Friday, May 15, 2009

Are We Huge or Are We Small?

On Mother's Day I got the pleasure of reading with my 13-year old son. His quarterly book summary is due today, so we were trying to finish the last one-hundred pages of the book, Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher.

As I began to read to him, he warned me, "Mom, there are a lot of bad words in this book." The book is told from a high school teenager's point of view and there were a lot of cuss words, but it still seemed like a good book.

I wanted to share a quote with you that I really liked from Whale Talk, found on pages 133 - 134. The main character, T.J. Jones, is talking about his father's comment about the first pictures of the earth as seen from the moon...and how finite things are here on earth. As T.J. looks out of a bus window on the way home from a swimming meet, he thinks to himself:

Are we huge or are we small? The distance between the protons and neutrons of a given atom, relative to their size, are as great as the distance between stars. If you were to look at each atom as a universe unto itself, think of the number of universes within each of us; at the same time, look at any one of us in the vast space I am seeing out the window of this bus, which is a molecule on a cell on a flea on a hair on a wart of the known universe. And I think of the power, the electricity, that dances between me and Carly, how the emotional part of that, the connection, sometimes seems so big it can't be contained. How does that compare with the power of a lightning bolt, or of the nearly silent whispter of a breeze? Are we big or are we small?

What do you think? Are we big or are we small?

In case you are interested in this book, I've included a link below. Enjoy!


Furrow said...

Great passage. And my library has this book. Score!

And since we know that protons and neutrons are not the smallest particles, we have to wonder about the worlds contained even within them. Did I just hear a scream from that speck of dust floating by?

(wandered over from Lori's)

Martha@A Sense of Humor is Essential said...

We are infinite in so many ways, miniscule also. We are the Universe and the Universe is within us. As a good Talmudic scholar would say, "Who among us really knows?"

Lori Lavender Luz said...

I love going to either extreme. Visits to the planetarium and documentaries about nanoscience blow my mind.

Truly, we must be both. We are also separate and One. We are here to learn how to embrace the duality for that is the only way to Unity.

Now if I could just figure out how. Each moment of my life...

Dr. J said...

I always thought that Lenny Bruce had the right idea.

He was big.