The chances of you are 1 in 875,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
That’s 1 in 857 sextillion. Here’s how:
Up until the middle of the 20th century the population of earth was less than 2 billion and most people lived in small rural communities. The estimate of 100 eligible partners for each individual, given age, kinship networks, and other factors, seems high, but let’s be optimistic and use it. Each man had a 1 in one hundred chance of conceiving a child with any woman and vice-versa. You are 1 in 5,250 quintillion.
Homo sapiens have existed for 500,000 years. Up until the early 20th century that average human lifespan (length of a generation) was about 30 years. That’s 16,667 human generations. You are 1 in 875 sextillion.
Of all the long shots, the impossible bets, the chances of being struck by lightning (1 in 700,000), of winning the lottery (1 in 175 million), you are the longest shot. You are the most impossible bet, yet here you are.
You may believe in God or you may not. This is a fact that exists regardless of the existence of a God, of any god, of many gods. This is not a question of faith. This is a question of math. The miracle is you.
What would you attempt to achieve in your life knowing that the most impossible miracle has already occurred? You exist.
How would you treat your fellow human beings knowing that the existence of each one is equally miraculous: the person who checks out your groceries at the supermarket, the homeless person you pass on the way to work, your asshole boss. Each person is a miracle, even if they don’t know it.
How much more could you love, care for, and honor yourself and your fellow human beings knowing that the likelihood of all of us existing is even less likely that the probability of any individual existing, that the probability of this exact constellation of human beings existing is 1 in 6,125 nonillion?
How would you attempt to change the world knowing that the near-impossible has already occurred? We are all here now.