by Theodore R Frimet
Ok. Let’s combine a few items, spill some Java onto it, toss it onto the wall, and see what sticks:
- Rip Van Winkle
- Circadian Rhythm
- Space Time Dilation
- Iron as an abundant chemical element in the Universe
- When stars go Nova
When we were young, time would not hold still. Tired, and groggy eyed, we would awake each morning. If you would call it that. More like dragging our souls thru the muck and mire of the morning cuckold. Cruel passion that is evolution. Matron earth bears naked before us, only to tease us into sleep. She desires not our daily action, and prefers the hominid to perish before the light of day.
Yet, here we are. Humans aged to ripe perfection. Blessed are the few minutes more sleep, where we conjure up wishful thinking. We construe that hours, and not fleeting moments, continue to nestle us during sound slumber.
Why the dichotomy? It is our circadian rhythm. Unknown to the teenager, raging against the high school home-room nod, beckons the molecular machinery that establishes our wake/sleep cycles. Clearly, by the time we grow beyond our pupal stage, our ephemeris as a moth in flight, no longer do we flail about, victim to the chains of the stubborn and persistent snooze alert.
Did Rip Van Winkle sleep naught? Of course he did! Beyond the tome of the day, night after night, week after week, year after year. Among us was the one. Ol Rip managed to string out before himself, the years of molecular management. Time, it would seem, was the only element that passed him by.
I have a secret. Rip almost had it right. He left it to chance. We shall not encourage any fancy, here. We shall use Alchemy!
Now, now. It isn’t heresy. Even Newton was an alchemist. And truth be told, alchemy persists in the light of stars.
It is thru the fusion of Helium and Hydrogen that we are blessed with an abundance of elements throughout the Universe. Transitions not made in multiples of a Mass of 4 (He), or by virtue of fusing Hydrogen, are made quick by fusing super-bricks of Oxygen to yield Sulfur. This amongst other tricks the Universe has taught herself, yields plenty that has entrenched itself into the Periodic Table of Elements.
Be not remiss in understanding that the nuclear chemistry of what should be plentiful, is not. Beryllium, should be in abundance.Yet as it is coalesced into Carbon it is diminished in quantity. Ah, carbon! That four bonded parlance that is almost equaled by Silicon.
Oh, into the night we see the shore, and sand is upon its breast. Yet carbon, carbon I find not – as it is compelled throughout the ages to be ever present in the topsoil of our mutual existence. Yet the rock that strikes from beyond the Earth is Iron made. And iron, as every Amateur Astronomer knows, is an element that once it strikes the core of a star, sets the stage for the celestial death.
It is a Sunday morning, and we trudge thru a few botany slides. Root tip of plant. Apical bud. Complex stems, followed by monocotyledon, and dicotyledon. A fever of thought effuses throughout as we slide home into penicillium.
Leeuwenhoek, if only you had the power of 40x plan to ponder in stereoscopic wonder! How much more you would have accomplished for all of us, during the Dutch Golden Age of Science and technology? Perhaps your best work with microbes, and observations of micro-anatomical flow thru capillaries did lay the foundation as our Father of Microscopy.
Yet, here we all hunker down. More than 225 years have passed us by. If only you had the chance observations of the affect of a complex fungus on simple bacillus, this nascent passage of time would gift modern science with the ability to scale up anti-viral production in fewer than 711 Sols.
Tyson reminds us that the ever expanding Universe, will of course, ever expand. And with that passage of time, the light that we see will eventually blink out of existence. Black holes, too, are not exempt from the passage of time, as they too lose their stability and go silently into that good night.
Yet even with Tyson’s description of the end all of existence, you can’t help and remember that the light that we see is only a fraction of what is gifted to the human eye over the course of darwinian natural selection. I have written, on a few occasions, to remind the reader that insects see into the Ultra Violet. This is more than you or I could hope for in a hundred generations of our specie. Yet that too is only a small footprint of the wide scope of the ever present electromagnetic spectrum and the dynamics of Darwinism.
Then what am I missing? Nothing here, obviously, since despite not being able to hear the tree fall in the forest, it doesn’t preclude the possibility, nay the fact, that the tree exists. It is a humbling experience to come to terms that the UV sight within the brain of a humble fruit fly answers to the age old domain of students of philosophy, everywhere.
A fly, it would seem on the face of it, is smarter than the average hominid.
You see and hear by proxy. Others, no matter how insignificant you declare them to be, shape your very existence within the confines and blanket of a Universe that would leave you cold and dissipating to the very bitter end. Closer to home, without your conscious awareness, your structure within reality weaves in and out of nearby mass and energy.
Looking deeper into the quantum foam of your space-time disruption; it heaves up and out to a chair, a table, a desk. When your macroscopic being walks into an establishment, no sooner than you arrive, you exchange energy and matter with objects within your reference frame. You are more part of the furniture than you would give a passing thought to ever imagine.
Your partnership with the rest of the minor non-dark matter, non-dark energy world that you believe you inhabit instantiates a tremor, deep within your forebrain. You dismiss the notion of the passing tension, ascribing it to nothing more than a brief encounter with acute anxiety. Yet you have not sufficiently evolved to reconnoiter your surroundings. Your neuropathic knee-jerk kicks up a sandstorm described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.
Kübler-Ross provides the very foundation for a sane explanation to those around you. The why and when of the cloak of preferred invisibility is removed and it disturbs the nature of your beast.
You, as a customer. enter a place of servitude. You possessed a well thought out plan that you were shielded from reality. It disassembles as you now rage against a storm of the unreal.
Your gilded psychology presses into service: Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Depression, and eventually Acceptance. These are the meager tools that you can deploy. It gets you through your commercial needs. Or so your evolved sense of self tells you.
Where are we on the time-line? Let’s rough it out, shall we? 10,000 years since you stepped out of a grotto in the South of France. 6 million years ago your species was divergent. 65 million years ago, your reptile brain survived the K/T extinction. We could go on, and on, into mass extinctions, without even leaving our solar system. The sentient experience, a highly prized neurology, is nothing more than a quirk of evolution. A passing high energy photon struck a minor genomic sequence, leaving your molecular machinery failing to repair the damage. A mutation was left to transcribe to the next generation. Your brain expanded so much, that only those that could form convolutions and survive the onslaught of psychosis could pervade the landscape of terra firma.
I am here to tell, that you will be left high and dry, when the lights go out. Evolution simply has not imbued you with sufficient coping mechanisms. Only the brave need read on: if you saw reality as it actually exists, you would toss your cookies before lunchtime.
“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” -quips Ford, from Betelgeuse, to a main character in Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Ford, get out of there before the Red Giant goes Nova! Denial. Too late for bargaining. And very much past acceptance. You see, we only get to see things, from within our horizon. Those celestial events already occurred and have marked their place in space-time, long, long ago. Even the Universe, it would seem, has been programmed to only acknowledge events, way past their tipping points. She isn’t as evolved as existence would have preferred it to be? No, I say.
Experiential conditions in the here and now, well beyond the Astronomers horizon shares its reality and dispels the mistaken notion that everything must obey the limits imposed by the speed of light. It remains entirely possible that within the twinkle of a star, although very far, can share its very structure with you, and you with it. Instantaneously. So breathe, Earthling, and know that not only are you made of the stuff of stars, your very being trips the light fantastic.