“You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.
why hold onto all that?
and I said,
where do I put it down?”
― Anne Carson, Glass, Irony and God, 1995.
A tale of two entropies.
“All human beings have bodies. All bodies are mortal. Yours, too, is one of these bodies.”
According to Thomas Browne, the physician and author of Religio Medici, “The long habit of living indisposeth us to dying.”
A failed supernova is an astronomical event in which a star suddenly brightens as in the early stage of a supernova, but then does not increase to the massive flux of a supernova.
They could be counted as a subcategory of supernova imposters, sometimes misleadingly been called unnovae.
Initially, the rope broke when the Russian revolutionary Bestoujeff was hanged; “Nothing succeeds with me,” he said. “Even here I meet with disappointment.”
Iceblink is a white light seen near the horizon, especially on the underside of low clouds,, resulting from reflection of light off an ice field immediately beyond.
The fear of returning to one`s childhood home is nostophobia (the opposite state of nostalgia) combined with its comorbidity ecophobia: fear of the house.
Moral conversion is a relatively rare event in a person’s normal development.
Adam Rainer, the only person known to have both dwarfism and gigantism.
At 19 years old he was 4 feet 8 inches tall, by the time he was in his 30’s he was 7 feet tall.
Looking at a lamp that flared at his bedside, Voltaire said, “The flames already?”
Castration—believed to extend the life span a few years—was popular in the Middle Ages. Eunuchs do live longer than uncastrated men. A sterilized dog or cat, male or female, will live, on average, two years longer than unsterilized dogs and cats.
Emerson said, “After thirty, a man wakes up sad every morning, excepting perhaps five or six, until the day of his death.”
A rare first-person account of Cotard’s delusion – the belief that you’re dead – is by writer Esmé Weijun Wang who describes her own episode of psychosis and how she came to believe, and later unbelieve, that she was dead.
“Somatic details figure heavily in these recollections: what I wore, what I looked like. I told myself, through mirrors and dressing-up and Polaroids and weighing myself, You have a body. The body is alive.
But the more that I tried to remind myself of the various ways in which I did, in fact, seem to have a body that was moving, with a heart that pumped blood, the more agitated I became.
Being dead butted up against the so-called evidence of being alive, and so I grew to avoid that evidence because proof was not a comfort; instead, it pointed to my insanity.”
James Baldwin explained why black people don’t have midlife crises. Why? Because they do not buy into the myths of America. Black people know that the system in America is rigged. Black people know this when they are children.
By comparison, white people buy into these illusions of meritocracy and individualism and American exceptionalism and similar beliefs.
That is why the highest rates of suicide right now are among middle-aged white men, because they are finally starting to realize that the system does not care about them.
Everybody inside the afterlife is packed together. All at one point.
The 16th-century Utopians, Thomas More and Antonio de Guevara, allowed no decrepit old people in their fictional lands.
“Old people are miserly; they do not acknowledge disinterested friendship; only seeking for what can satisfy their selfish needs.”
States Aristotle’s Ethics.
Three unique markers of frailty have been proposed:
(a) loss of any notion of invincibility
(b) loss of ability to do things essential to one’s care
(c) loss of possibility for a subsequent life stage.
The Greek philosopher Anaxarchus, pounded to death with pestles in the fourth century B.C., said, “Pound, pound the pouch containing Anaxarchus. You pound not Anaxarchus.”
The moon is 1/400th the size of the sun but also 1/400th the distance from earth which results in the moon and the sun being the same size in the sky, a coincidence not shared by any other known planet-moon combination
Cross-entropy method. The pineal gland is your internal clock.
The world of the happy is quite different from the world of the unhappy.
Babies born prematurely—who often have falsely mature faces—are imagined to be difficult and irritable, and people are less willing to volunteer to take care of them.
So, too, a study of abused children under court protection in California and Massachusetts found that a disproportionate number of them were “unattractive.”
Classical notions about the status of humanity may be inferred by the etymology of ancient words for man.
Latin homo means “of the earth, earthling”, probably in opposition to “celestial” beings.
Greek anthropos means “low-eyed”, again probably contrasting with a divine perspective.
An Indian Proverb states, “The eyeless ant asked God: Give me eye-lashes.”
The Trinity test in 1945 has been proposed as the start of the Anthropocene.
