What is the meaning of life? Hank Green, in a Vlogbrothers video titled “Redefining What It Means to Matter,” suggests that it might just have something to do with our relationships with, treatment of, and contributions to others. Our interdependence is critical to his argument. He says, “Every human being that has ever existed and currently exist labored together to build this world.”
I was reminded of the idea that a “Hamburger Is a Miracle,” that, if we had to rely only upon our own knowledge and skill, we would likely starve (see SOC, Chapter 1). Green then quotes his friend/bandmate Joe DeGeorge as saying, “Tonight we feast on the labor of centuries,” which has echoes of Isaac Newton’s use of the expression, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” All that we know, think, and do depends on the ideas and efforts of those who have come before us. Or, as Hank Green puts it, “The good things that we have in our lives are mostly because other people worked to make life better.”
Rosa Rodil has created a poster of Joe DeGeorge’s quote. It is available here.