Sunday, November 25, 2012

Was It Worth It?

I'm reading Alan Watts' book The Supreme Identity again. It's one of his older works, and one of the best books I've read on metaphysics, because it is a very reasoned argument he makes, building up on some pretty solid premises. It's a pretty hard read, therefore, for both that reason, and the fact that he takes a lot of time explaining things, to try to make clear a subject that is inherently hard to talk about. I will also note that he wrote this while still an Anglican priest, and he admits in the intro that, because he was still "in the system" as it were, trying to match Vedanta and Christian theology, it is, perhaps, "somewhat torturous." Still I find it illuminating. Not a good intro to his writing, though. 

I'm on the part where he's discussing the Problem of Evil. I won't get into the arguments here, I haven't the time and it'd be better if you just read it (the whole book, that is), for I'm sure to ruin the argument in trying to simplify it here. But briefly, he argues for a God that, rather than being absolutely good, is the source of both good and evil (in the finite, relative realm), while Himself transcending both. Towards the end of the chapter he says something like how, from our limited perspective, evil seems absolutely terrible, yet, from the standpoint of the infinite, it is an integral part of the finite duality, and even the most atrocious acts are worth it, for the overall beauty of the whole Creation. He likens it to standing with your face pressed to a painting; stepping back, you suddenly see that those ugly shadows are what give shape, form, balance, and identity to the light and color.

Now, I talk a good deal on here about civilization and it's pitfalls. I've long sympathized with the Daniel Quinn/Ishmael position that civilization has been the cause of many of the negatives we see in the world today: war, poverty, starvation, disease, environmental degradation. These may exist at a basic level in all humanity, true, but civilization grows them to a scale unimaginable at that level.

So, has it been worth it? Much as we hate war and genocide, crushing poverty and tyrannical rulers, plagues and pollution and things like high art, advanced medicine, the internet and global communications, justify it? I have a hard time here. Human history has been a bumpy road, full of inhumanity and horrors that we in the West can hardly imagine, given our plush lifestyles. No living American has had a war happen in their own backyard, we really have no idea. Though there are systemic problems, the vast majority of us don't know true poverty, true starvation. These things are everywhere in poorer places, a vast suffering of masses of people. They would still be living at peace if it weren't for civilization, close to the Earth, in communities where no one is left behind. If it weren't for agricultural surplus, expanding populations, and urbanization, there could never be slums and shantytowns.

But I must admit it hurts my very heart to imagine a world without Ode To Joy. Whenever it plays, I feel like I want to burst with happiness, and tears often come to my eyes. Or Starry Night, by Van Gogh; my favorite painting. A perfect case in point, actually; the man, like civilization, was tortured and half-insane, yet look what came of it! Or, appropriate to today's topic, Edvard Munch's The Scream; a creepy painting, yet it stirs the soul. What about all the poetry, the great novels and plays, the elegance of higher mathematics? What about telescopes revealing the heavens, microscopes showing us worlds within? What about the rush of foreign money and help when a disaster strikes a place like Haiti? Before such a thing would be impossible, if ever we learned about the disaster in the first place.

One can narrow it down to religion, as they did in one of the Intelligence Squared debates. We all know of the bigotry, the crusades and jihads, the suicide bombers on buses, the gay-bashing and abortion clinic bombings, the strife in South Asia, the Troubles in Ireland. They are terrible. But religion has also brought us the stained glass at St Denis Cathedral, in fact all of the great cathedrals, mosques, temples, and shrines. Most of the art down the long centuries has been religiously inspired, if not overt iconography. And what about the joy and giving at Christmas, the pillar of Islam that requires charity, the ideals of love and brotherhood, compassion and kindness? It hasn't been all bad, you know?

Tribal equality is a wonderful thing, and clearly mankind evolved to fit that lifestyle. We certainly have problems squaring a tribal mind to a globalized world. Yet, we have grown, stumbling, into something more. Tribes are isolated, closed within themselves, extremely conservative and narrow. Today, we have ideals of universal brotherly love, individual freedom and innovation. Such things would never occur to a hunter-gatherer, because it is born out of the long march of history, which has slowly built upon our awareness.

Is this all we've become?
I'm also reading Lord of the Rings (I usually have several books going at once), and think of the elves in this case. Immortal, they watched as evil first came down into the world, and watched as many great and lovely things died or faded. At one point, Merry, a hobbit, states that he has never until this quest been outside his country, and, had he known the perils that awaited, he should not have had the courage to do so. Haldir, an elf, says in his reply, "The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."

