Interconnectedness

 

…Atoms, in short, are very abundant.

They are also fantastically durable. Because they are so long lived, atoms really get around. Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms- up to a billion for each of us, it has been suggested- probably once belonged to Shakespeare. A billion more each came from Buddha and Genghis Khan and Beethoven, and any other historical figure you care to name…

So we are all reincarnations-though short-lived ones. When we die our atoms will disassemble and move off to find new uses elsewhere- as part of a leaf or other human being or drop of dew. (From Bill Bryson’s chapter “The Mighty Atom,” in A Short History of Nearly Everything)

I consider myself a spiritual being, but I have no religious affiliations. When faced with the idea of death, I envy the religious- they have an unwavering belief of what happens when we die. Whether it’s the belief in heaven, nirvana or rebirth, at least there’s comfort in knowing what to expect. I’ve never had such a comfort- until learning (relearning, I’m sure I learned of atoms in high school) of “The Mighty Atom,” to quote Bryson.

When I picked up this book I wasn’t seeking any spiritual revelations (nor expecting such). I’m simply on an ongoing quest to better myself intellectually, as I mentioned in my previous post on learning in adulthood. I never considered the fact that science could provide spiritual comfort, much like religion does for its devotees. To know that my atomic makeup is simply recycled from those who came before me, and that those same atoms will continue to exist after I’m long gone has soothed my fear of death more than I ever thought possible. Furthermore, its provided me an overwhelming feeling of interconnectedness with the world around me, with those before me and those to come after.

 

There truly is beauty in this world, folks. Even if it’s as minuscule as an atom.

 

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Interconnectedness

  1. Whoa! I’ve never thought of life like that but it does make sense that we’d be made up of some elements of the things that came before us. Also pretty cool that we might be related to Shakespeare and other greats!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am the stone, I am the river, I am the star, I am the fish, l am the tree, I am the animate, I am the inanimate. I am the atom, a manifestation of energy! Brilliant post! I keep thinking about such ideas all day- The thoughts of interconnectedness!

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  3. Wonderful. And at the quantum level, the sense of mystical interconnectedness gets even more profound and comforting. We can almost be everywhere at once, throughout all time…so what is there to fear!? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh, I am in the middle of reading this book RIGHT now. That opening quote you mentioned stuck with me too. And this one: “Take a moment from time to time to remember that you are alive. I know this sounds a trifle obvious, but it is amazing how little time we take to remark upon this singular and gratifying fact. By the most astounding stroke of luck an infinitesimal portion of all the matter in the universe came together to create you and for the tiniest moment in the great span of eternity you have the incomparable privilege to exist.”

    Science is my religion these days… as it constantly exposes all the underlying connectedness we all share with everything. Beautiful piece! Keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES this is an amazing quote!! Science has truly become my religion as well. That quote is so perfect! Whenever I feel down I swear this book really gives me a dose of reality. Thanks for your kind words! I’m around the middle of the book, let’s reconvene when we are done and compare thoughts?!

      Like

      1. Bah, perhaps! I’m so ADD and busy with school, new house, and travel currently (and I read like 4 books at a time because I’m absurd and love starting 19 projects in hopes of finishing at least 2). Sidenote: I signed up for this blog a few months ago and bought the domain name n’ such. I wanted to ask you a few questions about how you set up your page so uniquely. Did you do html or someone else or any suggestions as I have very limited experience with html in past 5 years. My blog is super blank and boring atm, but I wanted to make it mine, ya know? just not sure where to start!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha that last sentence is a ten word summary of what my first, and only, blog post attempts to convey.

        I really like your stuff. It’s fascinating how uniquely insightful some corners of the internet can be. It’s unfortunate it took me so long to find this one.

        Powerful WordPress, too!

        Liked by 1 person

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