Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Universal Thoughts

It has always amazed me that, considering what pale, insubstantial wraiths we are, we can still feel as intensely as we do. We are all of us, less than the faintest wisps of ephemerality; 99.99999999% of our bodies are, quite literally nothing -- nothing at all, not even air. consider the simplest of all atoms: hydrogen. the nucleus is a lone proton, orbited by a solitary electron. If that nucleus were the size of your thumbnail, the electron would orbit it a quarter mile away, making that single hydrogen atom roughly the size of a baseball stadium, and the vast majority of it -- nothing.

And yet, we feel.

We are revenants, but at least we occupy a world of comforting solidity, right? Wrong. When the Big Bang blew, it created matter and antimatter in very close to equal amounts, and thus both atoms and anti-atoms immediately and enthusiastically launched into wholesale mutual slaughter. When the dust settled, one atom out of every two billion was left whole. In other words, for every billion atoms of antimatter, the primordial explosion had created a billion and one atoms of matter. So right from the start all the cosmic matter was dramatically thinned. Now, nearly fifteen billion years later, the universe is still an anemic shadow of a far more robust initial state. Furthermore, even those pale scraps of plasma and interstellar gas make up only a tiny part of the "real" universe.

And yet, we care.

Ghosts we indeed are, living in a universe just as ghostly, a world that makes the pink, fluffy clouds of Heaven itself look like a WWII concrete pillbox. The matter we interact with (baryonic matter, it's called), comprises less than 5% of reality. The overwhelming majority consists of two other matter/energy states, called, with stunning originality, dark matter and dark energy. We can't touch, see, hear or smell the reality of the material universe, because the stuff doesn't interact with electromagnetism. it only shows up indirectly, through gravitational waves.

And yet, we love.

On top of all this, we are truly creatures of a day; our time spent in this world is no longer than a breath, a blink, a barely noticeable instant when held against the turnings of the cosmos. It seems impossible to have and hold anything, so quickly do we go from wombs of flesh to wombs of dust.

And yet we feel.
And yet we care.
And yet we love.

No comments: