Just Wondering…If my understanding of physics is correct, which is a dubious assumption for sure, matter has no matter. That is to say, materials that have mass, which comprise the category we call matter, are made of bits of energy that have no matter. They weigh nothing. And yet they make up everything. And everything weighs something. But the component parts weigh nothing. Little (and neither you nor I can possibly imagine just how little) squiggles of energy buzz around and congregate into. . . a rock. Now we all know that you can pick up a rock and throw it at a window, which it will shatter. But how, I wonder, do odd and ends—which odds and ends I believe physicists call strings–of massless energy combine to create that mass-ive stone I just threw through a window? How does no-mass create mass? Of course, I may have it all wrong. . .
I may also not understand this phenomenon either, but I am puzzled how universally accepted is the notion that it is healthy, desirable, and altogether a good thing to love oneself. Almost every self-help book I’ve ever seen takes it as a given that the more you love yourself, the better off you’ll be. It is also commonly taken as a proven fact that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.
It just makes me wonder, because I know many people who love themselves who. . . really shouldn’t. I mean, they’re selfish, narcissistic, pushy egomaniacs who add nothing to the world but greed, blind ambition, and self-aggrandizement. And they love themselves? What is that love but massive, unattractive, often comical self-deception? And, I also know plenty of people who deeply love others who can’t find their way clear to loving themselves. The actual fact is that lots of people can love others but not love themselves. I dunno, it may just be me, but I think it’s healthier to harbor some lingering doubts about your self than to go whole-hog on how absolutely divine you think you are.
On the flip-side you have the person who truly ought to love him or herself, but just can’t. I know so many people like this: really awesome individuals who have the hardest time giving themselves much of a break at all. They’re great people–giving, skilled, contributing to the world—but they only see what they’re lacking, and rarely give themselves a pat on the back for all their wonderful deeds and qualities. You can offer them compliments and reassurances until you’re blue in the face—as I have done—and they will give a polite “thank you” in reply, but not metabolize what you’ve said at all. They could read self-help books all day, or go to a Tony Robbins talk every night, but still be left with that gnawing feeling of inadequacy. However, one fact is sure: this group makes for a far better friend than the first group!
We often talk about the problem of evil, but what about the gift of goodness? Is it just because evil is more interesting than goodness that we give goodness short shrift? Or is it because goodness is in short supply? I don’t know about you, but most of the people I know are really good people. So goodness is not in such short supply. There are evil people, because I read about them, but I don’t know any personally. And the fact is, that if you get to know a supposedly evil person, before you know it you’ll probably be finding something you like about him or her. I just wonder why we don’t notice goodness more.
Which again makes me wonder about physics: what are good and evil made of? Not matter, certainly. Strings maybe? But there would be no good or evil without the matter that makes up our brains, so can we say that good and evil depend upon, but are not comprised of matter in real time?
Speaking of which, what’s time?
Time has no matter, correct? And it is not comprised of strings, is it? If a physicist is reading this, please reach out to me and enlighten me. My question is: What is time? Is it a force, an energy, a wave function, an idea, or what? We live in time, right? Our time is short, or long, depending on your point of view. It’s with us always and everywhere. But where was it before the Big Bang, or whatever started the whole shebang? (And why is it a shebang rather than a hebang?) Was there time before matter or energy? And if there was no time, what was there? What comprises nothing? Nothing? Ok, then, you know the next question: What’s nothing?
As for time, as of now, we are not able to stop it or speed it up. Speed it up? What is the speed of time? Why do we experience it subjectively so differently, depending on how old we are and what we’re doing? Sometimes time flies, while at other times each second seems like an eternity.
Okay, I’ll stop. I just wanted to share with you some of my puzzlements. I have tons more, but that’s enough for this column. Thanks for listening, er, reading. Please email me with your comments and solutions. I will be most grateful. I may even love you more than I love myself.
Read Dr. Hallowell’s post “Time Is Precious” to learn how to manage your time.
Listen to Dr. Hallowell’s and learn how to “Stop and Smell the Roses.”