It grows perhaps the greater. The play of duality in the world is inevitable, and is what gives us joy and love, even if it also requires we know sorrow and hate. And of course, civilization is, and all this discussion is rendered moot by that fact. We are here, and there's no going back. Even if we had the deepest, darkest collapse from modern society, we would have the memory of civilization, would still almost surely continue agriculture, metallurgy, the use of animal labor, and other such advanced things. I doubt we could ever slide all the way back to the sort of natural tribal state that the Cro Magnon lived within.

I'm not sure we should want to, either. I've never been too sure about "spiritual evolution" but in some sense, we have in fact matured as a species. Many things have been discovered within ourselves that likely would not have been under the simple tribal conditions. We needed a more complex substrate, that of civilization, to bring it out of us. Emergent properties. We often do a lousy job exhibiting these higher things, of course. But they are there, waiting for each one of us.

To those of you who have read this far, I beg you to reply. This is one post I'd be very interested to have a discussion on, to hear your opinions and thoughts on the topic: Has it been worth the pain, to walk this road of civilization? Would we have been better off remaining stone age adepts, wise in a simple way, in tune with Nature? Or is it a good thing, in spite of all the hurt and horror, to have come this way, and to have found the more refined aspects of heart and mind?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It Is What It Is

It is what it is. 

Man am I sick of this phrase. I used to joke that this was the most common five words on a construction site. Probably true. But I'm starting to think it less funny. It's actually rather depressing. What is this fatalism that seems to be sweeping the nation? Everyone is saying this, or things like it. I hear it in class, on the radio, from friends, and from strangers overheard in diners and coffeeshops. Everyone seems to be throwing up their hands at the world and saying, "there's nothing I can do." 

I heard a story on NPR the other day, about teaching strategies, East and West. Here in the West, kids are taught that smart kids are the ones that do well in school. In the East, kids are taught that it's the hardworking kids that succeed. An experiment was done, some years ago, where children from Japan and from American were given a math problem far above their ability. The Americans gave up after, on average, thirty seconds, saying "we haven't had this yet." The Japanese children worked on it for over an hour. 

We deride the East, saying they are robots that learn only by rote. Somewhat true, their creativity is less pronounced. But it seems that Americans are helpless without being told exactly how to do things. We don't work for things, we give up. They said it was because failure in the West is taken as a personality flaw, not merely a lack of effort or even luck. So when confronted with an insurmountable problem, we turn away. What has happened to us?

I said to my uncle that back after WWII, there was a surge in energy, a sort of collective testosterone rush after having won the war. We were invincible, unstoppable. Just as in any contest, the victors go home, full of optimism and pride, have lots of sex (baby boom) and build lots of things (suburbia, highways, etc). The post-war boom. Things got stagnant more or less in the 70s, and now we're on a downswing it seems. Oh, there's been GDP growth, but that means little, especially to the common man, who's wages have stayed stagnant for decades. 

I think the fatalism is a defensive strategy for this decline. Things are failing, and people are stepping back from it in a sense, as a way of insulating themselves from it. That's the way things go, they seem to say, and as it falls, they try to remain separate. When things slip downwards, there is no collective energy for doing things. It is a period of waiting, to see which way things are going. But to wait too long is to fail entirely. And anyways, insulating yourself from the failure of the world is to cause the failure of the world: if no one does anything to sustain, to build, to keep alive, then, it will not be sustained, built or kept alive! It's a positive feedback loop, also known as a vicious cycle. 

Not that it's all bad, this accepting of reality; in a way it is a good thing. In remodeling homes, a specific case, you see that there's nothing you can do about the shoddy work that went before, or the fact that the wall studs are warped. The baseboard is going to have gaps between it and the wall. You grab your caulk gun and go to work. But too often I see, even in myself, an unwillingness to go the extra mile, to put in the effort and time and care to make things right. Money rules the day, and working quickly in some ways trumps doing things precisely. The evil profit motive ruining things once again. Again with the baseboard: if the corner joints aren't perfect, even when the walls were, it's okay, caulk will hide it. You say things like, "good enough for paint-grade," "can't see it from my house," and "spackle caulk and paint make a carpenter what he ain't." 

True enough. In the end, we make it look good. And often, as I said, you just have to fudge things to make them work. A good carpenter is one who can hide his mistakes, they say. One must work with what is there, must be able to see clearly what is. 

