Why Using “Snowflake” As An Insult Is Beautifully Tragicomic A snowflake is a perfect metaphor for a human life.

Every snowflake begins its existence in a tempest.

It drifts down, away from the cloud in which it formed, and makes it way towards Earth.

From the moments before a snowflake coheres into a unique structure to the moment it melts back to an undifferentiated liquid, the water molecules at its core get tossed around by forces far greater than themselves and over which they have zero control.

After a relatively tiny measure of time that measures somewhere between a few milliseconds (if it lands on something warm) or as long an entire winter (if it lands on something sufficiently cold), the snowflake melts and loses every semblance of internal coherence.

When a snowflake’s time is up, its unique structure collapses back into the original, disordered state. Its brief existence as something distinct from any other batch of water molecules ends as it loses its physical form.

Like snowflakes, we humans are all conceived and gestated in an environment over which we have zero control.

If we’re lucky, the environment of our mothers bodies is free of neurotoxins, addicting chemicals, or too much cortisol, but many of us aren’t so lucky.

Sometimes, the circumstances of our mother’s lives and/or bodies are too much, and some of us never make through the first gauntlet and into the world.

But those of us that do emerge from the tempest of childbirth only ourselves naked, cold, and helpless.

We then spend most of our lives doing our best to find love and peace while navigating our ways through gale force winds that we barely understand and over which we have no control.

Along the way, our minds and bodies morph and shift, tossed around by the chaotic unfolding of fortune, fate, luck, and emotion that we call our lives.

And then, after span of time that barely qualifies as a glint of light in a 14,000,0000,000 year old universe, life leaves our bodies and all the coherent physical structures that made us unique return to their undifferentated forms.

So when we scream at each other on or offline and tell our fellow snowflakes they, not us, are the only snowflakes here, what are we doing here?

We are hiding.

Of course, we pretend that hiding is not what we are doing.

We log onto our newsfeeds of choice and rant and rave about the awfulness of others. As our amygdala sends adrenaline and cortisol coursing through our veins as we tweet and comment and post, we tell ourselves that we are standing for something, anything, other than our own utter contempt for ourselves.

We put on our righteousness masks and make pretend like the anger and violence we project onto others is anything but self-directed anger and violence grown weary of its usual punching bag.

We act like gaining dominance over the humans whose values, morals, and/or skin tones we fear will let us gain dominance over the thing we fear most…as if by finding a winning position for ourselves in the scarcity game, death won’t come for us and all the people we care about in the end.

But here’s the news we already know to be true: it ain’t gonna work.

Sure, we may conceivably find novel ways to prolong the body‘s lifespan before the lives of everyone alive today have run their course. But deep down, we know we’ll only be kicking the can of the inevitable further down the road.

Because in our tiny 4 dimensional section of the universe, phase shifts are simply part of the fabric of reality.

From order to disorder and back.

From beginning to end.

From ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.

But you know, mortality is not as bad we make it out to be. In fact, it’s epic any of us were ever here at all.

Because:

  • You, me, every person we’ve ever met…
  • Everyone we’ve ever loved and cherished…
  • Everyone we’ve ever feared and despised…
  • Everyone we’ve hugged and comforted in their moments of pain..
  • Everyone that has ever hugged us or held us when we cried…
  • Everyone we’ve insulted and cajoled and everyone that’s insulted or cajoled us…

All of us are reassembled bits of exploded stars, formed by the breaktaking logic of nature into imperfect, delicate, magificent structures granted a few tiny, magical moments of transient coherence.

And when we learn to notice all the angst and trauma and loneliness spiraling in our minds, we can see emotional violence for what it is…our scared, sad inner children desperate to feel loved and accepted in a world starved of love and acceptance and lashing out in fear and anguish..

When turn inward, we can see past the hard-edged illusions. And when we look at ourselves and anyone else up close…every single one of us is a wonder to behold while we’re here.

From the richest and most powerful to the poorest and most destitute..all the networks of atoms, moleccules, biological systems and electromagnetic fields that make us into us…were born in chaos…in all our majesty and all of our imperfection…we are a once-in-a-universe’s lifetime.

All of that in each and every one of us, always right here.

We are all snowflakes.

About Dan Kaplan

A former magazine journalist who pivoted into product marketing in 2010, Dan Kaplan is on a mission to use his storytelling and product marketing skills to do whatever he can to help create a future of abundance for all humankind.

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