Things you get but don't always /get/....

Pages

I woke up this morning thinking about dinosaurs.

Naturally I know about them, loved them as a kid, saw Jurassic Park. I'm aware of fossils and evolution and extinction. I get all of that.

But for some reason - today - I was struck in the brain-face by the reality of it. Enormous creatures of all shapes and sizes used to walk around on this planet many, many years ago. Creatures that were, by comparison to today's ecosystem, almost alien.

Then they all died. And the same Earth we call home chugged right along.

Today, somewhere in my brain, these facts that I had grown up knowing and never thinking about renewed their gravity. All I could do was sit up and say, "Holy sh*t."

This happens occasionally, usually around matters of history or astronomy. It's a shift from knowing that a phenomenon is big, important or meaningful to feeling it in a visceral and overwhelming way.

I can't describe it much better than that but it puts me on my ass every time. My brain starts to flip over and over on itself as I try to fit my little life into such a big picture. Does that happen to anyone else?

I sort of get that way when thinking about human evolution. We're friggin' awesome!

That kind of thing happens to me all the time. Usually whenever I can't get to sleep and my mind is restless.
Its pretty interesting when you really think about it.

You're made of stars that exploded. You are the residue of an explosion bigger than you can possibly imagine, and you sit in your chair made of exploded stuff, wearing your pants made of exploded stuff. You are soot that talks to other soot about its day.

Astronomy is great for this sort of thing.

JoeBedurndurn wrote:

You're made of stars that exploded. You are the residue of an explosion bigger than you can possibly imagine, and you sit in your chair made of exploded stuff, wearing your pants made of exploded stuff. You are soot that talks to other soot about its day.

Astronomy is great for this sort of thing.

Definitely When I'm hunting objects with my telescope, I always find it humbling to think that the very photons that are entering my eye were shot toward Earth hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of years ago in some cases.

Stengah wrote:

I sort of get that way when thinking about human evolution. We're friggin' awesome!

Awesome? Humans are one of the dumbest species that the evolutionary process ever churned out. What has it been ... 10,000 or so years of modern humanity, and we're struggling not to completely destroy ourselves and we're making a grand effort to wreck the entire planet. We can do amazing things - but our flaws are severe.

Other animals are incredibly efficient with things like food (e.g. wasting nothing), and Americans for example throw away enough food to feed nations, and yet something like 10,000 children die of starvation on this planet daily.

Btw, I type the above with a good dose of sass, but I'm listening to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake suite as I post, and I feel how incredibly awesome humanity is capable of being. I just see too much avoidable suffering in our species to give us the general label of 'awesome' as of yet.

JoeBedurndurn wrote:

You're made of stars that exploded. You are the residue of an explosion bigger than you can possibly imagine, and you sit in your chair made of exploded stuff, wearing your pants made of exploded stuff. You are soot that talks to other soot about its day.

Astronomy is great for this sort of thing.

I love stuff like this. My favorite personal mind-bender is related to yours.

At some point in the future, our sun will turn into a red giant and engulf the earth. Everything - every last jot & tittle of everything we've ever done will be burned to a crisp and lost for eternity. Everything we're doing right now is utterly for nothing. The result of our existence is the same as if we had never existed in the first place. If you attempt to move our memories and history to some remote planet/moon/starbase - the result remains the same - that location will eventually be swallowed up in a black hole as well.

So yeah, eat, drink & be merry!

You can never technically reach anything because you have to travel half way to your destination, then half way of the half way left to your destination, then half way of the half way of the half way left.... forever!

vbl wrote:

Then they all died. And the same Earth we call home chugged right along.

On top of that, the KT extinction event wasn't even that big as these things go... there have been a few that were significantly more devastating.

Edited to add persnickety note: they didn't all die - we still have the birds, after all.

Jeff-66 wrote:
Stengah wrote:

I sort of get that way when thinking about human evolution. We're friggin' awesome!

Awesome? Humans are one of the dumbest species that the evolutionary process ever churned out. What has it been ... 10,000 or so years of modern humanity, and we're struggling not to completely destroy ourselves and we're making a grand effort to wreck the entire planet. We can do amazing things - but our flaws are severe.

Other animals are incredibly efficient with things like food (e.g. wasting nothing), and Americans for example throw away enough food to feed nations, and yet something like 10,000 children die of starvation on this planet daily.

Btw, I type the above with a good dose of sass, but I'm listening to Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake suite as I post, and I feel how incredibly awesome humanity is capable of being. I just see too much avoidable suffering in our species to give us the general label of 'awesome' as of yet.

