I know that the world only tramples me as a street crowd does an earthworm — not out of malice or stupidity, but because no one sees it. Thus my pain is not to feel wrongly slighted, but to feel rightly slighted.
I was brought up in a fairly religious environment. The South India of my childhood was unquestioningly religious. And humility before God was constantly emphasised. We were not to be vain, for God teaches a lesson to vain people and shows them, in The Joker's words, "how pathetic their attempts to control things really are".
A theist friend of mine persisted, "But why does sh*t happen?"
That in fact is the model I prefer. Atheists (and agnostics) are convinced there is no divine reason for their being born, that there is no inherent purpose to their continued existence, no meaning to the events that occur in their lives, and that they will with utter finality cease to exist once they die. Accepting an atheistic view of life is humbling, not arrogant, as the theists wrongly claim. And it also brings an odd peace. There's no pressure to be anything special because there's nobody to disappoint.
And Stanley in his New York Times article arrives at a similar peace.
There must be a Copernican revolution of the self. Instead of pointlessly cursing the sun to go around me, my chance of contentment is learning to orbit, being the world’s audience instead of demanding the world be mine.
With deep irony then, amen. It is such a relief to be nothing and nobody.