Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Morning Philosophy

There was a tremendous thunder storm last night, a rare occurrence in this area.  It was a long and drawn out storm, punctuated with periods of silence during which you roll back to unconsciousness, only to be ripped from sleep by thunderclaps so earth shaking you're screaming in terror before you realize you're awake and alive. 

In the sleep addled aftermath of a stormy night shared with a houseful of terrorized pets I've been thinking about thunder and other terrifying forces of nature.  I've been trying to imagine more primitive humans without clear scientific understanding of such events.  Imagining feeling terrorized by gods, or spirits, some powerful being raining down fire from the sky in a deafening roar of anger.

We modern humans are raised with a basic scientific understanding of lightning that can be very comforting.  Where it is most likely to strike, how to calculate the distance of the storm, this knowledge makes us feel that we have some meager amount of control.  But in that brief second after being pulled from sleep and before conscious awareness settles, no scientific explanation can come to mind, your are functioning with a primitive brain and all it can think of is terror.

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