If Not Me, Who? If Not Now, When?

Gabe McGough ‘25, Guest Writer

Why are we here? This question about the nature of human existence has intrigued philosophers and religious scholars for ages. While it may be impossible to personally discern the reason for our collective existence with absolute certainty, that does not mean that we should not ask the question. I felt compelled to share my thoughts regarding this question. In doing so, I hope that other Dickinsonians will also begin to think about why we are here.

I believe that while the universe was created by the Big Bang, an omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient entity kicked the whole process off. Being a flawless entity, it is incapable of interacting by chance or probability in any way because its actions are inherently perfect. Because this entity could not interact with chance on its own, it created humans which are imperfect and therefore capable of chance interactions with their world and each other.

Being flawed is not a negative part of the human condition. Our inherently imperfect nature grants us our most valuable asset — free will. This free will is what gives humans the ability to shape our world and the vast universe around us. 

That being said, we as a species need to understand what the cost of our free will is. If our free will is used selfishly, we will face the tragedy of the commons, meaning public resources will be depleted, leading to our ultimate common demise. However, if most humans used their free will for the good of the species, I do not believe there is a single thing in the universe that is capable of overcoming the indomitable human spirit.

I have no doubt that Dickinsonians have a general understanding of the negative impacts our species has had on the planet. On the other hand, I am convinced that many of us do not feel as though we have a personal stake in the Earth’s future. For this reason, I urge every Dickinsonian to take some time to develop a personal philosophy. In doing so, I hope that we will all understand that it is our responsibility to come together as a species and work as a unit to remedy our past common mistakes while continuing to work towards humanity’s sustainable future.  

To summarize, our common humanity has two main options; we can learn from our mistakes and grow as a species, or we can continue killing each other and the only planet we can live on. The choice is ours.