We are nothing more than physical beings. Nothing more than a collection of 70 trillion cells, half of which aren’t even human but rather bacteria. No, we are nothing more than the individual sums of our genetics, environment, exposures, and memories – and four billion years of time. Our memories, our thoughts, our personalities - nothing more than the interplay of 100 billion neurons, each of which may be physically connected to up to 10,000 other neurons. We are nothing more than the result of a trillion trillion rolls of the dice, of individual errors during chromosome replication that conferred some small advantage, were passed on to the next generation, and selected for over time.
No, it was not magic.
We are nothing more than one among 10 million living species, each of which is the result of their own dice rolls over time. Together, we are nothing more than one percent of the species that have ever lived on Earth. A planet that is nothing more than a single rock in an average solar system, only one of potentially billions of planets that may sustain life.
Is that not enough?
Then consider that together we are nothing less than one larger human organism, nothing less than a community of 7.4 billion interacting parts. Like neurons, the interactions between us can influence each other in profound and physical ways. Every smile, word of encouragement, or act of hatred holds the potential to affect a person down to their cells, down to the very transcription of their genes – these effects can last for decades. Indeed, our every action can have consequences on humanity and this Earth that may last millennia.
Yes, we are nothing more than the fleeting product of time and chance.
But that is nothing less than magical.