Have you heard the latest end-of-the-world scenario?
No, not another "Left Behind" book.
Think something more along the lines of Dr. Frankenstein's monster.
The world's most powerful atom smasher went into operation Wednesday, despite the fears of a few scientists that, when fully operational, it might create tiny black holes that could suck the entire planet into nonexistence.
Other scientists, including of course the more than 8,000 physicists across the globe who collaborated on the project, tell us to ignore the Chicken Littles. They appear to have science on their side, based on this article.
Still, it's hard to ignore doomsday predictions, however farfetched. So yesterday, when I became annoyed over a little matter, the Possibility of Imminent Planetary Annihilation crossed my mind. Then the microscopic black hole of "does this really matter if everything is about to go poof?" immediately sucked up the little matter, squeezing it into no matter.
Seeing the end -- even just a potential end -- tends to change your perspective.
And that, I think, is the gift of mortality. We know, if we dare to admit it, that our lives are short. They could end a week from now. Or tomorrow. Or today. If we keep this uncomfortable fact in mind, surely we are more likely to treat others lovingly, to forgive slights, to make the most of our time, to explore the big questions of meaning instead of sweating the small stuff.
The question remains the same whether the Large Hadron Collider destroys Earth in a few weeks or the planet gets a million-year reprieve: What will each of us do with the time we have left?