Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Inertia of the Cosmos

Let's start with the basics:

You are a witness.

You see things...or you don't. No matter. The things that happen will happen whether you see them or not. Although you may cause some things to happen, mostly you are an observer, a ticket-holder to the theater of the known and beyond Universe.

In side effect, you may buy some popcorn, take a quick trip to the loo for a whizz. But you are in large measure a spectator. Nice as it would be to think so at times, the known and unknown Universes do not revolve about you, your tides, or whims.

Things happen or they don't.  You may even understand why some things happen or, as the matter happens, do not.  No matter. Things will happen or not happen on levels of subtext and sophistication well beyond your ken. You are, as noted, a witness, not a catalyst.

No matter how familiar you are with, say, Ohm's Law; when you plug an appliance into an electric outlet, more often than not the appliance will become operational. An appliance doesn't "work," you take it to a person who repairs such things or you replace the appliance. In the long run, the appliance is a given device that enhances your status as a witness.

Control involves a number of things in which you have limited interest or none at all. You find enough responsibility called for in being a witness, taking time here and there to record your observations of what you've seen.

Other witnesses may well view the same phenomena as you, record their own observations, then, as a consequence, find themselves appointed to endowed chairs at some university, where they may instruct others to observe and record. Their observations may achieve note in The New York Times Book Review as a best seller.

As a result of such observations of others, you may find yourself engaged in a process known as envy. Surprisingly, this observation produces a process only the Germans could manage to fit into one word, schadenfreude.  Pleasure at the discomfort of others. These individuals now have responsibilities, real and imagined, to burden themselves and their future activities.

These responsibilities are among the things you shed or never had in the first place, sometimes, truth to tell, unwillingly, but nevertheless shed.You did so in order to become as independent an observer as possible.

You go forth with no appointments to endowed chairs, your published works appearing like a sudden downpour over the New Mexico desert, eagerly soaked up by thirsty sand. You do so in full awareness that any schadenfreude you experience may well be the schadenfreude at your own expense. Couple of years at an endowed chair might not be all that bad. Couple of royalty checks in five or six figures might not take you away from your appointed task.

Whod'a thought you, at your stage of the game, would find himself in what is called in some circles a learning curve? Not you. Thus your basic awareness that The Cosmos has a sense of humor, the procession of events or their refusal to become events now informing much of what you see about you, as you continue to observe and attempt to learn something from the things you see happening and from the things you see that do not happen.

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