... When we die, we melt like ice monsters, flesh leaking off the bone. Our H₂O disperses, then breaks apart into hydrogen and oxygen. All we ultimately leave is a brief smear of carbon on the fossil record. We lived as rock monsters and we die as rock monsters. We rock on.
Like all rock monsters, I still eat rocks. Salt. Salt and water are the only non-living things we must consume. We need them to run the basic chemical reaction of life inside our bodies. We have to simulate the ocean inside our bodies, the original chemical reaction that made life out of rocks and water. But we'll get to that, the next time I'm born.
As a rock monster my main characteristic was being huge. Like, cosmically huge. My atoms were really far apart. So far apart that my various body parts were stretched across spacetime. They were millions of years apart. Every element of every element in me is part of a causal link between then and now. Between here and there. It's all just one chain of causality, of cause and effect. With the effect that I'm sitting on a couch in this birth, listening to music, eating other lifeforms, with salt. I'm farting into the sofa cushions rather than being a cloud of gas light years apart. But the same stuff we both here and there. It's just a timing difference.
I don't remember floating in the space clouds any more than I remember this birth. But I was definitely there. Each hydrogen and oxygen, each bit of gold around my neck, all the iron in my blood. It was all there, just much further apart. You could say 'I' am more than the atoms in my body. And I'd agree. That's just one of the things I am. I am reborn in every reimagination. Every look in the mirror is a surprise. Is it not the same for you? Get up and have a look now. I guarantee you don't know. You don't exist until that moment, and in that moment you are gone. We are all still exploding and bumping into each other. Just years instead of light years apart.
I was once out there with you, my cousins, our toes just out of the vagina of our mother, our fingertips to the stars. Just blasted across time and space, like bumper cars. Your body is a temple, quarried from the stars. The stars are mysterious, and if you look inside any atom, you can see the mystery there. As famous cat owner Schrödinger said:
No special meaning is to be attached to the electron path itself ...and still less to the position of an electron in its path....The wave not only fills the whole path domain all at once, but also extends far beyond in all directions. ...This contradiction is so strongly felt that it has even been doubted whether what goes on in an atom can be described within the scheme of space and time.
Scientists honestly keep discovering God but just don't believe their eyes. God is in the absurd, the constradiction, the impossible, the unknowable. The place we come from. I love science, but I think of it like the immature Monkey King. In the Chinese Monkey King stories I grew up with, the Monkey King thought he was the Great Sage Equal To Heaven. He smashed the place up and the Buddha had to be called in to settle things. The Buddha gave Sun Wukong a challenge and held out his palm.
The Buddhist Patriarch said, "Let me make a wager with you. If you have the ability to somersault clear of this right palm of mine, I shall consider you the winner.
When the Great Sage heard this, he said to himself, snickering, "What a fool this Tathagata is! A single somersault of mine can carry old Monkey a hundred and eight thousand miles, yet his palm is not even one foot across.
He said simply, "I'm off!" and he was gone-all but invisible like a streak of light in the clouds. Training the eye of wisdom on him, the Buddhist Patriarch saw that the Monkey King was hurtling along relentlessly like a whirligig.
As the Great Sage advanced, he suddenly saw five flesh-pink pillars supporting a mass of green air. "This must be the end of the road," he said.
He plucked a hair and blew a mouthful of magic breath onto it, crying, "Change!" It changed into a writing brush with extra thick hair soaked in heavy ink. On the middle pillar he then wrote in large letters the following line: "The Great Sage, Equal to Heaven, has made a tour of this place." When he had finished writing, he retrieved his hair, and with a total lack of respect he left a bubbling pool of monkey urine at the base of the first pillar. He reversed his cloud-somersault and went back to where he had started. Standing on Tathagata's palm, he said, "I left, and now I'm back. Tell the Jade Emperor to give me the Celestial Palace."
