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  • Brian Anderson

Just How Incredibly Blessed are We to be Here?

Let’s thing about our ancestors, our grandparents, for a moment.

Let’s assume 25-year generations on average and use a starting point of the year 2000 to make the math easy. Our number of ancestors doubles each generation, which leads to a surprising reality...

We each have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents… 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1000.

Going back these 10 generations, at 25 years per generation, we each have 1000 grandparents dating back roughly to the year 1750.

Let’s continue another 10 generations.

2000, 4000, 8000, 16,000, 32,000, 64,000, 128,000, 256,000, 512,000, 1 million.

Going back 20 generations, at 25 years per generation, we each have a million grandparents dating back roughly to the year 1500.

2 million, 4 million, 8 million, 16 million, 32 million, 64 million, 128 million, 256 million, 512 million, 1 billion!

Going back 30 generations, at 25 years per generation, we each have a billion grandparents dating back roughly to the year 1250.

Another 25 years, to the year 1225, we each have a billion grandmothers and a billion grandfathers. And if an one of those BILLION RELATIONSHIPS hadn’t worked out PERFECTLY, then you wouldn’t be here.

Tens of millions of “coincidences” had to perfectly blend together to create you. Millions of disagreements had to be resolved at the last moment, saving the relationships. Thousands of weather events, changing the course of your ancestors’ lives, had to happen at the exact right moment just for you to take this next breath.

The numbers, although just simple math, get more unbelievable in terms of the chances of existence with each passing generation. Since homo sapiens have been around for 150,000 to 200,000 years… 6000 to 8000 generations and we only went back 31 generations… the reality is that the chance of our existence is perhaps best described as one in infinity, but the number “zero” is pretty close as well. It is such a blessing simply to be present on this magnificent planet!

Also, we don’t have to go back 8000 generations to see we, all 8 billion of us on Earth, are all related. You and I have the exact same grandparents, the exact same family… it’s just, how far do we have to go back?

That being the case, what is the outer limits of your definition for the word “family?” Is it first cousin? If so, why not second cousin? And why not third or tenth or thirtieth?

If we expand our definition of family a bit… every encounter on Earth can be considered, silently yet knowingly, as a family reunion.

One thing is for sure: the person who cut you off yesterday is your long-lost cousin! You’ve just been ignoring him, for his whole life!, and he is crying out for a little attention!

This little math exercise shows us that we truly are all of one family, and we probably treat cousins a little bit better than strangers on the street… so why not change our definition of “stranger”. This exercises hopefully will also help you to remember our 1-in-infinity chance to be here… and how blessed we all truly are!

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