The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Ponderment

Pondering has kept me from attaining that exalted status I so richly deserve but refused to work toward.

Among the many things I ponder a number involve physics. Of course, I have no real knowledge of physics just my own muddled and confused assumptions about it. Still, my lack of actual knowledge and training in any discipline has never kept me from pondering and forming opinions. Nor has the laughter I often hear when relating those opinions ever impeded my willingness to offer them.

My most recent pondering was the result of watching a CSPAN presentation (a BOOKTV episode, I believe) with a man named Howard Bloom... who wrote a book called The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates.

I didn't like the guy's presentation very much, he read from a sheaf of (presumably) typed papers and looked and sounded like a child excitedly reading his story to his classmates. Yet, I continued watching. Possibly because the title of the book piqued my interest and possibly because he seemed so earnest while also appearing condescending. I will grant he was trying to explain things in simple terms to people who, like me, know next to nothing about physics sitting in front of our TV's. His immediate audience was likely more knowledgeable and possibly bored by his simplistic approach and manner.

My pondering had little to do with his explanation of something called "recruitment strategy", which seemed to be an important part (perhaps the foundation) of his thesis. Instead, my pondering was about something I have wondered about since I first learned about atoms and molecules. 

We all learned that atoms are what molecules are formed of and that molecules are what everything is made of. That is, molecules are collections of atoms and that almost everything we sense is made up of molecules. Water, for instance, is a collection of molecules. We can see it and touch it... it's real. But it is a bunch of atoms bound together in molecules (H2O) which, themselves, are bound together in sufficient numbers that we humans can perceive.

I first pondered about atoms and molecules when I was very young. I do not recall when I was first exposed to atoms and molecules but I am sure I could not have been more than 9, I think. Atoms, I learned, were in constant motion... as were its parts. At that time, we (the general public) didn't know about anything smaller than electrons, protons, and neutrons. An atom was described as something I equated to a solar system; with the nucleus representing a sun and the electrons representing planets in orbit around it. A simplistic description, I am sure, but one a child could easily grasp.

It made me wonder, however, why I could not feel that motion when we touched an object. Solid things feel, well... solid. Yet, there is space between the atoms in a molecule as well as space within an atom. And all of them were in motion all of the time which means that space is relatively large.

Perhaps it (everything) is all illusion. That, truly, perception is reality. And if we alter perception, we alter reality. Maybe, if one can perceive the loose attraction of atoms and molecules sufficiently, one could move through "solid" objects as easily as we do through water. And that our perception keeps us from slipping through the molecules beneath our feet and down into the core of the earth.


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