Have you ever had an existential crisis moment, realized you were having one, and then had the sudden bizarre compulsion to set your feelings to the tune of whatever song is stuck in your head? (EXISTENTIAL CRISIIIIIS, WHAT ARE MOUNTAAAIINS)
So I was reading up on quantum mechanics today at work, trying to wrap my head around wavicles, eigenstates, and invisible entanglements, and all of a sudden it hit me that I don't know a single goddamn thing about anything at all, and neither does anyone else. We can hypothesize, experiment, assume, attempt to prove, but the possibility always seems to exist that even if we replicate a result a hundred times, we could still be completely wrong. It's unlikely, but possible. Maybe there is a God. Maybe time doesn't exist. Maybe the universe really does rest on the back of a giant tortoise. We assume it doesn't because that would be crazy, but we could be wrong!
Let me repeat that because this is important: we could be wrong. About everything.
On the bus home I stared at the sticker on the wall (MOVE TO THE REAR OF THE BUS) and comprehended for the first time that what I was seeing was actually just an unimaginable number of photons assaulting my eyes and being rapidly interpreted by the freaky translator in my brain which then turns to my consciousness (WHAT THE FUCK IS CONSCIOUSNESS, INCIDENTALLY) and says 'that is red, that is smooth, that is an ass which is located approximately six inches from your face. That is solid, everything between you and that is not.' But really, the difference in density between air and bus isn't all that huge when you get up close to it-- both are still mostly empty.
We are floating in a misty soup of half-organized particles composed mainly of Space and Nothing. For a second I actually comprehended that, not as a vague intellectual concept, but as my actual reality. My mind was duly blown.
Then I closed my eyes and the same thing happened in regards to my ears-- my brain is interpreting the frequency and intensity of waves hitting my eardrum and telling me 'this is the Beatles, those are squealing brakes, that is an annoying voice,' but it could just as easily not do that. It could just turn itself off and I would have no idea that sound was still supposedly happening around me. The fact that I can hear, that most everyone else can hear, is nothing short of miraculous.
And then the same with touch, and taste, and smell, and at last it hit home: I have no idea what kind of universe I actually live in. I'm peering around at it with my ridiculously limited senses, unable to see or hear or feel even half of what's bombarding my body every moment of the day, thinking myself so observant.
That's hilarious all on its own. What makes it even more hilarious is that every single other person on the planet thinks the same way.
Hahahaha. Humans. Yeesh.
By the time I got home I felt something like an empty plastic bag, billowing around in the wind, held down only by the tiny jagged pebble that is my own awareness of self. If anybody had asked me then what I believed about anything I wouldn't have been able to answer, be it about religion, politics, psychology, food, anything. The cliche 'blank slate' comes to mind.
"Do you like corn on the cob?"
"Um... possibly? WHAT IS TASTE? HOW DOES IT WORK?"
I still feel like that somewhat, but a long evening in a room full of people reading excerpts from Russian spy mysteries about homosexual Austrian double agents while drinking red wine and eating grapes mitigated the effect somewhat.
At the end of the day, I feel like I've been forcibly stripped and left to stand shivering in the cold while the Universe decides how it wants to dress me up for the ball. Daring New Age minidress? Retro Druidic revival robes? Atheistic nipple stars? I still know who I am, but I haven't the faintest idea what I believe in. What's more, I feel ridiculous whenever I try to decide on anything, as if the Universe is smacking my hand away and telling me to sit down, you know you have no fashion sense, do you want everyone to laugh at you when you come out in leopard print and pink vertical stripes?
So I think I'll just sit in the corner like a good girl and pay attention for a while. Maybe I'll learn something from watching the Universe go about its business.
It seems to know what it's doing, even if it looks like it's off its blessed rocker at first glance.
Time to go dream (WHAT ARE DREAMS, HOW DO THEY WORK, WHAT THE HELL), hopefully about things others than homosexual Austrian double agents or atheistic nipple stars.
Good night to you all. I'll see you tomorrow if time still exists.