Monday, July 23, 2012

Crazy Thoughts From the Beach

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint." - Mark Twain

Late last night I was standing on the picnic table on the back porch of the beach house my family's renting for the week, looking out over the ocean. And I thought about just how freaking amazing the world is.

The universe is enormous. There are stars 13 billion light years away. We live here. We live on a tiny little insignificant planet somewhere in the middle of it all and nothing we do really matters in the grand scheme of things but doesn't that make it so much better?

If I'm eating a really delicious bagel, no one else cares. It matters so little, but I'm sure as heck enjoying that bagel a lot. So who cares if it doesn't matter? I and thousands of other people are eating bagels that are good and getting pleasure from that. The simple fact that you can eat a bagel and it can make you happy is awesome.

I don't understand why it bothers people to think about how all of our emotions are just biochemical processes, because doesn't that make it that much more amazing? A few chemicals floating around in your brain can make you feel so wonderful or so miserable and how does that even work? How can chemicals make you feel so strongly? I don't know. I don't know, but I love it.

And there's so many people. I looked to my left and saw another island all lit up, and there was a couple walking along the beach with flashlights and they all have thoughts and lives and people they know and people they like and I have no idea what all of it is because we don't know each other at all and have entirely separate experiences of life except maybe they saw me standing on a table and laughing at the sky and thought I was crazy. 

Which, you know, would be a fair assumption.

I have a friend who says the only reason to believe in God is if that belief makes you happy.
This is why I don't.


  1. I think the sciences are just the ways we look at the parts of the world that make us feel small and amazing and want to laugh at the sky. Like, because each science is just a way of looking at the world in which you see certain things about it, if that makes sense? People who see the world through natural science are amazed by the fact that emotions are chemical reactions, and they see amazing beautiful chemical reactions and intricate organ systems and wonderful ecosystems and other science things where people who see the world through an artistic lens see incredible shapes and amazingly vivid and subtle colors and beautiful expressions of emotion and graceful lines and people who see the world through a theological lens see miracles and divinity in all of the same things, etc. I think the way you choose to look at the world, you choose because it makes you happy. You choose the science that shows you the things that amaze and stupefy you. Anyway, that was rambly and dumb. I'm glad you're having such an awesome time.

    1. Science excites me so much my god.
      I think if we were taught it with that "LOOK AT HOW EFFING COOL THIS IS" feel instead of "and here is the structure of a cell, and you need to memorize all of the different parts" there would be SO many more people interested in it.
      Like, I've hated basically every science class I've ever taken. Not because I hate science, but because the way they teach it is just so BORING.
      When really it's AMAZING and HOLY COW PHYSICS and STRING THEORY and the HIGGS FIELD and I barely understand them at all but god it's all so cool.

    2. @elfarmy17: About the classes: YES, THANK GOD; SOMEONE WHO SEES THINGS AS I DO! Although the latter half of Physical Science was somewhat interesting. The fellow I sat next to is still borrowing my copy of HYPERSPACE, so even though I've yet to finish it (need to remember next time I go to a library!), I'm glad that he, too, sees this.

      In a way, it's almost impressive how much they can water these things down.

    3. It's not even a matter of watering things down-- just the attitude behind the presentation. Ms. Stevens was better about it than a lot of people-- she really is a total Chemistry geek, for which I respect her. Whereas Don Thom is like "I care a lot about the environment" and then leaves his Christmas lights on when we go on a field trip.

    4. ...Now that is just strange, the thing about lights. I'm thinking I met Ms. Stevens, but I cannot be certain. I know Ms. Beeler seems really nice, but I've not taken chemistry.

      Even so, I agree with this clarification as well. "Bueller? Bueller?" And they wonder why kids don't seem interested. That's where Bill Nye and Schoolhouse Rock come in handy, but even they can't do everything a teacher should do ("should" meaning "should" and not necessarily "is required to by law to do").

    5. Well yeah, but I don't know that their happy-go-lucky "Science is fun, kids!" (cue cheesy gestures) is really what I mean either.

      I don't know Ms. Beeler at all, but I've gotten into a massive argument with her son via Facebook.

  2. Not dumb, Lettuce! I view the world in a way that is both realistic and at the same time enjoyable (most of the time). I think it is important to be as happy as one can without harming others in the process, whether it's eating bagels or writing or some other thing.


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