Bowerbird #10: Full Perseid Meteor Moon

Like it or not, we live in a random reality. We still have no idea how life began, or whether life exists only here on our lonely planet or pervades the cosmos. Our old beliefs might be wrong, but their influence lingers on, an intellectual anchor holding us back. Four hundred years after Galileo turned his telescope on the heavens, it’s incredibly frustrating that we still have debates over whether the world can be described in purely naturalistic terms, rather than accepting that insight as an amazing accomplishment and moving on to the hard work of articulating its consequences.

Like everything in nature, when you get near the boundary between two entities, the lines get blurry. It is the best description we have of the world at this moment in time. Every old word was a new word once, and at some point “silly word prank” may yet turn into “etymology.” If you ask people to name colors long enough, they go totally crazy.

There are still new objects forming in the solar system today. So how were they born? Many of these ideas take their inspiration from nature. Self-similar structures just seem to be nature’s way of making small things. Although these are supposed to be universal, there are almost always exceptions. Show the fabulous invention, and then have it not work.

The reason for this is very simple: we do not know what the universe is. There’s too much to see: It’s a network of colorful complexity. Perhaps its an image, a new combination of words. It is, in that sense, an unexpected tribute to human folly, and one that works best as a meditation on our own misplaced self-confidence.

Providing an inclusive mythos for the modern age will be a significant challenge of the next century. There but for the grace of random chance go us. For all that we have learned, there’s a tremendous amount yet to be figured out. As it turns out, our hands aren’t as well known to us as we might imagine. We need to grow thicker critical skin.

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