ask and wonder: What is sustaining each and every single existent thing? When I look at a leaf that has grayed out and crumbles upon my touch, it seems as if the leaf declares to me that it is not the source of its own existence. It could hardly keep itself alive. Death arrives quicker than one would like.

A year from today let alone a day is hardly guaranteed. The workings and biology of my body all function in perfect harmony without a word of an order from myself. I do not need to think to breathe nor reflect to ensure blood flow. I cannot dictate the continuity of my own existence – the common cold usually reminds me of this truth whenever I am wading in forgetfulness. If I cannot sustain myself, then there is a certain degree of trust I hold that the order which I examine and observe in this world will simply carry on and at least bring me to an old age of 70 or 80.

Yet, this false sense of control and perception of life as never-ending makes me ignorant most days. I find myself stressing about the next exam, potential summer internships, graduation day. Surely these are aspects of our lives we must invest hard work in and continue to put effort for. Usually, one’s objective in a lifespan is “to be happy.” Such happiness tends to manifest itself in the form of a well-paying job, a loving family and a solid social circle. However, is this train of thought sensible? If life is thought of in the form of a fraction, a new outlook can be surmised. The question would arise: Am I investing my energy into the denominator or numerator of my life? If I keep adding numbers to the numerator, however high it may be, if death is one big zero in the denominator, this would cancel out any progress, and turn the entirety of the number into a zero. The aim must be to figure out what may transform the zero into a one so as to make the number in the numerator worth something – essentially, grant it value. Otherwise, despite all the achievements, one may attain in life, despite all of the milestones reached, a grave awaits all of us 6 feet under the ground. And many may mourn, weep even, but the world will assumedly continue in its orderly orbit and it is only a matter of time 'til one's name becomes a mere memory in some other's mind.

This truth seems to go against every human being's desire for permanence — to at least be immortalized in some way. Even though the very nature of our being dictates an aversion to transience, struggle as we may, all that we hold beloved and dear comes and goes. It is then, not the number of investments we choose to make but rather for what's sake we invest in the first place. There has to be underlying reason for the education we receive, the career path we so eagerly jump over hurdles for, and all that we endeavor for in this world. If not, basic mathematics illustrates that the worth of anything striven for is nullified. The weather may seem like a perfect topic for small talk but even its current pattern signifies a certain truth of existential uncertainty that demands introspection. There are signposts all around that call for us to pay attention and take a moment or two to reflect while we run in the all-glorified rat race. The reminders are given — taking notice and engaging with their messages is our remaining responsibility.

Aysenur Guc is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in philosophy. Her column,"Macro to Micro," runs on alternate Wednesdays.

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Aysenur Guc

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