Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A quote from Richard Dawkins

I find Richard Dawkins to be an insufferable human being most of the time. He's obnoxious and arrogant. But I do occasionally love his writing. And this paragraph from one of older books is particularly inspiring:

"We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here."

And the chapter opens with a quote that Dawkins cites from Mervyn Peake.
"To live at all is miracle enough."
 As with most metaphysical quotes, I find a great deal of burden and liberation within it.