My advice: Watch Moon.
Not THE moon. There’s a film called moon. It’s a good film.
Whenever I worry about how bad things get, I always remind myself that my phone could start talking to me in the voice of Kevin Spacey, and it puts things in perspective.
Because, really, all of us have different stress points, you know? I don’t get too worried about salmonella, for instance. On the other hand, the knowledge of black holes used to keep me up in cold sweats on particularly quiet nights. I wasn’t sure what I thought I hoped to accomplish, but I would sit up in bed with a cave made from the blankets over my head, a baseball bat in my little Vienna sausage grip (it was my sister’s bat — I wasn’t tough enough to own a bat myself), ready for the moment when the icy fingers of a black hole reached out and pulled my whole bed in between its grinning teeth.
I might mention, I had, at best, a flimsy grasp of science when I was small.
But that’s the great danger, you see? Ignorance is the cow patty filled pasture, fertile for demon bushes, which grow the seductive fruit of suggestion. And we take that fruit and make ourselves the custard of prejudice. Because we are so hungry for something — anything — to explain what all of this mess has to do with our search for more cake that we’ll hold onto any easily reached glimpse of meaning and turn it into dogma pudding given the slightest leavening of any kind of comforting yeast or any coagulant.
I must be hungrier than I feel.
It’s much easier to lie to myself than it is to learn that the black hole isn’t going to sneak up on me when I’m not looking and take my spare change, laughing all the time, and doing something dreadful to me like mussing my hair and taunting my funny knees.
I know now that black holes aren’t sniffling bullies, making themselves feel large by crushing planets and taking their lunch money. But the fact that I’m less ignorant than I was is no fault of mine.
If I had been able to have my way, then I would have remained inside of my whipped cream filled comfort bubble, where everything is warm and smells faintly of vanilla, and where I can turn clouds into friendly little woodland creatures whenever I like, because clouds and water vapor have nothing to do with each other in my comfort bubble.
It was only through rough persistence that knowledge forced its way through my thick skull to stir the muzzy, smiling ego that I call my mind. Knowledge, basically, had its buddies hold me down, then it sat on my chest, and screamed the elements of the periodic table in my face until I admitted that carbon is an atom not “just what makes the water tickle my nose, Mister Man.”
Ignorance is comfortable. Knowledge is not. Knowledge is where uncertainty comes from. Knowledge gives us conscience and awareness that excesses of unhealthy if pleasant things will hurt us. Knowledge is the great buzz killer, standing near the sexy gates of hell with an expression that says loudly, “I expected more of you.”
Knowledge makes fun less fun. And fun is why we’re here, as the poet probably said somewhere.
But without knowledge, we would all be dead. So there’s that as well.
I don’t know. I am not sure that the price might be too high. Knowing cocaine is bad for me really kills the buzz, you know?
Maybe I am too critical. You’ve got to learn things, I suppose.
Sometimes, it’s not so comfortable learning things. Sometimes, there’s a voice of reason that speaks from a position of incontrovertible authority that starts to reveal uncomfortable information to you, and your reality begins to fray. Then you are forced to confront the notions that had, till then, been the reason you could say that life made sense. At which point you may find that your reality has some holes that you have been unaware of, and then you have to encounter the dark side of your life that might explain that, as it turns out, you might have some soul searching to do.
Like I say, go watch Moon.