Gesundheit!

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Every time you sneeze, somebody dies.

In the unified field that is the phenomenal Universe, every action is significant and bears directly upon every other action initiated at that moment in time and ever after. Does this mean that those suffering from hay fever are effectively serial killers? Of course not. All I really did in putting forth that idea was manipulate our conveniently imperfect language to make an absurd proposition sound theoretically plausible. But the reason the statement was absurd is probably not what you think. In a very real sense, somebody does die every time you sneeze. Likewise when you fart, masturbate or scratch your elbow. But even if intentionally avoiding such behaviors were possible, their very lack of performance would result in the end of someone else’s life. It would also necessarily bring about someone else’s conception or birth, a compensating factor that would surely bode well for a criminal defendant, not to mention the lack of malice aforethought in the execution of the sneeze (or stifling of said sneeze). Finally, the infinite number of “compensating factors” contributing to anyone’s death or birth negate the appropriateness of blame or praise being leveled upon any single organism. My sneeze resulted in the death of some fisherman in Pago Pago only because you yawned at the same moment that I sneezed and because everyone and everything else in the Universe did whatever it did in unison with my sneeze and your yawn. The unfathomable multitude of specifics at any given moment creates a fateful perfect storm for somebody, somewhere.

I imagine that astronauts orbiting the planet experience a god-like feeling as they gaze down upon the earth whose only movement from that perspective is that of the shifting strata of the upper atmosphere. From that far out, the frantic non-stop hive movements of the organisms upon the planet could not be discerned even if they were unobscured by clouds. So for as long as an astronaut inhabits a vessel in orbit, the only activities of life he can discern are his own. God-like. Our normal lack of such panoramic perspective is the reason we had to invent God in the first place. Our extremely limited and specialized sense organs are the only obvious windows of perception at our disposal. We navigate our lives with the aid of extremely narrow spotlights that illuminate only one very small feature of our environment at a time. The more we try to widen our perspective, the less clear become its constituent elements. Therefore, compared to those of us currently tethered to the surface of the earth by gravity, our intrepid space traveler truly does have a god-like view of our spherical habitat.

But that, again, is just a matter of perspective. In a Universe that is suspected to have existed for almost 14 billion years and that expands its parameters ever further with each passing moment, the only entity that could possibly be afforded a complete singular view of a field on such a massive scale would have to be something that exists outside of it and this is where the notion of god comes in. Yet the whole notion of god as some kind of creative spirit that resides on a plane beyond phenomena and from which our lives were conjured is as patently absurd as believing that you should send a sympathy card to every household in the world every time you sneeze. If a singular force is indeed responsible for the creation and sustenance of all that is, it would also logically need to be all that is. So this thing we so quaintly anthropomorphize in scripture is us. Reading the bible or any other monotheistic religious text is similar to re-reading one’s own diary.  And like most diaries, it is fundamentally dishonest and self-absorbed in its tone. It assumes a split, a separation between us and our creator and this makes each of us feel separate and unique…and anxiety-ridden. Replacing our egotistic sense of self with the more accurate feeling that each person is just a movement within the whole threatens our erroneous sense of what we are. It reminds us of our utter insignificance as imagined “individuals”. But at the same time, if this really were how we understood ourselves and our place in the larger field, there would no longer be the residual fear of self-preservation. The Self as imagined correctly doesn’t need preservation — it just is unless and until it isn’t.

