Tuesday, September 15, 2020


If a person wanted to count out loud to one billion, he couldn't do it. Not even if he started on the day he was born and counted for eight hours a day for a hundred years. That's how big a billion is, which might surprise some people seeing how we throw that number around so nonchanlantly nowadays. Next, let's take a jump up to the number one trillion. That is one thousand billion, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 200, 250 or so times the number of years making up the age of the known universe.

Now consider that the average person is made up of something like one hundred trillion cells, more or less. I'm not sure at this point that a number that big can even be plausably imagined, it's just so fucking HUGE! And yet the numbers get even bigger, for each cell can be composed of around one hundred trillion atoms each, bringing the sum total of atoms in a human body to a staggering ten octillion. That number is ten million times larger than the estimated number of all the stars in the observable universe.

Can the numbers get any bigger? Of course they can! For the atom itself is not an impenetrable, unbreakable unit, but is composed of even smaller units of measure, electrons and protons and neutrons all buzzing around at near the speed of light, gaining mass via the constant movement and subsequent kinetic energy of bound particles inside the nucleus.

Next,think about the incredible number of interactions going on between these miniscule particles that make up a human body. Why, in the brain alone there are tens of billions of neurons each connected to thousands of its brethren via synaptic pathways, sending signals outward at about 200 pulses per second. Meanwhile, the body proper sends eleven million bits of information about itself to the brain; again, per second.

Bottom line? Each of us is an entire universe unto ourselves, composed of stuff that is made up of uncountable tinier pieces of stuff, stuff that flies around incredibly fast and bumps into stuff zillions of times in the time it takes us to take a breath (that was a fun sentence to write:)). Tiny Legos, as it were...though certainly what's going on is really not a lot like Legos but it's probably not the worst analogy around, either...sometimes hooking up, sometimes not, building, destroying, and eventually, blindly, settling into some semblance of very temporary stability here and there, That's us. That's what we are, and indeed that's what everything is; at least according to the present scientific paradigm, more or less.

Not sure where I'm going with this, if anywhere. Stay tuned if you wish.

DISCLAIMER: All the math and number shit are convenient/hasty round ups and round downs on my part, but if I ever get around to writing more about this stuff that'll all seem rather inconsequential, especially when we get into infinities.

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