Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Trillions to 1

Just the other day I was thinking, if, 31 years ago, the two gametes from which I was formed - those two first cells of me - differed in location by a millimeter, I would not be here today. Someone else would be in my place, someone looking very similar, but it would not be me. I would have never awakened to life, but would have remained non-existent. Someone else - a pseudo-Jonathan-Aquino - would have grown up with my family, attended my school, fallen in love with computers, contributed to society - in my place. All without me knowing it; I would never have been born into reality. I would have remained dormant.

The chances of those two first cells meeting were astronomically low - 1 in trillions. And going further back in time, through the generations, the chances of events happening in just the right place and at just the right time to result in this one meeting of cells: very unlikely. If anything had been slightly different - a rainy day instead of a sunny one, for instance - another Jonathan Aquino, not I, would be living this life.

Yet here I am. Trillions to 1 that I should not have been granted a shot at this life. I'm very lucky.


  • Beautiful thought :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/25/2008 12:36 a.m.  

  • Not only that but think of all the Jonathan Aquinos that made it to yesterday but didn't make it to today. Conception is not the only point that is essential to being exactly who and where you are ... all points are essential. What about the Jonathan Aquino that had a cup of tea before reading this blog comment. And the one that stubbed his toe on the way to the computer. And the one whose spam filter gobbled the email notification of the comment.

    This is why people start thinking there are (near-)infinite numbers of universes ...

    By Blogger Thomas David Baker, at 4/25/2008 4:42 a.m.  

  • Hi Jon. Because you are engaging in such iffy speculation, allow me too.
    When I was a child we were told (don't know where this information originated) that before we were born we were waiting in heaven with God for a body to be born in. So maybe, just maybe you would have been born in another body, nonetheless you.
    BTW, I love the audio poetry.

    By Blogger OpenJoe, at 4/25/2008 5:51 p.m.  

  • HumorousGuy - Glad you found it thought-provoking!

    Tom - Very neat idea.

    OpenJoe - A very interesting idea as well!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 4/25/2008 7:00 p.m.  

  • I guess it depends on what you believe in.

    I see people as a nexus of thoughts, ideas and information. And just as ideas will emerge at a given point in time -- so will "you"

    Your physical attributes may have been different, and but I still believe that you would exist, in some form, across any permutation of reality -- simply because you exist here now.

    By Blogger Kai, at 5/03/2008 6:45 a.m.  

  • Intriguing thought, Kai. And a comforting one!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 5/03/2008 10:55 a.m.  

  • OpenJoe - I wonder if your source might be "The spiritual soul does not come from one’s parents but is created immediately by God and is immortal" - from The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 70.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 5/04/2008 9:10 p.m.  

  • Hey Jon, that would communicate the same idea, wouldn't it? But I think my forbears were Protestant for many generations. I imagine it just came from some traditional folklore.
    The story is told in my family of my two aunts as little girls.
    The younger said, I know what heaven is like.
    The older said, No you don't; you couldn't know.
    The younger, Yes, I do. When I was in heaven before I was born I remember God cooking dinner and Jesus setting the table.
    So maybe it is natural law and no one has to tell us. Ha ha.

    By Blogger OpenJoe, at 5/05/2008 3:45 a.m.  

  • Charming parable!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 5/05/2008 10:22 p.m.  

  • Hi Jon. Statistics have nothing to do with you coming into existence. Everything happened on purpose. God planned your birth at the time and place it happened before the universe even existed. We're all here for a specific purpose in the time we were given to be born.

    Many people don't see their true purpose in life and continue just surviving and paying bills. Life is a gift and we will live it to the fullest if we follow God's plan for us.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/09/2008 5:16 p.m.  

  • Thanks for that, Johan. I think you're correct.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 5/09/2008 9:16 p.m.  

  • "O my soul, I was in an abyss of nothingness and would still be there had not God drawn me thence; and still there what could I have done?"

    —St. Francis de Sales

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 9/06/2008 5:59 p.m.  

  • John, that's a telling statement. And don't you think the fear of falling back down into that abyss is one of the primary, albeit ineffective, motivators of humankind? I know I have felt it and have seen it in many others.

    By Blogger OpenJoe, at 9/07/2008 2:42 p.m.  

  • Good point, OpenJoe. As St. Alphonsus de Liguori says, "We should think continually of death" and "We must always be ready".

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 9/07/2008 8:21 p.m.  

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