What's Your Probability of Being?

Sometimes we find those precious moments—hopefully many—when we think to ourselves, “Wow, it’s great to be alive!” But have you ever wondered about the probability of your very existence, here and now? You might be surprised by the numbers and how unique you are. Let me explain.

You had two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, etc. If you go back just 30 generations, the number of people directly responsible for your presence here on Earth can be calculated from the following formula:

Picture of probability formula

Don’t fret the math; it simply means N, which is the total number of people for all 30 generations is equal to the sum of 21 + 22 + 23 + 24 + . . , which is 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 +. . . , etc., up to 230. The final sum is precisely 2,147,482,646 or about 2.2 billion people! Not millions or hundreds of millions, but billions of people were necessary to create exactly you at this point in time. And if one of them had been missing, died prematurely, or had not been in the “right mood,” you would not be here! And that is true for every person on the planet. All you have to do is go back just 30 generations, which to most people’s surprise, sums to more than 2 billion people!

So is your life and presence here on planet earth at this very point in time and space, just an accident or coincidence? Is it a total statistical improbability? Well, if it is, that’s amazing! And if it’s not, then that’s amazing! It’s amazing either way! Your very existence should throw you into a state of ecstasy. As noted many years ago by Nobel laureate and poet Rabindranath Tagore, “If you’re not perpetually surprised by the fact of your existence, then you don’t deserve to exist.”

If we consider modern cosmology, evolution theory, geological records and molecular genetics, there are two broad schools of thought concerning the nature of true reality. The first, Physical Cosmology, maintains that everything that has happened since the beginning of time, i.e., since the Big Bang, is a series of accidents. This includes your very existence and the existence of our planet, which after all is but a speck of dust in the infinite void, somewhere in the junkyard of infinity.

The second school of thought, Conscious Cosmology, maintains that with bits and pieces of our everyday sensory experience, we cannot see the whole true picture.1 What Physical Cosmology calls an accident is in this alternate way of thinking, part of a universe where everything is synchronized, everything is coinciding with, and everything is correlated with everything else in the universe. And in fact in this way of thinking, there is no such thing as an accident.

So, your very existence is arguably beyond statistical comprehension. You are unique. You are special. In future discussions, I will share with you the profound implications of Cosmic Cosmology and Cosmic Consciousness for your wellbeing, happiness and success.

1 James A. Cusumano, Cosmic Consciousness: A Journey to Well-being, Happiness and Success, Fortuna Libri, Prague, 2011.