The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…


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As Americans, we live in one of the richest counties in the world, and still have a hard time dealing with passion. I am not talking about the romantic notion of it, but about the need to explore and understand our inner and outer universes. It seems to me like passion is only acceptable as long as it comes with delusion. We abhor things that are real, like science, and we seek to fill our days with imaginary things while pretending that they are real (like fundamentalist religion). Why can’t we be passionate about reality? What’s so wrong with being passionate about stories even when we know they are fake?

My love of science and mythology have set me slightly apart from the mainstream. I enjoy learning. Books, computers, experiments, and stories are what give my life substance. I can spend hours submerged in the way vinegar and oil do not mix. It is fascinating to think that this lipid distrust of vinegar could have been one of the inert forces that catalyzed life as we know it. Oil forms little membranes as it runs though its lighter counterpart. Heck! Even if I’m wrong and this interaction has nothing to do with life itself, I think it makes for an awesome study of fluid motion. Yes, I got beat up a lot in junior high school.

I’m starting to read The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science, by Natalie Angier. I link to a review by Steven Pinker, so I will not bother reviewing the book, since I haven’t even finished it. However, I will tell you that the introduction really spoke to me. The term “Geek” has become a term of endearment in my lingo. There is no shame associated with it any more. I pick my friends based on their nearness to it, and I feel a sad contempt towards those who still use it as a put down. I feel that they are missing out.

Humanity has the power to create powerful myths and stories around its reality. They open the doors to our inner life, and though they may have no more substance than the shape they take when information is spoken from one brain to the other, they interact with our neurons and regulate the endogenous flow of happiness within us. Science holds story’s hand, and helps us to understand the world outside. Yet, a lot of people are blind to this dance, since it is so easy to trivialize it. If you’ve seen the movie Trekkies, you know what I am talking about. I think most Star Trek fans are aware of the bad plot and silly science that accompanies the show, but are also inspired by its message. To the mainstream, however, the word “loser” comes to mind as we learn about their intricate lives. I think that the main difference between a fundamentalist and a Trekkie is that the second one knows where the fiction begins.

Stories are meant to inspire us, and to guide us, but I do not mean to imply that they are serious. I know that the D&D games I used to play when I was younger were silly and idiotic. Looking back at some of the oldest comic books in my stash, I can’t help it but laugh at the seriousness I experienced when I read them. I have moved on to bigger and better things, but I still read comics, and I still fantasize about being a barbarian hero. I still am a geek. I will always be one.

There is a lot of beauty in the world. I don’t want to let myself so bogged down with survival that I will forget about it. I am going to die some day anyway.

There are people out there for whom an inner life is outside of possibility. Figuring out how to get water and food is more important. The great tragedy of poverty is that it steals people’s chance to truly live life. If we have the opportunity to do more than survive we should take it. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, and living in reality may be what we need to do in order to help the less fortunate.


Written by Hector

June 23, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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