Of course, for myself, very often I rage internally against the standards some people hold. They want their walls smooth and their woodwork perfect, even in an old house, every joint hidden, every nailhole covered, and so forth. The smallest defect, they freak out over. (They also want it done for next to nothing, and as fast as possible). I may not have the patience for finish carpentry. These Euclidian ideals do not square with the world, they do not follow the curves, so to speak, of the earth. Thus the old man wastes much energy picking every leaf off of is lawn, though more fall every day, and becomes bitter and obsessed. 

So in a sense, the fatalism is a positive response. We are awakening to the reality around us, seeing it clearly, and in a sense realizing that certain things cannot be altered, and do not need to be. We are tuning in a bit better to what's there to be tuned into, ditching these Platonic ideals for a more empirical reality. This shall be the birth of the new world, as the old crumbles. 

But that it is a fatalism, and not mere clarity, is what makes me think it is an example of a greater problem. We are getting soft. We have had it too good, been too insulated from real work and real things. We have fewer than ever people entering into the trades as apprentices. In 20 years, who is going to be doing the work that will so desperately needed to be done, as we recreate our society? Mexicans, I suppose; such work has always gone to the latest wave of immigrants, from the Irish, to the Italians, the Polish, and so on. Yet as goes the prosperity, so go the Mexican immigrants, I bet. I'm sure they'd rather be poor in their own land with their families nearby, than poor in a foreign place.

Even our wars, we are loathe to fight. The hoopla over the Benghazi attacks. We are fighting a global War on Terror, however misconceived, people. Do you really think there will be no casualties? Do the Taliban or al Qaeda, after a drone strike, freak out and lob investigations and controversy at their commanders and leaders? No. These are men who know what a war is. They know about suffering, they know about effort. They mourn their dead, and go right back to the fight. 

If we are going to fight wars, which I'm not saying we should, we should do it 100%. I agree with our military leaders in this. Clear goals, and support your commanders. If you can't do both, it's time to pull out. There will be mishaps, there will be pain, there will be death. If you can't handle that, don't fight a war. 

So while I'm all for recognizing reality, we need to ditch this phrase and the attitude behind it. We are not mere slaves to fate. Perhaps the government is corrupt, business self-interested and insane. Fine, but don't submit to it with fatalism. Fight! Build something new! We can't wait for the old to fall before we work to make the new, we must start now, with hope and energy. Otherwise we're going to be stuck with some dystopian future we really aren't going to like. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One Night

I worked my way around the small pond, pushing the willow branches into the soft, damp earth along the margins. The world around me had fallen silent-- muffled, perhaps, by the dew already settling on the grass. The stars shone clear high above, the silky wash of the Milky Way spanning the velvet dark; and as I finished up, my eye was caught by a sudden light to the east. It was the moon, heaving its luminous bulk over the horizon like a revelation. It hung there, unreasonably still, as if this waning gibbous moon longed to remain, to hold on to what light it had left. But incrementally, it lifted over the trees, accepting its nature and the changes of time. 

Soon my backpack full of fresh branches was emptied, and I took to roaming the night, glorying in what I had done, ignoring roads and property lines as I strode across the soaking fields and lawns. Boundaries of all kinds were falling away. All my usual reference points were gone, swallowed by the dark maw of night,  and elation surged in me, my awareness sharpened, expanding laterally. The world dissolved into a mysterious enormity which I drifted through, a singular point of perception made whole, and joining with the rest, as much as my feet were soaking in the chilly wetness, and my lungs the misty air. 

Something had transformed the trees. Trees that, by day, seemed isolated and dwarfed by the spaciousness of these open fields, a place that was, in fact, former forest, long ago bulldozed. Now, under the cover of night, they rose up before me, looming against the moonlight, phantom spirits of the forest this land, in its hidden heart, even yet remains, though long held down by the mowers. 

They seemed to rise, physical manifestations of the very night itself, the growing soul of darkness itself. But not darkness in any evil sense, no-- dark only in the way of things unknown, unfathomed, but very much alive. One pine, as I wandered free over those fields, seemed itself to walk towards me, though of course it was I who, by no design of mine, was steering straight for it. A large, two-trunked pine, feathering dark branches out against the star littered sky, each needle singular in its existence, glistening in the moon. It was a silhouette of pure presence. 

