My friend once said “Du är för dig själv vad du tänker, du är för andra vad du gör.”
“You are to yourself what your thoughts are, you are to others what your actions are.”
I like my friend.
‘Blind people don’t see black, they see the same as what you see out of your elbow.’
An atom is around 99.9999% empty space, making everything in the universe mostly nothing.
On grasping large numbers:
One thousand seconds is 16 minutes.
One million seconds is 11 days.
One billion seconds is 32 years.
One trillion seconds is 32,000 years.
The difference between billion and trillion is equivalent to the difference between your lifetime and the entirety of human history.
There was a drunk guy passed out near my flat tonight. It is cold and wet and late, he was slumped over. He wasn’t dead. I managed to rouse him but he wouldn’t budge, would not move just five meters into the doorway with a roof. When he started saying I’m all right I’m all right over and over again I backed off, I said Ok I can’t make you… but really the roof is right here…
The rain was coming thicker. I was already cold. He wasn’t going to move. I didn’t want to find him there in the morning, sick or robbed or dead, so I called the local police. I said it was non-urgent, but, y’know… In 20 minutes they called back and I guided them to find him.
As I retreated indoors they were saying to him It’s the police… Come on, people are worried about you, which I thought was quite sweet. There’s just been a case of two young female police lured to a trap and murdered in the UK, and these two officers fit the same profile, and here they are, still on the streets, walking toward all manner of potential trouble for the greater good. At times, I find the organisation and compassion of society awe-inspiring.
I am one of those people who experiences awe on a more frequent basisthan do most people. Or, it seems so to me. I am not religious. In fact, I count myself as a radical atheist. One who has little intellectual respect for those who don’t understand that when the “founding fathers” described freedom of religion, they also would have agreed with the statement “freedom from religion.” But that’s a drum I won’t bang here. You probably get my position.
So, as to awe… yes, it can be anywhere one looks. An insect working in its colony. A risky grab at a suicidal jumper. An organ donation from a living person to a total stranger. A victim of physical, emotional and sexual abuse who manages to make something transcendent of her life. I could make an argument that awe is endless and everywhere, if one chooses to really see it.
For me, what never fails to inspire, is in reading about or seeing images of the universe at work. The recent discovery of thousands of planets, confirming what we imagined but had no proof of, a mere twenty years ago. Massive forces, gases, cosmic dust, light, waves, gravity… all strings of some inaudible symphony being played in what may not even be a physical place so much as in our own minds’ perceptions of what simply appears. Real or not, it exists somewhere; and it’s beauty is endless and immeasurable.
I often want to grab someone and talk…”hey, look at that! What is a double star system, or an event horizon? Help me understand! Don’t you feel overwhelmed, as I do?” But even my loved ones, family, will look at me like, “okay, relax. I see you’re excited, but who knows about all that? and how can I even spend time thinking about it while I try to carve out a difficult and challenging survival?”
It seems that all earthly phenomena and our experience of it is both puny and fully comprehensive. We just can’t work out how it fits together.
I’ve always had a fantasy that, in death, I [whatever I is] would experience that moment of “OH!! SO THAT’S WHAT IT ALL IS, WAS, WILL BE!!!!! But in reality, I fear that I will go quietly, with no right to assume that, even if there is an answer, or an understanding, that it will be revealed. And so… all the more reason to seek awe right here, right now, as much as possible… so it’s not missed.
I do a lot of canoeing in the Candian Quetico in Ontario, and there are few things in like that make me feel as loved, alive and at peace than those beautiful sunrises. When my friends and I would watch the sun rise at 4:00am I have never felt so close to them or to nature and God. To be with ones you love watching something beautiful happen… for me, there can be nothing better.
This siteis my home page, so each time I turn on my computer, I get a photo of the universe. Nebulae, moon rises, aurorae, falling stars, eclipses (lunar and solar), sky maps — you name it, they’ve got it. Three have actually made me cry: take a look at Flying Over the Earth at Night, A Flight Through the Universe, and Lightning Captured at 7,207 Images per Second.
The world and the universe are gorgeous!
Music-wise: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor
It doesn’t happen every spring, but there’s usually a moment when I’m
outside, and the trees are that bright new green, and the birds are
fluttering about excitedly, and there’s a breeze, and everything is
bursting forth with life, and the universe is in tune… I get an
expansive feeling in my chest as if love is about to fly from my chest
like a baby alien.
that’s awe, to me.