In the long run, everyone dies. In the extremely long run, the universe becomes cold dark nothingness. In historic perspective,each of us is an irrelevant hostage to fate. Each of us in our own moments feels immortal, eternal, omniscient, and everything.

Those who ponder the world beyond themselves have come up with many grand ideas. It is all illusion, it is all real, it is simply preparation for what may come, it is random chaos, it is directed by destiny. The one commonality to all the viewpoints is that none seem verifiable by logic, experiment, or even common sense. But each construction also has its charms to help us through our difficult days.

Most of us, who must live in society, are extremely adaptable. No matter what our internal beliefs, we easily get along, usually by “doing what the Romans do.” Dealing with how to get dinner or enjoy a friendship is far more important right now than the fate of the entire world in hundreds of years, or the universe in its billions.

When we meet those who cannot be changed, we are either entranced or horrified. If they speak well we can be, at least momentarily, swayed to their vision. Such sermons from the true believer are difficult to resist. We respect certainty and seek the security of truly knowing the meaning of it all.

Unfortunately, in historic terms, most such orators have been driven by ignorance or derangement. Equally unfortunately, we are rarely granted time to gain perspective that such is the case.

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