I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
It can be of value sometimes, to practice the Stoic technique of Cosmic Perspective. Of looking at the big picture. The really big picture.
It is estimated that approximately 100 billion people have lived and died since the dawn of the Homo sapiens. Take a moment to really consider that. 100 billion.
Every single challenge that you face in your life has been faced by billions before you.
It is estimated that the Bowhead Whale lives up to 200 years. Perhaps somewhere there is a young bowhead swimming with its mother. When it reaches old age, every single human being in existence on this planet will have passed. The current population will, in effect, be extinct. Every single human being that will exist then has not yet been born.
Each of us will turn these ideas over in our minds, and what we make of all this will be unique and personal.
What do I try to take away from this?
I try to look at problems from a Cosmic Perspective. I ask myself, “In the big picture, is this problem I’m facing of any real significance?
Sometimes I still think it is. Often, I have to just laugh at myself for being bothered by something so petty.