“In its quest to discover how the patterns of reality are organized, the story of modern science hints at a picture of a set of Chinese puzzle boxes, each one more intricately structured and wondrous than the last.
Every time the final box appears to have been reached, a key has been found which has opened up another, revealing a new universe even more breathtakingly improbable in its conception.
We are now forced to suspect that, for human reason, there is no last box, that in some deeply mysterious, virtually unfathomable, self-reflective way, every time we open a still smaller box, we are actually being brought closer to the box with which we started, the box which contains our own conscious experience of the world.
This is why no theory of knowledge, no epistemology, can ever escape being consumed by its own self-generated paradoxes.
And this is why we must consider the universe to be irredeemably mystical.” ~ Bob Hamilton
“My son used to believe that he could look at a plane in flight and make it explode in midair by simply thinking it. He believed, at thirteen, that the border between himself and the world was thin and porous enough to allow him to affect the course of events.
An aircraft in flight was a provocation too strong to ignore. He’d watch a plane gaining altitude after taking off from Sky Harbor and he’d sense an element of catastrophe tacit in the very fact of a flying object filled with people.
He was sensitive to the most incidental stimulus and he thought he could feel the object itself yearning to burst. All he had to do was wish the fiery image into his mind and the plane would ignite and shatter.
His sister used to tell him, Go ahead, blow it up, let me see you take that plane out of the sky with all two hundred people aboard, and it scared him to hear someone talk this way and it scared her too because she wasn’t completely convinced he could not do it.
It’s the special skill of an adolescent to imagine the end of the world as an adjunct to his own discontent. But Jeff got older and lost interest and conviction. He lost the paradoxical gift for being separate and alone and yet intimately connected, mind-wired to distant things.”
~ Don DeLillo
Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you.
We each so atomatically numberous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms – up to a billion for each of us, it has been suggested – probably once belonged to Shakespeare.
A billion more each came from Buddha and Genghis Khan and Beethoven, and any other historical figure you care to name.
~ Bill Bryson
Artwork by Jimmy C. (link)