To the dumb question "Why me?" the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: why not?”

I just wanted to know your opinion on what Hitchens means by this. Does he imply everyone is equal before nature; terrible things can happen to nice people and no one is special. Does he mean we're tiny specks of dust in the cosmos and nature doesn't discriminate.

Thoughts welcome.

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    In English, there is a conceit: Why me? When bad things happen. He is using it there to signify the insignificance of a person vis-à-vis the cosmos i.e., the grander order of "things". – Lambie Apr 14 at 17:38
  • That's a question for English literature, not the present site. – LPH Apr 14 at 18:00
  • Unless Hitchens actually discussed this with someone or wrote an explanation, this is up to a point guesswork, but your guesses seem reasonable. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 14 at 18:27

In asking “Why me?”, the questioner is assuming she matters in the grand scheme of things. That makes it a dumb question because, in Hitchens’ view, no one matters in the grand scheme of things.

In having the cosmos barely return the reply “Why not?”, Hitchens is having the cosmos state what to him is obvious, that the questioner matters not at all in the grand scheme of things. Hitchens opts to have the cosmos barely respond to the questioner, for otherwise the questioner would, in Hitchens' view, continue to have no inkling of her insignificance. If Hitchens were calling it as he sees it here, the cosmos would not respond at all, in which case the questioner would continue to have no clue.

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  • 'barely bothers to return' - that is an interesting take you have there. – Prabhu Apr 14 at 18:44

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