Wile E. Coyote would frequently find himself running off the edge of a cliff. But he wouldn’t start falling to the ground below, at least not right away. It was only when he realized there was no longer any ground beneath him that he would suddenly crash downward.
Human beings think about things, we have contemplated our place in the universe, the reason why we are all here. Many possible answers have been put forward. For a long time, there has been a shared view that there is some meaning, something waiting to be found.
Gradually, our confidence in this view has begun to erode. As we understand the world better, the idea that it has a transcendent purpose seems increasingly untenable. The problem is that we haven’t quite admitted to ourselves that this transition has taken place. Want proof?
Darwin has upended our view of life, Nietzsche’s madman bemoaned the death of God, existentialists have searched for authenticity in the face of absurdity, and modern atheists have been granted a seat at society’s table. Yet, many continue on as if nothing has changed.
The truth is that the ground has disappeared beneath us, and we are just beginning to look down.