Familiarity Breeds Comptempt

Hubble GalaxyI am blind to the miracles that surround me. Every day, this magnificent star 93 million miles away reveals itself in an explosion of color and warmth. Every day this happens and rarely do I bother to look. Every second an organ beats in my chest. Tireless. Breath fills my lungs and passes molecules into a fluid that traverses miles of tiny tubes picking up and dropping off chemicals. This activity is all directed from somewhere deep in my brain out of my reach. Surrounding this primitive control center is a dense web of cells carrying electrical and chemical signals one to the next. These waves of forces and particles somehow interact to create everything I know; my sense of self, my understanding of the environment around me and what little perception I have of the universe. These interactions are the intangible things that make me human. Emotions. My sixth sense. Things that only exist in my brain yet influence every part of my being. The love I feel for my family, the anxiety I feel facing the unknown, the hatred infiltrating my inner peace seeing injustice; all figments of my imagination existing only as an ebb and flow of tiny forces across tiny cells in a tiny brian on a tiny planet in an infinite universe. In this tiny space I can consider the vastness of space, the concept of time, the meaning of life. I can wonder to myself is the universe really an infinitely large thing outside or an infinitely small thing inside me. These observations stand not only for me, they are repeated at least once for each of my 6 billion fellow beings. The magic extends beyond the 6 billion observers to the trillions of other life forms. How impossible is it for an oak tree to crawl out of an acorn?

It is distressing to realize that as these miracles persist every second of my conscious life; I take them all for granted. The sun rises and sets, my heart beats, my thoughts race, my emotions swing and I build a life indifferent to the incomprehensible idea of 6 billion copies of me. Not photocopies, more like 6 billion impressionist paintings of a single still life. Each day the sun sets bringing the curtain down on another performance. Sleep suspends my conscious awareness – a literal break in existence since I define such as conscious awareness. In the morning, the earth lights again and the field is reset. Nothing but habit compels me to repeat anything or continue anything from the day before. I am forced to understand I act based on hundreds and thousands of repeated thoughts and actions. I don’t see each day as a new beginning. I don’t great each night with conscious effort to close the books and balance the accounts. I don’t stop to appreciate everything and everyone I have in my life with the distressing understanding that one night will permanently close the books and balance the accounts. I turn on the TV to hear what one politician said to the other and in the morning turn it back on to what the other said back to the former. Priorities.

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