Alrighty then Mr. Negative, you be a member of a dumb species, I'll be standing over here with my self-awareness, mastery of tools, and artistic ability being friggin' awesome.

Edit- I'm more specifically referring to humankind's potential for awesomeness. I'm well aware that we usually fail to live up to our potential.

I get that feeling sometimes when I'm just walking around the city. It suddenly strikes me that everywhere I look, I can see evidence of how we have tamed nature. I'll just stare at concrete and asphalt and think about how no other organism comes even remotely close to reordering their environment to suit their needs. Occasionally this happens when walking back from lunch with co-workers, who look at me like I'm insane when I voice these thoughts.

I know what you mean. Sometimes it's one thing to know something in an intellectual way, but quite another to feel and understand it's truth.
One that hits me at least a few times a year: "Holy crap the Pacific Ocean is huge." (Which is usually followed by calculations of how long it would take me to drive or walk to Japan, were that possible.) Of course I always know it's big, but I don't always feel how big it is in that immediate and visceral way.

I always enjoy this one for a bit of mind = blown.

Imagining the Tenth Dimension

There was a Channel 4 series, here in the UK, called Catastrophe. It was fantastic. It basically relates a series of Earth wide disasters that led to us becoming the dominant species. Watch it if you get the chance.

(unfortunately, my link is only the advert for the programme but it will give you a taste. Actually here is part one of the first episode)

When I was travelling around Europe we visited towns and villages in far flung countries that I am never likely to visit again in my life time. It occurred to me that the people there are living lives that I will never witness; that people I glimpsed from a passing train would live long eventful lives and all I would have seen of that life would be a second or two of them talking to a friend, or collecting washing or reaching the top of an arc on a garden swing.

JoeBedurndurn wrote:

You're made of stars that exploded. You are the residue of an explosion bigger than you can possibly imagine, and you sit in your chair made of exploded stuff, wearing your pants made of exploded stuff.

So the explosion in my pants last night was just part of the natural order of things?

Seriously though:

vbl wrote:

Naturally I know about them, loved them as a kid, saw Jurassic Park. I'm aware of fossils and evolution and extinction. I get all of that.

But for some reason - today - I was struck in the brain-face by the reality of it. Enormous creatures of all shapes and sizes used to walk around on this planet many, many years ago. Creatures that were, by comparison to today's ecosystem, almost alien.

You made my day... made me laugh so hard! Not at you, just hit me funny that's all. I usually have the opposite problem.... i go from understanding things to suddenly questioning whether i actually know what i know is correct. This means that i have to try and re-work-out in my head how the thing should be.... usually i end up turning around and asking someone a stupid question to which they reply with incredulity or amazement at the fact i "didn't know that".

It spans little things like forgetting temporarily how to spell the word "the" or having words look wrong even though they're spelt right etc. to big things like forgetting how we know gravity works (although i haven't actually had that one, i just can't remember an example right now, maybe heat transfer stuff or something)....

Th3 Space Pope wrote:

I always enjoy this one for a bit of mind = blown.

Imagining the Tenth Dimension

Like the bloke in one of the comments, I remember watching a program about string theory (couldn't be arsed to find the remote) where some guy had had his theory laughed at for ages, then they discovered that if you postulated that there were 11 dimensions (as opposed to 10) then his maths worked.

At which point I decided that hunting for the remote was a good use of my time after all.

The other one to bring up in the pub, following on from Joe's point, is that there are probably thousands of atoms in each of us that were once in Jesus, or Julius Caesar.

The other one to bring up in the pub, following on from Joe's point, is that there are probably thousands of atoms in each of us that were once in Jesus, or Julius Caesar.

Or, more likely, Lobster's mom.

I often get this in more esotheric areas, like friendship and love. There's often something I know and accept about human nature through literature or other people's experiences that suddenly click in place when they happen to me.

For instance, I fell in love (the real kind) for the first time at a relatively late age (25), and all those observations from friends who had girlfriends for years suddenly became 'real'.

I always find the scale of the universe hard to grasp. The sheer size of (known) stars and planets in comparison to Earth is pretty incomprehensible to my mind.

Most of the things I find difficult to grasp is connected to physics. Like that a single photon can pass through two different slits at the same time and interact with itself to create an interference pattern. Most of the quantum physics is both fascinating and incomprehensible, at least until you let go of the so-called common sense. Interestingly, I find that relativity makes a lot of sense, unlike quantum physics.

My latest object of fascination is my 2-month old son. I find it hard to believe that at one time he wasn't, didn't exist and now he is an he's with us. I wonder about that a lot.

