The human brain takes in everything. Everything. If you spin around in a circle just looking and listening, your brain logs every bit of sight and sound; every single detail your eyes glaze over is absorbed with a computer’s meticulous accuracy. We’re super good at processing this information, these sights and scents and sounds and sensations, and deciding on the 1% that is pertinent while pushing all the rest to the back of our brains. It’s what allows us to function. Our brains are cream-of-the-evolutionary-crop super-processors.
We don’t know much about sleep, except that without it we go — literally — insane. The theory I’ve heard that makes the most intuitive sense is that when we dream, the unconscious brain processes all that raw information, the ceaseless, endless litany of sensory stimulation we spend our waking hours accumulating, then like a secretary in an office, it separates and categorizes all that input, filing what it needs in long term memory, clearing the cache of short term, and junking the rest.
We’re the evolutionary products of people who managed to trick themselves into believing this world fits into understandable categories; the children of the ones who got good at parsing this chaos into manageable chunks, pretending there was order and sanity and logic to any of it. Pretending that the reality of our existence is somehow a comprehensible thing. It isn’t.
We’re a pack of talking monkeys who leap-frogged our evolutionary capacity via language and technology to a point where we’re now sitting at our control panels pushing buttons, twisting knobs, pulling levers on things we only half understand. Evolution will catch up, eventually, but right now? If we were shown the hyper-dimensional reality of the universe, merely the actual parameters of the physical space we occupy, our silly heads would pop. There are some things (cough, infinity) that we simply don’t have the capacity to understand.
If some god-creature came down to Earth and said, “Hey monkey, wanna know what’s really going on? What all this really is?”
We would say, “Yeah, of course!” Then just before the fatal hemorrhaging began and we dropped like a wet sponge, our last few sentences would go something like,
“Time isn’t linear? What does that say about free will? How many dimensions are there, anyways? Why are my eyes bleeding? What’s an exponential infinity?”
Our life is vastly more absurd than we allow ourselves to understand, and that’s no accident. The childless aunts and uncles on our ancestral tree who couldn’t ignore the base insanity of existence went crazy. CrrRraAAzY. Crazy. You’re here today because your ancestors caught the gene for classification, for putting things in boxes, for dealing with the 1% of pertinent information that mattered for survival and letting the subconscious sort the rest. Taking in all that stimulus at once is impossible, and if you try to fight the current and struggle upstream to the source? Well, we’re bred for putting our heads in the sand. Trust your evolution. Stick it down there deep.
The universe is infinitely large and infinitely tiny. I’d wager it’s safe to say we’re almost certainly part of something bigger, some ridiculous thing which you and I will never know and lack the capacity to even understand. Any god-creature I conceive of is just a creature that exists in the universe in relation to us the way we exist in relation to ants. An order of magnitude more complicated, with the power of life and death, but still basically middle management.
Oh, those poor ants, who think we speak ant, who think we hear prayers.
No, ultimately, you and me? We’re just a couple of ignorant droplets, soaring through space for the tiniest sliver of time, destined soon to smash on a hot stone. Safe money says a bit of steam, and that’s the end. What larger source dripped us? Who put the stone there? Why are we falling at a constant 9.8m/s^2? Don’t be sad, friend, that we’ll never know — be glad instead that we got to be so beautiful.
“From the earth I rose…
…in the earth I’ll decompose.”