the human condition… of utter destruction!

11 05 2009

i thought about something this morning—upon waking, actually—about which i was a little surprised to not have realized before.  it took me a while to wrap my head around it, as i was using half of my brainpower to wonder why i was thinking so early in the day, but when i arrived fully into my thought, it became reasonably clear and a little obvious.  so obvious it blows the mind!

okay, so, through my various readings and thinkings, i’ve been compelled to consider the nature of energy in our reality.  most physicists (notice i name the SCIENTIFIC players first so that my forthcoming statement gains a little credibility before you have the chance to judge the rest), shamans, buddhists, mystics, and children who are too young to play with happy meal toys accept that the reality of the world we see must be largely illusory and that all there really is is a massive, continuous flux of energy. lavoisier made the first modern, scientific step towards understanding this when he proved conservation of energy.  you know, he discovered that matter was potential energy, and that any process conserved the amount of energy that was stored within the components to begin with.  it just changes forms.  its mass remains the same, even if it dissipates and leaves in a billion directions, no new energy was created nor destroyed.  i mean, you know this, man!

the buddha said that in deep meditation, he eventually saw that all things were made up of incredibly tiny particles, and he described atoms (though he called them calapas).  he also said that everything that exists is made up of energy, and that every tiny bit of energy arises and passes away billions of times each second, so that everything is, in a sense, brand new at all times.

and modern physicists, to bring it back to science, which is all you want to believe anymore, are at a crossroads of confusion:  they see that the world doesn’t compute according to their “logical” sensibilities when they look at how the building blocks of the universe act, and yet they continue to try to empirically divine the nature of reality.  i mean, their precious maths even show them that, beyond hydrogen, any element’s particles’ behavior takes place in far more than the 4 dimensions to which our human brains allow us easy access… but they still aren’t prepared to give up the ghost in their hunt for comprehension of reality.  which is fine.

now, to my morning realization:  if all is different forms of energy, and i think that most of us believe this anyway, then what does it say about perspective that our five senses detect only what is decay in our reality?  our only clear connections to the world in which we live are only connected via the slow destruction of it.  it’s such a slow decay that we don’t notice it, of course, but the flow is ever in the direction of disintegration, which is very interesting to me.

touch is the most obvious one, of course.  when you touch something, you feel it, but you’re also creating a friction by which particles are knocked loose, exchanged, and generally mucked about.  but it’s the only way you can tell that something is there–wearing it down.  when observed at a very super tiny level, even touching something as substantive and seemingly nonplussed as a sheet of metal drastically changes the landscape of the metal’s surface.  and your personal touching implement.  whatever you chose to touch the metal with, sicko.

smell is more eerie a perceptor of decay.  some excitation of a material—often heat, as in the warmth of fresh puppy poo—causes the material to loosen and lose tiny pieces of itself.  the particles are so small that they are carried through the air with ease, even just by the heat by which they were releases, and some of them find their ways into the noses of animals, like us!  then our little smell receptors notice the decay of poo!  huzzah!

taste is a gauche sense in comparison.  it demands the usually purposeful destruction of items by the teeth, then uses the friction of touch and the particle receptivity of taste in order to ascertain the nature of the decay it experiences.

sight is an interesting one, since light basically exists in simultaneous states of particles and waves.  i don’t feel like confusing myself by trying to describe how it is at once both and neither, but suffice it to say that it’s been shown that the physical photon doth knock the tiniest of particles from the object from whence it bounced.  that’s destruction.  chalk it up on the board.  though, just as intellectual candy, i’ll offer up here that i like to think about the fact that light, by itself, is undetectable to us.  without objects to bounce off of or weasel through, it could completely surround us (and does), and we’d never have a clue.

finally, sound.  sound was the one that i was a little unsure about at first, because it’s only in waves that it graces our realities.  but then it became, how you say…. obvious as fuck.  waves dissipate faster than anything.  the “ting” of the glass is a torrent of sound wave action an inch from the locus of impact, but from three feet away, it’s a manageable sound to notice and understand without being blown away.  from one hundred feet, the sound waves, which not so long ago burst forth from a physical collision that released quite a little bit of energy in nearly exclusively sound wave form, have decayed so much that you probably can’t even detect them.

if all that we are capable of noticing is the falling to pieces, however slowly, of the world around us, what does that say about what it means to be human?

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