It seemed to hold a quiet wisdom, a strong sense of knowing, and as I drew nearer, even seemed to hold the moon itself between the tongs of its split trunk. A living memory, random remnant from a bulldozed wood, survivor of wild storms and man alike, standing quite alone in a vast sea of undeveloped property. This tree remembered a different owner, and this, I knew then, in a way I cannot quite recapture now, was the tree-lord of this patch of ground, one of the sovereign sentinels who wait, wait... wait for the day the mowers come no more, ready to tend a fresh growth of seedlings, the someday lords of a forest yet to be. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Guerrilla Gardening

So, as I said in the last post, I'm realizing I'd like to work in a nursery or something, to have my hands in the dirt; merely designing landscapes or whatever isn't enough. But in the meantime, this past weekend I struck out into the world of guerrilla gardening. I've started planting trees. Trees are some of my favorite plants, because they often have that freedom thing going. Aside from some of the lower branches, they tend to grow as they will. They are impossible to ignore, towering over you. They are in themselves wildlife habitat. And, they live a long time, so planting them is a lasting effort. I could see myself becoming an arborist, a tree planter of some kind, maybe even a forester, but from a conservation angle. 

So, guerrilla gardening. I've been collecting acorns from the live oaks in the yard, and planted over 130 last weekend while house and dogsitting for my parents, mostly in a wildlife management area and in a bit of neglected, undeveloped land. I have also been planting willow cuttings. Willows are amazing because you can cut any old branch, stick it in some damp ground, and you'll get a tree from it. Their bark has loads of rooting hormone in it, and you can make "willow tea," and with it get cuttings of anything other tree to root and grow themselves.

For starters, let's just say that, though still young, I'm well on my way to being that weird, "eccentric" old gentleman stereotype (as much as you can stereotype eccentricity). I went out one afternoon to a drainage ditch by that neglected bit of land, where a few willows grew (specifically, native Coastal Plain Willows). Cut over 30 branches. I had to walk a half-mile back to the house, and watched as passing motorists slowed down to bend their necks at the weird guy with a huge bundle of leafy branches walking down the road, with more sticking up out of his backpack. I looked ridiculous. 

Later that night I made my stealthy way, dressed in black, out toward the park area in the middle of this partially developed subdivision, where there is a man-made pond. See, one thing I hate about southwest Florida is the lack of trees. It's all so newly developed here. Everything that isn't still pine forest looks bald and naked, literally scalped, and the houses just sit there, starkly dominating the scene. Horrible. So I'm working on remedying that. Also, I hate that a park has so few trees, and that this pond has no shoreline vegetation conducive to wildlife. The whole shoreline is just lawn and weeds growing a bit unruly beyond the reach of mowers. No reeds or cattails, even, which I find strange. May have to remedy that as well... 

But for the moment, I just started setting the willow branches. I put about 20 there at the pond, in select locations; another 8 or so along the ditch draining it, and the remaining 10 or so in another smaller pond that forms part of the ditch system. I figure they have a great shot at growing, given that the soil was all quite damp; and as we're heading into the dry season, if it's damp now, they'll be fine the rest of the year. 

So, this isn't quite "traditional" guerrilla gardening, which is to beautify neglected areas, especially in urban zones, or to plant food crops in the same sorts of places. Well, I think the delicate willow branches growing up there in the sun-baked park will help a lot, shading the waters a bit, sheltering frogs and minnows and birds, waving gently in the wind. That's beautiful in my book. 

I keep true to the guerrilla aspect by not asking permission, and plan to put in more trees when the time is right, probably oaks and pines. May make some seed bombs as well, though since the grass is mowed regularly it might be wasted there. I have wider plans for the trees I'm growing (I have a ton of acorns started in pots here at the house, as well as some found-seedlings). There are many places I'd like to plant acorns, but with the mowers, it is necessary to have an actual tree to put in, with stakes for a warning, or any seedling coming up will be mindlessly destroyed. 

And of course I'm still working on aligning my life in better accord with my new understanding. For now, this is a mere hobby, but eventually I know I've got to make a living this way. I just had to get started right away, in some manner, because who wants to wait, once they've figured out what they're supposed to be doing? 