Scientists discovered a species of fungus at Chernobyl that uses the gamma radiation from the nuclear waste as a food source.
If you could live forever in good health at a particular age, what age would you be? As people get older, their ideal age gets higher.
For 18-to 24-year-olds, it’s age 27; for 25-to 29-year-olds, it’s 31; for 30-to 39-year-olds, it’s 37; for 40-to 49-year-olds, it’s 40; for 50-to 64-year-olds, it’s 44; and for people over 64, it’s 59.
One of the oldest children’s lullabies was found on an ancient Babylonian tablet, believed to be from around 2,000 BC. Rather than being soothing, it instead has a menacing tone.
In it, a baby being is threatened with punishment for disturbing the family god with its crying.
A 1999 Discover article insists the advent of agriculture and the Neolithic revolution was, “the worst mistake in the history of the human race.“
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind.
Cannot bear very much reality.
States Raymond Federman: “Plots are for dead people.”
New data shows that 73% of American consumers die in debt. The average total balance left over is $61,554 (and that includes mortgage debt).
Of the 73% who died with debt, the most common kind of debt was from credit card balances.
Mortgage debt, outstanding auto loans, personal loans and student loans followed, in that order.
On average, the remaining unpaid balances included $25,391 in student loans, $4,531 in credit card debt, $17,111 in auto loans and $14,793 in personal loans.
They told me beauty was in the eye. So those came out first.
Longevity myth: You are what you love and not what loves you back.
“As we get older,” the British poet Henry Reed helpfully observed, “we do not get any younger.”
Vicomte de Turenne, a French soldier killed at the battle of Sasbach in 1675, said, “I did not mean to be killed today.”
When people are asked to approach a stranger and stop when they no longer feel comfortable, they stop nearly two feet away from attractive people, as opposed to less than a foot from less attractive people: beauty is privileged territory.
The Universe may be spatially infinite; however, the accessible Universe is bounded by the cosmological event horizon of around 16 billion light years.
At 51, Tchaikovsky said, “I am aging fast, I am tired of life, I thirst for quietness and a rest from all these vanities, emotions, disappointments, etc. etc. It is natural for an old man to think of a prospective dirty hole called a grave.”
The individuality of a being is a certain intricate form, not an enduring substance.
In order to understand an organism, it must be thought of as a pattern which maintains itself through homeostasis – life continues by maintaining an internal balance of various factors such as temperature and molecular structure.
While the material substances that compose a living being may be constantly replaced by nearly identical ones, an organism continues functioning with the same identity as long as the pattern is kept sufficiently intact.
Since patterns can be transmitted, modified, or duplicated, they are therefore a kind of information.
The Man in the Moone (1638) by Francis Godwin. A Spaniard flies to the Moon using a contraption pulled by geese.
“The Galoshes of Fortune” (1838) by Hans Christian Andersen. A watchman unknowingly fits on a pair of magic galoshes that can grant people’s wishes. As he wishes he could visit the Moon the shoes send him flying there.
There he meets several Moon men who all wonder whether Earth is inhabited and decide this must be impossible.
Back on Earth the lifeless body of the watchman is found and he is brought to a hospital, where they take his shoes off, breaking the spell again. He awakens and declares it to have been the most terrible night he had ever experienced.
The same story, two hundred years later.
A tale of two entropies. Shrinking and breaking the bones. Desperation makes for poor stealth.
Aristotle described childhood as hot and moist, youth as hot and dry, and adulthood as cold and dry.
He believed aging and death were caused by the body being transformed from one that was hot and moist to one that was cold and dry—a change which he viewed as not only inevitable but desirable.
The French philosopher Simone Weil, writing in 1934, probably had it right: ‘We are in a period of transition; but a transition towards what? No one has the slightest idea.’
Rabelais on his death bed in the 16th century, “I am going in search of a great perhaps.”
In 1600 B.C., the Egyptian papyrus Book for Transformation of an Old Man into a Youth of Twenty recommended a potion involving herbs and animal parts.
In 44 B.C., Cicero said, “No one is so old that he does not think he could live another year” he died in 43 B.C.
The ancient Indian epic Maha-bha-rata asks, “Of all the world’s wonders, which is the most wonderful? That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will die.”
Dolly Parton on identity and the purpose of life, “Find out who you are. And do it on purpose.”