As a teenager living in northern Delaware, I yearned for blue skies. Their presence outside my bedroom window was a delight, signifying possibility for all good things. Their absence didn’t guarantee disaster, but I had little hope for a good day when I saw no blue through the blinds. I recognize that this reliance on […]
[I]n reading about Skylab, I am more fascinated by the experience of the human beings who lived there for weeks. The design principles that focused on habitability; the demands on their time by Mission Control; eating and showering more than 200 miles above the Earth. When I get overwhelmed packing for a vacation, I remind myself, “I can buy whatever I need when I’m there.” That is literally impossible in Earth’s orbit.
I guess it is important to recognize what those in power wrestle with, and how their opinions shape their actions. But I am more concerned with the repercussions of those actions, and the state of Louisiana is emblematic of the duality of this country.
Santa Claus and polar bears leading troops, clad in red and white, from Atlanta toward their enemies in Purchase, NY. Soldiers of sweetness wearing blue marching under the banners of The Pepsi Generation. “We shall fight them in the fountains, we shall fight them on the endcaps, we shall fight them at the backyard summer cookouts.” No blood spilt – just gallons of high fructose corn syrup turning battlefields and waterways sticky and brown.
After his exposure, Hofmann was “affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant intoxicated[-]like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away.”
To quote Kurt Vonnegut: “When I was a boy…all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.”
It’s hard to reckon with the complexity of life and death; with balancing suffering and celebration; with the idea that the world does not revolve around you, your precious moments or your favorite song. Wouldn’t it be nice to clear all that away with some nice words and a captivating leader?
Most of us have to spend roughly a third of our life doing things that don’t bring us joy in order to make the money necessary for survival and a little bit of joy. Knowing that there is a way to avoid all of that work while still getting that money…I guess that’s why gambling is a thing.
[F]or the purposes of today’s episode, I want us to focus on one thing: that a tiny crystal became the center of a major act of civil disobedience, aimed at creating a transformational shift in society at a global scale.
[T]hese are the juxtapositions at the root of our experience as human beings. The heart is powerful yet not invincible. Each heart that exists will fail one day. And while you may be able to temporarily replace it, that replacement will not last forever either. And when you lose it, everything’s over.