So in the last post, I mentioned the conundrum presented to me by the neighbor man–the one about the tree falling in the forest when no one is there to hear it. You know the one. The neighbor man preferred to think of it as unanswerable. We want to think we know that the tree made a sound, but how would we know for sure if we weren’t there? How do we know that anything at all exists outside of our range of hearing? Say–absent major explosions–a mile away? Well, I guess we’re guessing, but we’re on pretty solid ground to say it does. I realize now that it is another of the tales we tell to consider the nature of Faith. If there is a God, the story goes, He exists even though we can’t see him or hear him, in the same manner that the very lonely tree does make a sound. That’s faith. I think you could make the same case for science. Which is why I’m pretty confident that you can’t stop global warming by calling it a hoax.
I also heard an analogy for Eternity when I was little. First we are invited to think about eternity, which, ironically enough, you can only do for so long. And then, if the grownups believe you are insufficiently awed, they say: “A huge boulder rests on an island, and every thousand years, a bird flies to the boulder and rubs its beak against it, taking away a tenth of a grain of sand. And when the boulder is reduced to nothing, a single day has passed in Eternity.”
This struck me at the time as a lousy advertisement for eternal life, but I suppose if you throw in the wild card of Hell, it makes more of an impression. Still, the whole thing rang false for me. It cheapened eternity. If eternity is supposed to have any significance at all, it shouldn’t have ANY days. Eventually, given enough boulders and parakeets, you’d have yourself a month of eternity. You’d be making progress. But the point of eternity is there is never any progress.
It’s probably a good idea to attempt to blow your own mind every now and then by contemplating the whole universe, but it’s a waste of days (yours, which really are numbered) to do it all the time, when you could be burying your nose in a magnolia blossom. It’s unfathomable. I did try to think about it the other day, and I discovered something interesting: it is exactly as weird to think about the existence of the universe as it is to think about it not existing. It feels exactly the same. Maybe the two conditions are identical.
Maybe the universe both exists and doesn’t exist at the same time. I hope, in that case, it gets to have a cat. You know whose.
My mind is blown enough just wondering what's at the end of the universe. We are taught that everything has an end, so where is the end of the universe and what is beyond that?
…An infinite number of other universes?
As long as something gets blown, we're doing fine.
it's amazing how many people who wish to live forever can't find anything to do on a rainy Saturday
I've never had that problem on rainy Saturdays, not since the internet came along.
The reason Heaven seems so boring is that it never changes. "Living forever", assuming you stayed young and healthy, would be very different.
How bored would a person who was a young adult in the year 1916 (100 years ago) be, if he were still alive and young and healthy today? He would have seen countless technological and cultural developments he could not possibly have imagined in 1916 — antibiotics, jet airliners, movies, recorded music, space travel, the sexual revolution, the internet, and far more. The next century will probably deliver as much or more innovation, and the one after that still more, and so on.
Eradicating aging is just another bioengineering problem we'll eventually work out, like eradicating smallpox. But I don't think people lack for things to keep life interesting, even if there's still an occasional boring Saturday.
Mimimanderly, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! And sweet Infidel: won't we pile up, in an unacceptable manner? Even if we're not bored, there are already too many of us. And, collectively, we're up to no good, mostly.
I am more concerned with the pragmatic.Like this time, in this world.Except for the times when other things call to me…
Seems like otherwise there'd be way too big a "to-do" list.
I often consider the question of what the difference is between that that is infinitely small and that which is infinitely large…
There is no difference; it all depends on where you're observing from. Perhaps what we call our solar system is merely an atom in a larger universe. Conversely, perhaps what we call atoms contain billions of "planets" that are inhabited with life of some sort.
Actually, my first high fever dream involved huge things next to tiny things. Evidently it's upsetting. Think about something else.
If this is just someone else's dream, what then? I really don't think we're sufficiently evolved enough to determine the nature of reality and the size of eternity and infinity just yet. At this age I don't feel there is enough time left to spend considering these things for very long. Well, maybe if we drink a couple of beers and discuss it, but not more time than that.
You and I are on the same page.
It doesn't take much to blow my mind. Any old zephyr will do. And the thought of living forever fills me with horror.
Yeah, it's less and less appealing all the time. I plan to skate out of here right before the whole world blows up.
You must promise a blog post the very minute you decide the timing for that. I have such faith in you.
Me too. The only thing that scares me more than death is 'everlasting life.'
Isn't it just horrifying?
Here's how I blow my mind: lay on the ground at night and look up at the stars dwelling on the fact that I'm actually looking *down* on the stars, stuck to the rock at my back by an invisible force.
Well, you work with goats. You're especially sticky.
Just because no one is there to listen doesn't mean there is no noise.
Just because I fart and there is no one around to smell it doesn't mean it did not happen!
But we can only hope?
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