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Connected Connected
by Jan Sand
2006-10-21 11:03:26
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Some time ago, somebody suggested that China, which was noted for its disciplined population, didn’t really need an atomic bomb. It could demand that at a certain hour and a certain minute and a certain second everybody in China could jump up in the air to come down solidly creating an earthquake that would threaten any other nation that would threaten it.

Contrariwise, some radio guy in New York wanted to create a tremendously loud noise so he told all his listeners, who were a good portion of New York City, to scream out their windows at a specified time. The time arrived and departed and there was, if anything, one of the quietest moments in the city. It turned out that everybody wanted to hear the sound and just listened.

Some time ago, when a few rebellious molecules had the antisocial impulse to separate from the rest of the universe they fabricated a membrane out of joined hydrophobic and hydrophilic brothers and the first primitive cell was born. No doubt, the rather sophisticated nucleus and all those other widgets, like the mitochondria and the golgi processes and the tubules and vacuoles, were still vague concepts in the first molecules’ fuzzy dreams, but the essence of shoving out the whole rest of the universe to make their own space was such a cool idea that it has persisted to this day.

It is just a very unique human these days that concedes he/she is an integral part of the universe. It would be a big surprise to a lot of people to learn that every time they sneezed or farted they changed the Earth’s orbit around the Sun but Newton more or less dictated that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This shift, of course, is probably frustrated by someone else sneezing equally in the precise opposite direction, but you never can tell when a flu epidemic might move our planet in towards Mercury or out to Alpha Centauri.

And this same sense of being insulated from anything else gives everybody the assurance that one more hamburger is not fatal, one more SUV stinking up the atmosphere is hardly a planetary threat and one more cigarette is not noticeable to a reasonably healthy lung. It's as if a small campfire is not dangerous in a dry forest, one minor piss in the river won’t kill any fish, and, what the hell, lightning never strikes twice in the same place.

Whether we are convinced that Big Brother is up there in the sky or we lived, not so long ago, as a bunny or a rhinoceros or a diplodocus, we have a cockeyed assurance deep in the marrow of our bones that something essential that sees the Sun and smells a fine Spring day and tastes the hot crunchy flavor of a great pizza, unlike everything else in the cosmos, is eternal.

But, if a flapping butterfly in Hong Kong can eventually start a tornado in Kansas to carry an outhouse, fourteen loaves of fresh bread, a wheel of Wisconsin blue cheese, three ants and a bumblebee, a partridge in a pear tree, and a little girl and her dog all the way to Oz, then maybe, just, just maybe something you do or I do or that stumbling drunk across the street does can stop an idiot government (don’t ask me which one – there are plenty to choose from) from murdering its citizens or someone else’s citizens or some unfortunates who are nobody’s citizens.

Hey! The goddamn murder has to stop.


  
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