Ruptured Rhapsody

A different kind of "blog," consisting of selections from my scribblings over many years. The date of each post is the date I originally wrote that piece. So, the top post is usually not the latest post, because I continually add writings from different years to the blog. If you have visited here before, you are likely to find new posts anywhere on the page. I'll continue to add "new" posts as my time allows.

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Location: Toronto, Canada

31 December 1982

Accidental design

How marvelously well-adapted we are to this planet! The balance of temperature and humidity is, on average, such that one would think it had been designed specifically for us. How much we are a part of this planet, and not just beings that happened to find themselves here, and could get up and leave if they wished! The balance is disturbed as soon as we try, for example, to heat our environment -- sickening dryness results. Indeed, the origin of our need for artificial heating may be the fact that we invented clothes, and gradually lost our natural covering. The original function of clothes may have been to indicate one's physical power, since the possession of a bearskin, for instance, showed others that the man wearing it deserved respect, or at least fear, since he was capable of doing away with a bear, let alone a man. In this respect, we would have come full circle, since the almost purely utilitarian value of clothes after we lost our own fur, has again been supplemented, and in many cases supplanted, by the use of clothes as luxury items and status symbols indicative of one's taste or wealth. In this connection, it may be relevant to consider the problems astronauts have had in trying to adjust to life in outer space, and the recent conclusions that we may not be built for spacefare. The new, human-oriented view of science may also be relevant, where science is considered as a product of the human mind; the latter is relevant because it may free us from the illusion that the universe has been custom-made for us; in other words, that everything makes so much sense not because the universe was designed for us, but rather because (1) we look at the world from the perspective of a particular kind of rational creature , and (2) are an integral part of this planet. If we went to another planet, the laws of science would still hold, since we would still be the same kind of beings that we are, but we would forever be aliens in that environment, no matter how much we tried to adjust it to suit us.

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