people and clouds

When I was trying to figure out where stratospheric balloons would fly, I learned that the atmosphere was an incredibly complex system, even though it was driven by just a few basic components: air, water, and heat.

Rising, expanding parcels of air cool off.  Water vapor condenses when it gets cold, and precipitates.  The sun heating the earth stirs up the atmosphere like water in a cooking pan, from surface temperature, down to about -60F.  Heating, cooling, rising, falling, evaporating, condensing, expanding, contracting… churning, chaotically, seemingly forever.

People are like that, too.  They have only a few basic emotional prime movers, but from those, all manner of human drama plays out around us; loving and hating, seeking and avoiding, fighting and mating, testosterone and estrogen… we’re not so complicated, at our core.

At some point, I realized that understanding people, in a scientific manner, is probably the worst thing a person can possibly do to itself.  It’s quite maddening, in fact, when you realize you’re merely and inescapably a puppet; a pile of flesh and bone which serves only to propagate the code stored in the nucleus of every squishy cell of its body, which can neither escape the fundamental temperament of that code, or the nature of the environment used for calibration during its boot-up sequence.

Perhaps that’s why so many thinkers rebel against the very notion of being human, and aspire to become pure spirits; thought devoid of the base interference of mammalian emotion.

Maybe because it seems base.  Or maybe because it hurts too much to feel when you understand how ridiculous your feelings are, and you understand nature’s true intent behind those feelings.

Maybe that’s one fundamental difference between the sky and life: the clouds never have an agenda, but life always does, though it’s a very simple one:


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