Friday, September 29, 2006

Crab Nebula


I feel angry, a bit. Twitchy, teeth-gnashy, dark animals pawing at my innards. Not sure where this is coming from. PMS has run its course. The boy is appropriately attentive. I am directing two shows before the holidays. A recent writing endeavor has been recieved favorably and will be developed further next spring. My weight is at its lowest since the seventh grade. Compliments fluttered around my new haircut. Credit will be repaired by May.

But I'm reading Bill Bryson's "A Short History about Nearly Everything," spasming, with every turn of the page, at the sheer size and scope of the universe. Travelling at our current, fastest, man-propelled speed of 35,000 mph, it would take you ten thousand years to reach the edge of the solar system. Most large celestial bodies are at least 20 million years apart. If another intelligence lifeform from our nearest galaxy had a telescope strong enough to see our faces, it would see light from 200 hundred years ago. This means that it would be seeing slaves, the Ottoman Empire, and Thomas Jefferson.

Of course, we know this. Any big-thinking person has been attacked by the reality of the unreality of it all. We, as humans, cannot comprehend infinity or a light year, we can't even comprehend a distance above 600 yards (subconsciously, this is where we place the horizon). We can, however, comprehend that we cannot comprehend - and that is terrifying. We tell ourselves we don't understand football because we aren't athletic, or we don't know the molecular compound of a vitamin, because we didn't go to medical school. But what we do not know, we can learn; what we have not experienced, we can. There is safety there, knowing knowledge is easily attainable.

Comprehension is something differnt...a powerful, cognitive force we take for granted. Comprehension can not be learned, it can only be used; instinct for our frontal lobes. When you are literally unable to comprehend something, it is like being in the desert holding a steel sphere full of water, with no opening. You can only imagine how quickly frustration could turn into madness.

Anyway, thats how I feel today. I'm near dying of thirst, with only a steel ball of water to save me. I can hear the water swishing inside.

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