(A note on seed bombs, for any who are interested: in sunny, drier climates, such as Florida in the dry season, or in the Southwest US, I hear that seed bombs made with clay may bake solid. Because unless it rains a good bit, to soften the clay, it will sit there in the sun, basically firing itself almost into a ceramic, and therefore becomes useless. I read that instead one can use a recipe of seeds, compost, and a bit of egg whites as a binder. These will come apart better when the rains do come.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Not very long ago I had a bit of a personal epiphany. I was over at my uncle's house, trimming his hedges. The sun was shining, but had just rained a few hours before, so the leaves were dripping wet. And as I went down the row of bushes, manually shearing off the excess, I realized that I really love doing this. The sharp yet quiet sound of the shears, the fresh coolness of the rain against my skin, and mainly, working with the plants. There is something about gardening that really appeals to me at a deep, soul level.

Seems like most of the other jobs I've had has been somehow anti-life. Certainly the home remodeling of recent times, which is hugely energy and resource intensive, very wasteful, polluting (with toxic chemicals), etc. Even retail jobs produce a lot of waste, and encouraging consumption doesn't quite appeal to me. Generally our economy is anti-life, speaking broadly, which is why we say it's unsustainable. This of course filters down to the lowest level, where everyone contributes to it.

I don't feel like I'm contributing anything positive to Life, not even really to the human world; I'm helping some investors make their unholy profits, and managing to feed myself on their scraps. If I were merely providing housing for people, fine, that's honorable; but we can all be real about this. No matter how used to them we are, our 2000 sq ft houses are wildly out of proportion to human needs. Unless you have a very large family, who needs such a big house? The way we arrange ourselves, everyone having their own room, typically at least 10'x10', it's pretty gluttonous in terms of space and housing. Certainly it is not the only way things can or should be. Indeed, humans evolved living in tents and huts, or large but communal long houses or lodges.

I visited, on my way to Utah last spring, some of the ancient pueblos in Arizona and Colorado. It is incredible how small those things are. The buildings seem large, but the actual rooms are claustrophobic, hardly enough space to fit a man's body laying down. Yet this is how they lived, for centuries, them and their families cuddling in these small spaces. Why do we all sleep separately (save for couples)? Why do we need so large a space for a bed room, where the chief activities are sleep, sex, and general rest? Many of our basic assumptions on this and other aspects of every day life are so clouded and myopic it sickens me.

It's the same thing with most fields of work these days: everything is tainted by the profit motive, even such basic and honorable things as farming and medicine. I've never been afraid of hard work, but I do hate knowing that my work has, inseparable from it, this threading of dishonor, the sleaziness of greed, corruption, power. Nothing is pure. This is the stuff Marx and Engels talked about. How can I really love what I do if I know that, even if I'm farming and feeding the world, I'm also poisoning the soil and rivers, or keeping livestock in barely livable conditions? I've never been able to find a fit for myself, because everywhere our system is corrupted, and I'm looking for truly honorable work.

With gardening, I am able to encourage and produce life; at least if done right. For example, trimming a bush doesn't hurt it, because it will just come back twice as hard. You can grow food and also build the soil and biodiversity as you do. In this there is still some true honor. And as I stood there in the sunlight and the rain-wet leaves, I realized that I need to be doing something with plants in my life. I'm almost thirty years old and I think I've found my calling, in general at least.

So I've been brooding on this a bit. Brooding is kind of dark sounding; call it musing, pondering. Trying to figure out which way to go with it, while realizing all the more how right this epiphany is. I mean, since I can remember I've loved plants and gardens. My parents say I used to play under the bean poles as a small child, they were like teepees, and even as I grew older I preferred being outside. I loved helping my dad in our massive flower gardens as I matured still more, propogating plants, helping design new plots, turning the soil, adding truckload after truckload of compost. Never felt like work to me. We'd smile and attribute it to our Irish blood, which makes us love to have our hands in good soil.

There was this one corner of the garden, it was my spot. It was a fairly large, lush bed on our side of the fence; meanwhile, the neighbor behind us had a big hedge, like a green and living wall. The neighbor to the side had let that part of his yard grow wild, as it was out of sight out of mind, behind his garage. There was a huge Norway spruce growing there, a good sized white cedar, tons of weeds, and a thicket of some kind of bamboo sort of plant, which spilled over into the yard behind him, also a forgotten place of decaying firewood and weeds. It's pathetic, because I'm talking about a very small area, but it was the wildest part of the yard, and I was drawn to it.

