Inside of a Living Orb

Published August 3, 2013 by Sandee


Today I interpreted life scientifically — as scientifically as one who never studied science could interpret it.   I’m an organism in some larger chain of events inside of a living orb.  Being with my friends last night helped to inspire this perception, though I do see life that way periodically.   It’s interesting thinking about why people might breed, how some people have chemistry that’s more compatible to life, how some people don’t have this chemistry — how they might be weaker links in the larger chain — why symmetrical people get all the damn benefits.

My friends are a couple that I met about six years ago.  The husband’s a physicist.  He likes explaining basic physics to me.  We have the same politics — not everyone else’s.  I like talking to them because they understand where I’m coming from.   We went to dinner and to a music festival.  Between violin sets at the festival the husband told me more physics stuff.  Ask me what he said and I’ll tell you a big blank I don’t remember — he did say something about atoms however.

I told him I should study physics in old age to keep the neurons fired up.  He has a Ph.D. in it.  I don’t think I’ll be doing that.  I have always liked the idea of using physics metaphorically in my creative writing.  I might hire my buddy as a consultant when I write my next novel.

Coincidentally or not, the Humans of New York Facebook page featured a young woman who said that she wanted to go back to school to study physics, while she had originally received a degree in art.  She says physics is like art.  Wow…  I’m onto something.



24 comments on “Inside of a Living Orb

    • Yeah I really think I also oughta leave the physics to my cranky old friend the physicist, lest attempting to study it has the opposite result of firing neurons and rather toasts them — hahaha!

  • I like math and I like statistics, but physics flies over my head. Way, way over my head. When you become a world-famous physicist, you’ll have to explain it to the rest of us in a way we can understand. Sandee-Style Physics…

  • OK, some physics here… Physics is really nothing more than a search for ultimate simplicity, but so far all we have is a kind of elegant messiness.

    To begin with, for you to be here now trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and intriguingly obliging manner to create you. It’s an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once. For the next many years (we hope) these tiny particles will uncomplainingly engage in all the billions of deft, cooperative efforts necessary to keep you intact and let you experience the supremely agreeable but generally underappreciated state known as existence.

    Why atoms take this trouble is a bit of a puzzle. Being you is not a gratifying experience at the atomic level. For all their devoted attention, your atoms don’t actually care about you -indeed, don’t even know that you are there. They don’t even know that they are there. They are mindless particles, after all, and not even themselves alive. (It is a slightly arresting notion that if you were to pick yourself apart with tweezers, one atom at a time, you would produce a mound of fine atomic dust, none of which had ever been alive but all of which had once been you.) Yet somehow for the period of your existence they will answer to a single overarching impulse: to keep you you.

    The bad news is that atoms are fickle and their time of devotion is fleeting -fleeting indeed. Even a long human life adds up to only about 650,000 hours. And when that modest milestone flashes past, or at some other point thereabouts, for reasons unknown your atoms will shut you down, silently disassemble, and go off to be other things. And that’s it for you.

    • Looks like somebody knows a lil something about physics — yay! Loved reading this — so, as you say,”That’s it for [me]?” — then what will become of the universe when I don’t exist? — boo hoo!

      • From my view, in the short term, you will always exist. As dispersed atoms. And as said above they don’t even know that they are there.
        Re the universe current theories of particle physics state that the big bang should have created equal amounts of particles and antiparticles, which have identical masses and spins but with opposite charges and magnetic properties.
        When these “mirrored” forms of matter interact, they cancel each other out in a process called annihilation, leaving behind only pure energy.
        This would mean that if we had exactly the same amounts of matter and antimatter, then matter would not exist and we would not exist, because everything would annihilate.
        The sheer fact that we’re here must mean that matter behaves slightly different than antimatter, so that over time the universe has accumulated more ordinary matter than antimatter…

  • My best friend’s husband is a rocket scientist at Cal Tech and I always like to get together with them and listen to him struggle to explain these vast physics concepts to me. He does a pretty good job, I might add. He’s kind of my personal Carl Sagan.

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