Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Occasionally, I get extraordinarily excited by subjects that are utterly and completely outside my sphere of experience. For a few brief and euphoric moments...maybe a few minutes, maybe a few hours...I allow my excitement to persuade me that I can change my life.

I believe, in those rare moments, I can change things to the extent that this new and astonishingly interesting subject will become my avocation, my vocation...truly the purpose for my existence.

Perhaps because I've just had a second Irish coffee or perhaps because I'm simply unable to articulate my experience in a way that can fully describe it, I can't adequately explain this remarkable experience. I wish I could. For a brief time, my experience makes me feel like my life has value and meaning and matters. Unfortunately, that doesn't last long. I become aware of reality all too quickly. But for a time, I can understand how people can believe the unbelievable. I can understand religion during that time. I can understand the development of myth. I can appreciate hero worship. All sorts of illogical things seem, momentarily, to be based on a beautiful and pure logic all their own.

That all disappears, of course, when reality sets in. The wonder of the world around me fades into dull, grey smudges and I lose that temporary engagement in glory.

But when it's there, it's amazing.

Tonight, I watched a program on NOVA. It was about how the brain works. And I got excited, really excited, about the research explained during that program. For a while, I envisioned myself in a new career, pursuing knowledge about the brain. I saw myself happy and enthusiastic and alive with energy. I saw myself doing research on how our brains work, how they control our lives, and how we can control them.

Oh, it was a sweet fantasy.

But now I know where I am, what I do, and how it all ends. It's painful to see that brilliant light fizzle into a dull sputter.

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