Your Meaning of Being…
What Is It?

Amid the chaos of COVID-19 and the litany of inane antics of our narcissistic president, I was grading finals. I wanted my class to think, ponder, and wonder about their meaning of being. What I didn’t want was them merely repeating something someone else said. This is especially true since many other writers, philosophers, and theologians wrote about their Weltanschauung, which predated the Cosmic Calendar.

Click on this link for a larger picture of the Cosmic Calendar

Carl Sagan was able to express the concept of the Cosmic Calendar in both his book, The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence and his television series, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. He was able to reduce the ca. 14-billion years since the Big Bang to the present-day into a calendar, which is called the Cosmic Calendar. This allows us to conceptualize the vastness of time and our place in the universe.

  • The top third of the Cosmic Calendar is January through December. Each month shows what was happening in the universe during that month.
  • The middle third is the month of December.
  • The bottom third is the last minute of the last day of in the last 60-seconds of the Cosmic Calendar.

I wanted my students to ponder their reason for being. They came into this world on the last day of the of the year, the last hour, the last minute, the last second, and the last 0.23 of a second in the Cosmic Calendar. Their lives will take up roughly the same amount of time as it takes to blink our eyes once. At my age, I have used up much of my quarter of a second, and my class has used up a third of their time already.

It seems to me a gross waste of time to repeat what someone said a millennium or two about the meaning of being. I will find out sooner than any of my class about what, if anything, there is beyond death. I have done the dance with death twice and see life differently than prior to my dances. I am far more interested in the known present than the unknown future after death.

Case in point. I wrote an essay about Andrea Bocelli. He was born on September 22, 1958. The following photos are of his mother and father, which are from his website, Andrea Bocelli.

However, Andrea had all sorts of medical problems prior to birth and for the next dozen years of his life. At twelve, he got hit in the head while playing soccer. That accident exacerbated a congenital glaucoma issue. Today, Bocelli is 62-years old and hasn’t seen anything for half a century. He is a role model for me.

Andrea Bocelli

My Way

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friends, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each chartered course
Each careful step along the byway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way

I've loved, laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of loosing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh no, no, not me
I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself then he has not
To say all the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows, I took the blows
But I did it my way

On my journey down my yellow brick road of life, I have learned that doing it my way is the right way…at least for me. I know what is important to me: teaching and my family here and overseas. Teaching and my families morph together and become one. My reason for being is to help my larger family, which is far more inclusive than those who share my DNA. It includes my students and my larger family. I need to help others because others have helped me. That is my reason for being.

That being said, allow me to tell you a little secret. It is a strange paradox or oxymoron. It is in giving that we get. If you want, you will get it by first giving.

These are several videos that you might enjoy.

This one deals with a different perspective of us in the universe. Julieta, one of my students, posted this              video as a part of her final.

This one is about Carl Sagan explaining the Cosmic Calendar.

This is about the Powers of Ten.