"You pisshead ape!" scolded Tathagata. "Since when did you ever leave the palm of my hand?" The Great Sage said, "You are just ignorant! I went to the edge of Heaven, and I found five flesh-pink pillars supporting a mass of green air. I left a memento there. Do you dare go with me to have a look at the place?" "No need to go there," said Tathagata. "Just lower your head and take a look." When the Great Sage stared down with his fiery eyes and diamond pupils, he found written on the middle finger of the Buddhist Patriarch's right hand the sentence, "The Great Sage, Equal to Heaven, has made a tour of this place." A pungent whiff of monkey urine came from the fork between the thumb and the first finger.
All of our science is flitting about the universe and pissing on God's palm. "Hurtling along relentlessly like a whirligig" as Wu Cheng'en wrote down, thinking we've reached the end of the road, just finding a trillion roads more. We can see into the beginning of time, but then what? We can see into the atom, but then what? Every answer creates more questions. It's the nature of questions and answers. The deepest truth of the universe is a shrug. The next deepest is a bow. It's no wonder why people pray.
Myth and math are fundamentally just different programming languages. What the symbols mean is not important. What's important is what they do. Indian numerals and math initially flowed out of priests trying to get the ceremonies exactly right. Geometry was literally plonked in the desert by Egyptians vibing with the afterlife and the stars.
Galileo said, "Philosophy is written in that huge book which forever lies open to our eyes (the universe, that is), but cannot be understood unless we first study the language and become familiar with the characters in which it has been written. The language of that book is mathematics, and the characters are triangles, circles, and the other geometrical figures."
This is true, but the universe is not monolingual. The universe is literally everything and you can find it everywhere. Math is just one path to the face of God, but all roads lead home to Mama. I tell this to my kids sometimes when they ask for directions. The truth is you could head any direction and it would take you right back to Mama, the Earth is round. This is both extremely unhelpful and completely true.
Wherever you go you end up right back where you are. The Earth (effectively) and the universe (mathematically) are closed systems. As the Eagles said, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Whenever we cross one road, we get a billion others. All the way up and all the way down. Western philosophers treat these absurdities and contradictions as bugs, as problems to be solved. But they are in fact the answers. The universe is just fucking weird. Einstein said "I want to know the thoughts of God; everything else is just details," but how can you know the thoughts of anybody?
As the Chinese philosopher I like the most and understand the least said:
“Zhuangzi said, “The minnows swim about so freely, following the openings wherever they take them. Such is the happiness of fish.”
Huizi said, “You are not a fish, so whence do you know the happiness of fish?”
Zhuangzi said, “You are not I, so whence do you know I don’t know the happiness of fish?”
“Huizi said, “I am not you, to be sure, so I don’t know what it is to be you. But by the same token, since you are certainly not a fish, my point about your inability to know the happiness of fish stands intact.”
Zhuangzi said, “Let’s go back to the starting point. You said, ‘Whence
do you know the happiness of fish?’ Since your question was premised on your knowing that I know it, I must have known it from here, up above the Hao River.”
Does this make no sense? Good. Zhuangzi's contemporaries said "now that I have heard Zhuangzi’s words, I am bewildered and lost in their strangeness." That's kinda the point. Bewilderment is an honest experience of the universe as it is. Wild. Zhaungzi was a great guy. When he was offered the post of Prime Minister he told some weird story about a turtle and said "Get out of here! I too will drag my backside through the mud!"
That's what I'd like to talk about next. When I stopped bouncing around in math world and got down and dirty in the chemistry and the wet. The birth of life on Earth. For convenience sake let's call it my second birth after popping out my cosmic Amma into the elements. Most venerable space Amma, I worship you from the Sanskrit verb veti, somehow the root of both the word venerable and venereal. The sacred and the profane. In truth, they're the same thing. One creatures shit is another creatures manna. We all got here through our parents fucking, as much as we don't like to think about it. I'd like to talk about my primordial parents next. I take communion with them every day still. Water and salt.