No, that’s not a fast food chain’s tag line. That’s a conservative estimate of the total number of people who have ever lived on Earth (including the 6.8 billion who walk the planet now), according to Jonathan Gosier. That’s a lot of people! These are the kinds of numbers that are so large that we have trouble conceiving of their actual size. Nonetheless, that’s the conservative estimate. Does that make you feel rather insignificant in the grand scheme? For me, it’s liberating. To paraphrase the Dali Lama, I may not be the best homo sapien, but I’m certainly not the worst one.
I don’t know what happens as the number of people continues to grow, and as more and more of them live out their lives in abject poverty. It makes me understand that the road to happiness has little or nothing to do with money or stuff. I’m coming to believe that the secret to happiness lies in not wanting much…in being content with being oneself.