I know also that I've been missing having a garden for years. Every spring I wish I had a plot to put some seeds down in, and every summer and fall I simmer in jealousy at a few of my friends' pictures they post online, of their produce. Seems like every year, I'm not situated somewhere that I can do this for myself. Part of that is, of course, me following my other loves: camping, and, later on, hiking. Wilderness has always called me, but I'm realizing that maybe half of that call was the call of plants. To simply be in places surrounded by the vegetal world. The wild-freedom-call is another thing aside, and not to be ignored here. But plants... they are strange to me, mysterious. Living beings so far removed from my human experience that they rather baffle me. Alive like me, but mostly foreign. Their body form is different. Their senses are different. Their life cycles, different. Gardening is a conversation with this mystery. Even hiking in the forest is a sort of communion with kingdom Plantae, though it goes beyond that into general ecology too.

I think even the way I get all fired up over sustainability and permaculture and all that, is largely fueled by this. There are many good things to be done in those fields, and I'm not saying I'm purely all about the growing of plants. I'm fascinated by many aspects of sustainability, the basic philosophy of it, the science and ecology of it, and specific fields, like urban design, new building materials and methods, and new energy sources and methods.

But those will have to be for other people. I want to have my hands in the dirt, somehow, some way. My part in all this, I think, must be working with plants. I titled this "Gardening" but it could be anything: farming, working in a nursery, or as an arborist, or a conservation forester. I hardly know where this could take me.

Friday, November 2, 2012


I was going to write this big post to follow the ideas of the last one, but I just haven't had any focus lately. I jump around from one thing to another, can hardly sit still or stick to any one thing. So I think I'm just going to post this link to an article I read recently in Astronomy magazine (The official article is pay-only, but I found it posted in full on a forum). It sort of blew my mind. It shouldn't have, because the idea is latent in the concept of a Multiverse, but somehow it never had an impact on me until now:
It means the Big Bang was probably just a local event, a big to-do in the ’hood, confined to only the observable universe.
But she slightly misspoke. It’s not a very small percentage that’s observable. You see, any fraction of infinity is essentially zero. It means we cannot see even a few paintbrush strokes of the celestial masterwork. All we can ever hope to study is 0 percent.
That is just straight up amazing, in the original sense of being lost in a maze. I've been trying all week to work out the implications, but it's like my mind keeps sliding off the issue. That in addition to my general lack of focus. Where does it leave us?

Personally an infinite [and eternal] universe makes much more sense to me than one starting from one place at one time. That is to say, the big bang still makes a lot of sense, but not as the start of literal existence. I can see that it would explain how the current state of things got going, under these specific natural laws and in this specific form; but the whole getting something from nothing is kind of a deal breaker for me.

Also, as far as my metaphysical understanding goes, it jives better with that as well. This concept of knowing 0% doesn't refute what science has found. No. But it does allow for a deeper understanding. If the "Laws of Nature" aren't absolute across the wider multiverse, there's nothing to say they're absolute even here in our universe. Knowledge becomes relative, which is demonstrable regardless of this finding.

The easy, simple analogy is a dictionary. A dictionary contains all words, defines one word with other words, which can themselves be found in that dictionary. It rests upon itself. The Bible does the same, and so do the collected works of science. Internally, it works beautifully (well, not the Bible so much, which contradicts the crap out of itself). But the question is whether it has external consistency. A dictionary is great, but what ties it to reality besides its own circular logic? A dictionary of the Spanish language is also true, for example.

Likewise science, which does tie out to the wider world in most cases. This is why I love science, because it works from observation and facts. But from any given set of facts, any number of ways of connecting the dots (the facts) exists. Science goes for the elegant, simple theory. But a Rube Goldberg universe is possible too, full of horribly complex interactions causing things. And there is also the problem of spontaneous events, not replicable in a laboratory, plus the whole inner mental world which so far is completely beyond the Pale of the scientific method, being a materialist method (as it should be, mind you).

In the end, the good thing about an infinite universe it that, if truly understood, it would free us from the provincialism of ego and prejudice. Everything becomes possible, and nothing is sure. Our boundaries remain, of course, I am still me, the Theory of Gravitation is still the Theory of Gravitation... but now the backdoor is opened, connecting everything and erasing the isolation of a worldview that rests upon itself.

Some would say that is a horrible, insecure way to live. Like blindly flailing about in a void, with nothing to stand on. Me, I believe it is freeing. To know nothing is to stand in awe of everything. Who knows where that might take us?

Looks like I wrote a big ass post anyways. Oh well.