Archive for August 16th, 2009

Music ... for the soul. Photo: Kim Pockpas

Music ... for the soul. Photo: Kim Pockpas

It has longed seemed to me that as humans we are over-engineered and severely limited by our biology.

I suppose that could be why Yoda’s line … in addition to many issuing from sources less mainstream and more respected … resonates:

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

Crude matter, for sure, even when we fix ourselves up, often to the detriment of luminosity.

What could be the reason for minds that allow us to imagine everything, but bodies that begin falling apart as soon as we’re born, spend a lifetime secreting disgusting fluids, can’t see in the dark, breathe under water or fly?

Only one answer makes sense to me, and that is that this life is merely a pit stop, a quick duck-in for some sort of tuning up or tuning in or tuning out … whatever ends up being made of our time.

I know many who are convinced that this is it, that in becoming human we have hit the wall, that we’re born, we live, we die, and that’s the whole story, and I have no problem with that, except that it makes no sense … it’s just bloody wasteful.

We can easily track the reasons for many evolutionary developments … whales lost their legs because they hampered swimming, mandrills developed colorful butts to keep track of each other in dense forest … and much of human change, from bipedalism allowing for quicker spotting of predators, leading to shapely asses in the process, to color vision letting us find ripe fruits, fits the program. At some point, however, it just got silly.

Science may argue that our capacity to dream up Shakespearian plays, grand music, art and philosophy is some sort of side dish, a naturally occurring consequence arising in tandem with the ability to hunt and gather, but I’d have to ask: What would be the point?

Did we need to be able to put man on the moon to put food on the table … Did we need a table? … and reproduce? Other animals that have been around much longer than we have, tortoises, for example, haven’t been compelled as a species to invent French horns to enrich their environment .

Our evolutionary biology has worked against us as we’ve been honed. We’ve lost the capacity to smell sexual readiness, fear and illness as we’ve relied more and more upon vision, even while knowing well that we can’t trust our eyes much of the time, the hand being quicker than and all that.

And as great as our minds can be, our bodies limit us; our brains can only process so much of the information in our world. We know, for instance, that time is not linear. This has been proven, but can we wrap our heads around that? Even those who can quote formulas live one day at a time.

Stephen Hawking, for one, who said: “It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.”

How much in our world do we miss, ignore, refuse to incorporate into our version of reality? We know that we are constantly surrounded by energy; light and heat are two we notice, but it’s likely that there is much more. We may even sense the occasional touch of something, but not being able to classify we chalk it up to whatever …

There was a case of a “new tribal people” discovered in South America some years back. Poor slobs were inundated by scientists wanting to study this unique and untouched society. At one point one of the researchers, noting the weekly overflight of an airplane, asked the people what this object in the sky was called in their culture. He was looked at with amusement … poor guy was obviously batty … because the plane simply did not exist in their world. They didn’t even see it.

It is possible that we exist in simultaneous multiple universes, even though we can conceive of them wonderfully without really “getting it”, so are very likely missing a lot.

Or are we? Perhaps we know more than we think we do. After all, we create art and music for our souls … the part of us we know and touch without proof. We are more than our biology, and death is a door, nothing more.

Okay. Tangent over …

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