I'm standing there in a meeting, looking at the variations in nose shape,
hair, and neck musculature among my coworkers. I've accepted the theory of
evolution as probably true, and this makes me prone to looking at life forms
and wondering, "What is that (insert name of body part) for?" "What advantage
does this behavior serve?" "What are we going to be like/look like/act like
a million years from now?"
The majority of people I've met don't think very far into the future. The
majority of people I've met are also much more sensible than I am. They think,
"What can I accomplish in MY lifetime?", whereas I think, "What is the ultimate
fate of the Universe?" Up until recently, I was fairly certain that death was
"it"; that it was total, eternal annihilation of consciousness. Now, I am not
so sure. It occurred to me that we really don't know what kind of freaky stuff
is going to happen to the Universe in the next several billion years. Is the
Universe undergoing vaccuum fluctuations? Are we going to find out that we
are simply in one of many Universes? Is the flow of time going to change?
Are humans going to achieve immortality? Are we going to be able to upload
ourselves into machines? Strange things are happening, and we really have NO
clue exactly what we are or what this thing we call the Universe is.
Imagine a Stone Age man. Bear in mind that the Stone Age man did not know
that he even lived on a planet, that this planet was surrounded by an atmosphere,
and that the atmosphere was encapsulated in a universe. Being was simply being;
the ground was there, the sky was there, and Man was in the middle. He had
urges: instinctive drives to eat, sleep, have sex. At some point, humans became
more self-aware, and began to think about their actions. We have come so far
since prehistoric times -- just imagine where we may be as a species when twice
as much time has passed since then. We will invent things that, if we saw them
today, would only be construed as magic. We will delve deeper and deeper into
the structure of matter, and the relationship between matter and energy. It is
mind-blowing to think of the far-off future in this manner; I feel that it is
important to realize that someday all that we are will be considered primitive.
All our silicon chips and skyscrapers and economic systems will be replaced
with wonders and philosophies that we can't even imagine.
It seems that I can't do ANYTHING without analyzing it: when I eat, I think about
the mechanisms of chewing and digestion. When I read, I think about the manner
in which visual symbols are interpreted by the brain. It still totally trips
me out that I can look at an arrangement of curves and lines, and have it transmit
a thought to my head! When I am lying in bed, I wonder about the sensation of
tiredness, and how it is that our bodies run on such predictable clocks. I feel
like humans have this massive layer of abstraction between their everyday consciousness
and the way things really work. This is in a sense necessary; sometimes, we just
need to get things done. I feel like I am in a sense flawed in this respect;
it is hard for me to do things without stepping outside myself and noticing that
what I am doing, objectively, is rather absurd and mechanical. Sometimes this
makes me hesitate, makes me less efficient at tasks, and frightens me a bit (because
I am reminded of the sheer magnitude of the machine called Reality).
I know that certain
things feel good, but I have difficulty seeing anything I do as part of some
higher purpose. What I've realized, though, is that there does not need to be
a higher purpose in order for something to be beautiful. If love is a chemical
reaction, that is no less beautiful than love being a "spiritual connection".
The way in which our brains try to ensure our survival is fucking amazing, and
spectacular to experience and analyze.
And yes, I'm a bit of a nut.