When I was younger I used to enjoy sitting, pondering the universe because it's just so damn amazing. Try thinking about one side of the universe and then encompass the expanse that exists between it and the other. If you get stuck on the first step don't feel bad, it's where the interesting thoughts begin since. How do you consider something unlimited in scope that defies your preconceived notions of dimensionality?

I also enjoyed the paradox of nothing. Namely that by declaring something to be nothing you are undoing its nothingness and making it into something. In fact, by referring to something/nothing as 'it', you are giving it definition and thus making it something because were something truly nothing it would be impossible to give definition.

I was the geek who'd proudly state to anyone who'd listen that there's no such thing as nothing, but would always be disappointed when they'd look at my strangely and pretend I hadn't spoken.

If the whole water cycle thing is true, then we are drinking dinosaur pee.

I get those pretty frequently, but I also get the darker side of them: Stunning moments of clarity on our society. Not exactly fun when the insanity of it all hits you while you're trying to bail on the mall through an anchor store (We were getting a plastic guitar from the nearby mall.). I very nearly just ran out of the place on St.Hillary.

Humans are 80% water.

That blows my mind. Really, the human body in general. I'm of the firm belief that collectively, as a species, we are only using a fraction of our potential. In terms of brains, perhaps a lot less than a fraction.

Also, the movie Unbreakable - specifically Elijah's theory of the "spectrum" of human ability as it pertains to balance, and that if perhaps there is someone afflicted with a debilitating congenital disease or ailment, is there someone on the other side of the spectrum who is a bit stronger or able than the average human? My logic and the realist in me dismisses it as fantastical poppycock but the part of me that likes to build trebuchets in my backyard, tries to engineer ways to hook a human body up to a motorcycle for a more intuitive and intimate riding experience, and thinks that if I expose the unborn son in my wife's uterus to instructional pitching audio tapes from Steve Ellis and constant Thelonius Monk tracks, that he'll grow up to become an MLB pitcher who is a jazz piano virtuoso, wonders about those kinds of things often.

Bah Humans are not that Stupid! Look at cows they will eat themselves to death if you let them. Most animals will breed and destroy the environment if allowed too until they kill themselves. The only issue with Humans is we have no predators but ourselves so it is hard to stay in check.

Also I always space out on distances when flying and going any faster than 150 mph. For instance I moved from California to Texas, I marveled the fact that I could pack up all my crap drive to Houston and unpack and playing be videogames in less than 2 days! With the big US expansion it took what a year? 2? to get from one side of the country to the next? Hell it took my Grandfather a week to move his stuff from Kansas to California right after WW2!

Think about email for instance, say 2 - 3 hundred years it took 6 months or more to send a letter from one side of the earth to the other. Now I type it up, hit send and 1-2 seconds later it is there! Forget about exploded pants just the rate in which technology is moving is crazy insane.

I look forward to using the space elevator to get to space before I die! So whoever is working on it get to freaking work! I want to have sex in zero g!

I don't even have to think about dinosaurs or the big bang or whatever else to get that sense of "holy sh*t!" style awe.

All I need is a tornado warning from the local news station during a bad thunderstorm to remind me just how small and insignificant a speck I really am, and how little there is I can do about it.

It's a good thing though. Gives a guy some perspective.

OP reminded me of this: NSFW Language

Pharacon wrote:

Bah Humans are not that Stupid!

Most animals will breed and destroy the environment if allowed too until they kill themselves.

Contradiction!!!

I want to have sex in zero g!

The danger of a self-inflicted money shot is of concern.

Dust. Wind. Dude.

oldmanscene24 wrote:

Dust. Wind. Dude.

Just a drop of water in an endless sea.

Mr Crinkle wrote:

I get that feeling sometimes when I'm just walking around the city. It suddenly strikes me that everywhere I look, I can see evidence of how we have tamed nature. I'll just stare at concrete and asphalt and think about how no other organism comes even remotely close to reordering their environment to suit their needs. Occasionally this happens when walking back from lunch with co-workers, who look at me like I'm insane when I voice these thoughts.

I think 'tamed' is the wrong word. What you're looking for is 'subjugated'. Or possibly 'massacred'.

We're the only organism that has come up with ways of reordering its surroundings on such a macro scale, and we may well be the only organism to consciously think that it was a good idea to do so. I wouldn't consider trying to rebuild the house I was living in; I'm not sure how we came to the conclusion that doing that on a broader level was clever...

Chumpy wrote:

We're the only organism that has come up with ways of reordering its surroundings on such a macro scale

I think plantlife would disagree with you.

Pages