I’ve spoken of a human being or any other life form as a unified field as opposed to a self-contained system, taking into account all of the “external” environmental factors necessary for life as well as our symbiotic impact upon those factors. From a strictly biological perspective, this is accurate. However, any description of a specific “part” of the whole is like describing a field within a larger field and thus inaccurate. The “field” that is me is illusory for the simple reason that one can never draw a definitive border around my sphere of influence. The entire Universe is its own singular field of influence and I as an infinitesimal energy knot am inseparable and indistinguishable from the vast fluid Singularity. I chose that word, incidentally, because it dawns on me that when astrophysicists use it to describe the extremely pressurized theoretical point that allegedly exploded into the rapidly expanding Universe, they inadvertently trap themselves in a linguistic double-bind. A “thing”, in this case the mysterious pre-creation singularity of Universal potential, cannot be discerned without space around it and other “things” inhabiting that space creating the possibility for distinction and discrimination. And if something cannot be discerned even theoretically, that is tantamount to saying that it didn’t or doesn’t exist. Perhaps the real source of confusion is the same old culprit — language. The words “beginning” and “end” are inapplicable to reality yet they cause us to assume that every event and every process must have the quality of these arbitrary bookends even though every “end” is a “beginning” and vice-versa. Our minds are incapable of intellectually grasping anything that does not have a finite span, so in the absence of suitable answers to life’s mysteries, we imagine an impossible being that lives unencumbered by the physical laws which bind us. Really, that’s just our way of throwing in the towel in our collective and ongoing search for truth. It’s our reaction upon reaching a seeming exhaustion of natural explanations to assume such things can only be explained by the existence of something super-natural, as big a load of semantic horseshit as has ever been proposed. Supernatural is a meaningless fucking term. Or as Love and Rockets once put it, “You cannot go against nature because when you do go against nature, it’s part of nature, too.”

For as long as we continue to feel like temporary skin-enclosed biochemical systems wrapped around an etheric immortal soul, we can never hope to achieve anything more than our familiar neurosis-breeding false view of reality. At the same time, it is precisely this stunted perspective that allows us to discern small patterns within slightly larger patterns in day to day life. For instance, a spectator in the bleachers of a football game would have a much harder time keeping track of the interplay between 22 participants evenly divided in their goals without the aid of panoramic images being transmitted from the dirigible floating above the stadium. However, from that vantage point, the colors of the uniforms being worn by the two teams wouldn’t be nearly as visible so if the action on the field isn’t occurring in an obvious directional trajectory, the pilot of the blimp couldn’t tell you who was winning or even which team was playing offense or defense. So a collaboration of perspectives takes place — the overhead footage from the zeppelin, the in-the-action perspective of the referees, the slightly elevated viewpoint of the fans — all combine to provide us with the most complete picture of the play possible, but this can only be pulled together after the fact. What you witnessed at the moment the last play was executed is entirely dependent upon where you were located and as such was woefully incomplete and inaccurately understood. This analogy was meant to be infinitely expandable so that you understand there is absolutely nothing that can be understood without the correct understanding of our utter inability to understand anything at all. A Universe that conjures itself from moment to moment does not stop to contemplate its own meaning or purpose, and that is why it can paradoxically be said to understand itself completely. It understands, quite simply, that there is nothing that needs to be understood.

I am far from enlightened and therefore, I entertain just as many silly notions having no basis in truth as anyone. It’s what we call wishful thinking. And I’m going to engage in a bit of that right now just to illustrate its impracticality. One, two, three…AH-CHOOO!!

Nope.  I just waited 10 minutes and apparently, Donald T***p is still spreading his noxious fumes across the Asian continent as we speak, so my deliberate sneeze was predictably impotent. I wonder if that unnecessary experiment was worth the life of a poor fisherman in Pago Pago.

22 thoughts on “Gesundheit!

  1. ” I just waited 10 minutes and apparently, Donald T***p is still spreading his noxious fumes across the Asian continent as we speak, so my deliberate sneeze was predictably impotent.”

    Wow…seeing as he is such a wanker, I had a wank in the hopes two people could cum and go at the same time. So much for that. Onin would be SO proud.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic post! Science tries so hard to avoid the word “infinity” that it twists itself in a knot. If they say the universe is constantly expanding a 9 year old will ask the obvious “what is it expanding into”? Or if you say it “began” so many billions of years ago the same 9 year old will say “well what was there before it began”. It seems to me that a universe that just means”all things”, that has no begining and no end, just like everything else “in” the universe just makes so much more sense. It is just infinite.

    Only you could start a conversation with something so profound as the nature of the universe and end it with something so small and meaningless as politics!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That’s a great observation about science’s aversion to the concept of infinity. I’m sure I’ll be looking for just that avoidance between the lines the next time I delve into a scientific tome.

