Sunday, October 22, 2006
I've Been Overdosing
I've been overdosing lately on the Science channel.
I've been cooped up for the past week or so because of another bout with the old back and, as with other episodes in the past, I tend to get depressed because of limited mobility. Sometimes I deal with it by staying as drugged up as possible and sleeping the majority of the day; other times I'll bury my nose in books, and lose myself in fantastic and glorious stories.
This time I've been overdosing on the Science channel. Hour after hour, with short breaks for lunch or the bathroom, I immerse myself in the wonders of trying to figure out just what makes the world and the universe tick.
Most people think of physicists as hopeless nerds, socially inept and backward. And yet, in reality, I believe these are some of the most passionate and human of our entire society. Because, in the end, what really makes us human? Above all, I think, it's our innate curiosity and drive to understand,
From the first savage who managed to tame fire, to the team of scientists who sent the Voyager spacecrafts on an endless journey out of our solar system into the great beyond, it has been a common human trait to try to understand and harness the world around us.
For those who are bitten by the bug, it is an addictive passion to know, and to try to understand. Simple faith is not enough. An ostrich-like sensibility to hide one's head in the sand cannot be countenanced. It is an all-consuming drive that has raised us from animals cowering in fear in rude shelters to, for good or ill, masters of this planet.
As I get older, I think about death. As I see family members fall before me, I have my nose rubbed in the fact that I too will pass on at some point. Am I afraid, though? A little. Unfortunately, I have no religious faith to soften the knowledge that when I die my ego will cease to exist forever.
But what really pisses me off about that is that I won't get to see how it all works out! I believe we're really just in our infancy as a species, and that there will be glorious and undreamed of things to come. I believe that at some point we're going to be able to answer a lot of those big unanswered questions that have plagued shamans and philosophers and theologians since the dawn of history.
And fuck it all, I probably won't be there to see it. Unless some really big medical breakthroughs happen relatively soon, all that'll be left of me will be my scattered atoms and some witless scribblings stored on some computer hard-drive somewhere.
That's what really pisses me off.