face. "What's the matter?" I asked him, and he said "I just realized that we're all on this tiny, spinning ball in space, and none of us know what's going to happen next!" I laughed at the time, but have remembered that moment randomly over the years. He was correct.
Everything is just highly improbable, and therefore sometimes hard for me to believe. This one little blue and green planet with its oxygen and its water. Being the perfect distance from the Sun. The fact that even
though the tiny Moon and the giant Sun are extreme in their differences of size and distance from this planet during an eclipse they appear to be the exact same size. These are only a few of the things that baffle me, and make me feel like anything at all might happen next. Don't even get me started on the Golden Ratio (1:1.618) or I will spin off into a place I find it hard to return from.
I have the intellectual power to grasp the workings of any system if I apply myself to learning it, but there are so many things to understand that my life-span simply won't allow for it.
Yesterday LM said that there are around five hundred miles of books in the Library of Congress if you put them all in a single row. I am a die-hard bibliophile, but that would torture me. I can enter any library with the intention of choosing a book, and feel obligated to look at each and every one before making my choice. Five hundred miles of books. If I don't pick up and consider each and every book I may miss the book I should read, and I only have a limited amount of time left on this tiny, spinning and improbable planet left to me.
If I choose the wrong book, and the one right next to it was much better suited for me and my need for knowledge I may have wasted that time reading the wrong book. Therefore I must give all of them careful consideration. I am not able to choose a book in a library. I find it ironic that if there were a christian hell designed specifically to torture me for eternity it might look much like the Library of Congress. On the other hand, if I had eternity to read all the books it wouldn't matter which sequence I read them in, so that is what the christian heaven might look like as well.
Bookstores do not torment me in the same way, because there is purchasing involved. I like to buy stuff. I am an American, and well-versed in the art of acquiring things I don't really need, all the time. Since I've stopped reading paper books and only read in the immediate-gratification-world-of-E it has become even easier. I can have a free chapter of any book I want to consider, and if it hooks me I can own it without leaving my chair, in an instant, with only the tap of a link. I currently have twenty or so books waiting for me, and they fill me with the same sense of security that stockpiling cans of food and dried-goods did when I went Y2-crazy back in 1999. Don't infer that I am not always on the lookout for yet another book to add to the list. If I ever reach a state of true booklessness the world will stop spinning. I'm not sure if this is really true, but it's too big a risk to take, I'm not willing to go there.
Amazon's list of "Books you may like" is created by the same type of person who deals drugs on a corner. "Hey, if you liked that, you should try this!" The person who compiles that list knows an addict when they see one coming. There are authors I have read in their entirety, and when I have a chance to pre-order their next book I start to sweat a little, and salivate; sleep comes a little harder each night as the release date draws near.
The only thing that is missing from the world of reading in E format is the smell. I had the opportunity to enter a law library the other day, and its heady perfume was entirely intoxicating. Not only were the books old, and leather-bound, but the words were important and therefore have a stronger scent. I almost had to sit down for a moment I was so overwhelmed.
Add the whole idea of quantum physics to this, and everything is entirely out of control. As Michael said, "Anything from Monopoly could happen." This fills me with a deep sense of unease, and a dire need to read as many books as possible. This will in no way ameliorate any of the possibilities or consequences, but I plan to be as well informed as is feasible when something finally happens.