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Beyond our comprehension

August 13, 2009

It is literally impossible for our senses to perceive the entirety universe. Our perceptions and minds developed in what Dawkins refers to as “middle world” (not to be confused with Middle Earth). Our range of perception is actually quite small. Unaided, we can neither observe nor fully conceive of the very large, or the very small.

We know, for example, that “solid” matter is in fact mostly empty space on the atomic level, the space between the nuclei of the atoms. Experimentation has revealed and corroborated this, and yet it is impossible to really understand, at the scale which we inhabit.

Consider something as simple and everyday as liquid water. At our scale, we have no trouble breaking the surface tension — at my new house we have just had our pool filled and cleaned and I am looking forward to going for many a swim. But an insect, such as a fly or a bee, lacks the mass necessary to break the surface tension. Walking on the surface of a body of water, to a fly, would be much like walking on a mattress to us. Such is the scalability of perceptions. 

And on the large scale? 

Well. 100 billion is a number we cannot actually comprehend. 

From → Uncategorized

  1. ratna permalink

    this is beautiful.

  2. Weird, I was just thinking about this very topic tonight on my way home from work: the inconceivably small and unimaginably large that we can’t begin imagine. Truly remarkable 🙂

  3. Ray permalink

    Here is looking towards our trying to figure out what we don’t know. Hopefully there will always be questions, else life get boring. =)

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