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      1. Maybe when all the old masters were talking about a reality beyond words this is part of what they meant. Infinity is something that the human mind cannot conceive of. It is beyond all of our direct experience.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good morning! Stimulating thoughts this early will assuredly mean I will run out of my allotted amount early this evening.
    I am tempted to yang to your ying with simplicity…. why must we explain it at all. Perhaps we were simply made to just be?
    But that wouldn’t be near as fun as this post. I am happy I have now brought balance to the universe. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I took the time to read your posts and I have two things to add. The first is my opinion of my own ideas, the second is a link to an article that basically states that scientists at CERN are catching up with your transcendent knowledge: agreeing that we know nothing (Like Schultz in Hogan’s Hero’s) and that we should not be here, or exist, at all. So here you go:
    I exist outside the universe and know and see all. From my point of view, even light is motionless! And 2:
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/the-universe-should-not-actually-exist-scientists-say/ar-AAu227S?ocid=sf

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fascinating! But these astrophysicists also suffer from the limitations of language. The use of the word “should” implies a planned order. So this is a sterling example of the fact that even our Western atheists are hopelessly saddled by monotheistic philosophy. The existence of a “should” prior to the genesis of the Universe implicitly posits what we call god. This is why Lao-Tzu took such pains to negate the sense of words like “should” all those centuries ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly. (Or, more precisely….damn you’re deep! ) What’s more, if you read the article, I interpret as meaning: “The existence of the Universe simply does not Jive from what we know physics today.” So, even mathematically speaking…out existence doesn’t add up!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. On Sunday morning, while perusing the Discover page, I was enthralled by one of my favorite pictures of all time; namely, a picture of the pre-Crisis Superman sneezing a dead solar system from the cosmos. Immediately afterwards, I noticed one of my greatest “Discover”-ies of all time, the Desert Curmudgeon, was responsible for sharing this particular piece of historical art. I knew I was in for a treat.

    I also knew I had to hit the shower in 5 minutes or I’d be late to catch my ride, the ride that would take me to the tavern, the tavern that would take me to a full day’s state of intoxication, a state of intoxication that would take from me the full appreciation of high concepts for a while.

    I scanned the top of the page. 6-minute read. I’ll race through!

    No. Any post that started with “In the unified field that is the phenomenal Universe” was going to require digestion. I opted to return and digest later.

    Later, not surprisingly, I was drunk.

    So, later became tomorrow, where exhaustion — along with Oscar and Felix — also sidetracked my enjoyment of the sneezing Superman and what would undoubtedly an exploratory journey, within and without, worthy of the full 6-minute ride.

    It is Tuesday morning. And I was right.

    In the interim between discovery and ingestion, many have died. None of them were the president or his attorney general, who is currently lying his way through yet another judicial inquiry. Alas. On the positive side, however, the curmudgeon and I also persist, so no butterfly’s wings or nostril expulsion has won this day, entirely.

    The journey through your expository was engaging, as always. The punchline sublime. The deeper meaning, as I see it, was not lost: that our words are entirely insufficient to understand existence or our roles in it. Bravo.

    Still, what we are left with is our language, so in the meaningless infinitude of our expression we sometimes are allowed to experience masterful wordplay like “so that you understand there is absolutely nothing that can be understood without the correct understanding of our utter inability to understand anything at all.” In that, a touch of meaning is applied to our meaninglessness together. You said it, wonderfully. I understood it, magically. That’s worthwhile prose.

    Superheroes. Football. Philosophy. Politics. Genius.

    These are a few of my favorite things. You, Paul, masterfully combined them all.

    It was well worth the wait.

    Six minutes well spent. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once again, I like your comment better than my post about which you were commenting. I am, of course, glad that you enjoy my writing so much, but more than that, I love when you find within it meaning better and deeper than that which I intended. But this still doesn’t absolve you of a promise you’ve yet to fulfill, Tom, and I think you know what it is. Drunk post?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha! In all honesty, I attempted to fulfill that quest on Sunday but in my fog I continued to wander away from the computer for every squirrel (and honey-do item) in the house. All I can say is, drunk Tom cannot be trusted to complete quests!

        But, a promise is a promise, and I will continue to attempt to engage in my assignment each time that I am in a stupor.

        But if that opportunity begins to come around too often, I will be in need of a sponsor. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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