The Chances of Existing


‘’Are you happy?  It doesn’t matter! Are you unhappy? It doesn’t matter!  What matters is whether you exist or not! Are you laughing? It doesn’t matter! Are you crying? It doesn’t matter! What matters is whether you exist or not!’’   Mehmet Murat ildan



There was time when he did not exist. Nothing. Nothing to feel with as nothing existed. No spiritual being, no physical presence. Less than nothing as nothing had been created. One big fat zero. However somewhere in  another  place there was something , however, which most demonstrably did exist. He had no inkling of this nor even anything to inkle with. The  thing that did exist bought him into existence without his consent. He was  ushered into the world like a contestant on an odious Games Show by its groveling compere in a sequined jacket, ‘‘Come on down and join the show’’.

The numbers bandied about by those that are in the know of such an event occurring are staggering. No, not being invited onto moronic games show. Rather of existing, being and living. One such informed calculation claims that the probability of him, our hero, or you for that matter (which you obviously do, or you wouldn’t be reading this) of existing is in the area, the rough ballpark of about one in 400 trillion (4 x 10 /14). This figure is so wild, so far out there as to be beyond our comprehension. This is a big number being touted around here. How can we, mere intelligent monkeys, rationalize or understand such an immense figure.


Now a spiritual view of the issue at hand here. A Buddhist view. Both eloquent and informative.  Imagine a fathomless dark endless ocean. An expanse of seemingly infinite water in staggering volumes. For instance the total area for all the worlds’ oceans is 361,9000,000 km 2 and by volume 1,335,000,000 km 3. Big in other words. It is very, very big. And in the ocean a turtle is swimming  and doing whatever turtles do to pass the time of day as they glide through the depths. Thinking of lady turtles or where his next meal will come from. Anyway this turtle  is swimming along minding its own business. Meanwhile at the same time somebody unknown to the turtle, and for reasons which are mysterious, chooses to throw a life preserver into the water. Whether it is an emergency,  we do not know. Just for fun? Possibly. Perhaps simply for the stimulation of seeing something rubbery floating on the ever moving sea. It is  simply beyond  our ken.  However at that  very same millisecond, whilst bobbing about on the boundless Main, our turtle pokes his or her head out of the briny. Shocked and surprised, it finds a life preserver wrapped around its scrawny neck. We are talking very, very, very slim odds. That is another way of quantifying just how remote the chances of us being born are.


Even if a person were to go back just 250 years in their personal histories the chances of our being born are, from that point, virtually zero. Now factor into the equation, something around 40,000 generations from when we started to climb down from trees and take over the savannahs. And what is more you would obviously be astonished to find that the figures in regards to the probability of our hero or you, anyone in fact, being born is zero. Or to be more precise,  1 divided by 6 x 10/100. Well anyway, it’s a lot of a lot. Which means our hero, and everyone who has ever lived are very, very lucky to be alive at all. He thought about all of this information, this mind wracking detail, especially when he had had to rely on his Father to provide just the right sperm!


Our hero was produced out of a messy, gooey sub-atomic stew where 83% of  the sperm in Fathers balls was produced to kill off another man’s sperm. That is if just by chance it should find its way inside Mother’s reproductive system.

‘’There  I was dear’’ she explains with one eye on the door should a quick exit be required. ‘’Just      peeling the spuds for dinner and I noticed a star in the sky, a tingle down below and before you could     say plausible excuses, I was pregnant!’’.

‘’Sounds good to me luv’’, says Father holding out his pint size mug emblazoned with a green classic steam engine as its decoration. He was waiting patiently for a refill of steaming brown viscous tea. Nothing could interrupt such a moment. Tea moment. Tea.

Little did he know it, but our heroes Father also carried around  a  further 16% of sperm which was dedicated only to acting in the role of a blocker, or defender in a game of football, or Soccer for those from across the Pond. In this way the egg is protected from fertilization. Of course had he been a dragonfly he could have just used his shovel shaped penis to remove another man’s sperm. Basic but effective. Now down to the nitty-gritty, for within Fathers sperm there lurked, or shall we say trod water patiently in a primeval manner, another 1% of super sperm. It wasn’t much to look at, with a head only 5microns across and with a 50micron tail,  or to put it another way 25,000 thousand times smaller than a ping – pong ball, and distinctly far less bouncy. This was the four star Michelin of sperm, the Sailfish of swimmers, the dogs bollocks of sperm and the 1% that actually fertilized the egg. The 1% that unequivocally hit the nail on the head and made the grade. The odds of which are around 1 in 400, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 or 1 in 400 quadrillion. Now add to that little gooey dollop of information the fact that somewhere, stretching back 4 billion years, that there is a link with our ancestors, or whatever blobby, jelly thing was floating around in some wistful manner. Astonishingly it also had enough longevity before becoming something else’s dinner, to reach sexual maturity and reproduce. And then become something’s lunch after passing on its genes.

As a non-mathematical person such astounding figures left  our hero stupefied beyond all comprehension. Which honestly wasn’t very hard to do. But basically, the chances of him actually being alive, living and breathing were zero. But here’s the rub, the nub of the matter, he did make it and so did you, so welcome. And if you want it quantified another way. Music, please maestro.

Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown,
And things seem hard or tough,
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft,

And you feel that you’ve had quite eno-o-o-o-o-ough,

Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It’s orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
The sun that is the source of all our power.
Now the sun, and you and me, and all the stars that we can see,
Are moving at a million miles a day,
In the outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour,
Of a galaxy we call the Milky Way.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars;
It’s a hundred thousand light-years side to side;
It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light-years thick,
But out by us it’s just three thousand light-years wide.
We’re thirty thousand light-years from Galactic Central Point,
We go ’round every two hundred million years;
And our galaxy itself is one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

Our universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
In all of the directions it can whiz;
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute and that’s the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space,
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth!


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