Permanent Impermenance

Permanent Impermenance

While walking this morning in the pre-dawn quiet, I was listening to Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about the important take aways from the Moon landings; namely, that the moon was formed by a Mars-sized object obliquely hitting the Earth eons ago.

And it got me to thinking, about all the knowledge that is now commonly accepted, uncovered or discovered since the time I was born.

The origin of the Moon (1969-1972). The cause of the demise of the Dinosaurs (1981). The location of the Titanic (1985). The nature of Quasars (early 80s). Too many wonders to enumerate.

But enough to recognize, that as much as we know, or think we know, we can anticipate new and game-changing discoveries racing at us daily.

Simply being able to look at images from Ceres, Pluto, and Charon this year – as well as the closeups from the Rosetta mission – should totally convince us we’re living in amazing times.

Yet – we’ve practically become inured to the wondrous and the incredible.

We walk around with the knowledge of the world at our fingertips. We communicate with each other instantaneously from the far reaches of the globe. We know where we are – to the very meter – through the magic of global positioning satellites. Our cars have cameras, telemetry, and satellite radio.

Why aren’t we more gobsmacked by all – or any – of this?

What would my dad have thought, back in 1962, if he had been given my Buick to drive, or my iPhone to use, or my MacBook to watch a video?

It would have been miraculous.

Today? It’s merely mundane.

As much as we think we’ve seen it all, twenty years from now, our children will wonder what we would have thought of their world. Forty years from now, our grandkids will think the same.

I think about the Buddhist idea of Impermanence – that our existence is transient, evanescent, inconstant.

Our sense of wonderment and ability to be amazed certainly is.


Reading about the gas pipeline sending the East Coast into a panic, points out the razor edge we walk, between complacent sleepwalking through our daily routine, and realizing our technological cocoons are paper thin.

And as impermanent as running water.

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