Saturday, February 26, 2011

Daily Silver: A recap of stuff I haven't told you yet. And "the weather isn't evil, it just wants a hug."

Can I write Friday's Daily Silver even though it's technically Saturday?  Of course I can!  I'm running the show. (bwahahahahahahahaha!!!)

What can I tell you about Friday.  Other than "TGIF" or rather, TGIWF (Thank Gods It Was Friday).  Oh, well it snowed a bit up here in the wild wild North (better known as Western NY).  Lessee... oh, we have an accumulation of about 8 or 9 inches, and it was all melted two days ago.  So not overnight, but pretty good.  Actually, snow on the ground is okay.  It's when it's blowing in your face that's not so cool.  Hot.  Whatever.  Today I got up and (mistake #1) did not look out the window.  I had no idea what it was like outside, but I assumed that it would be much like yesterday: sunny and clear with snow on the ground but none in the sky.  As I was preparing to leave for class, still not looking out the window, I (almost mistake #2) debated putting on my winter hat or my baseball cap.  I luckily chose the winter hat and opened the door (surprise!).  The snow was coming down at about a 45deg slant, and they were fat, slushy flakes, the kind that can sting in a sudden [sadistic] gust of wind but then will accumulate on your hat and coat and any exposed skin and make you shed water when you walk inside like molting snakeskin.  Except cold and wet.

Now make it 50-80degF colder and dump some ice water on him.
In other news, I'm taking a practice GRE tomorrow.  I'm excited about the future (Ooooh, the future...) but I'm not excited about getting up on a Saturday.  Ah, the sleep I sacrifice...

Speaking of sleep: I think I'll pretend to go to sleep now.  I say pretend because I'll end up laying in bed staring at the ceiling.  Or the wall.  I've become sort of attached to staring at the wall lately.  Buonanotte!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I have to say I'm kind of sad that I won't see 2100...

Ever since I was little, I've thought about mortality.  Yes, in a morbid-fearful-squeamish sense, but also in a more... limiting sense.  Well, I don't know if "limiting" is the word I'm looking for; I'm trying to describe the sadness--disappointment, really--in the knowledge that I will not live to see the future.  I'm not talking flying cars and androids and living on other planets necessarily (although probably within our grasp now or in the near future) but more about the progression of life and the world and all that.

When I was little I did think more along those lines; I envisioned a future that I now recognize as some variation on steampunk, full of Wells-ian time machines
time machine

Oooh, flying cars!
Now, I'd like to imagine I'm more realistic, and my conjured images include cures for African sleeping sickness (alternatively, effective treatments [read section "treatment"] that aren't as deadly as the disease) and music players that read your mind and time machines.

gotta love time machines
All these fantasies and imaginings and ideas are a source of woe for me.  Because I probably won't live to see them.

Granted, the things I just described that I dream of now (in my 20s) may be close enough that they'll happen in the next decade or so, but of course I've no way of knowing.  No one knows.  It just makes me sad that I won't be around for new things.  I'm not planning on checking out anytime soon (at least for the next 80 or so years), but even if I make it to 100 I won't see the year 2100.

I think all this stuff about chronological milestones (the decade, the century, the millenium) hits people alive now with more oomph.  We all lived through the turn of the millenium (unless you're under 10, then you're SOL).  That's friggin' huge.  That's only happened 3 times in recorded history (I start counting with the Romans, maybe the Greeks and Egyptians so 4).  It makes me feel like I have a place in history sort of.  'Course everything's history when you get right down to it, but we as humans feel the need to ascribe particular significance to certain events, and the turn of the millenium was one of them.

The prospect of a human living to see 2 century-changes is fairly slim, and that occurs to me more clearly than I suppose it would to someone born in 1918 who lived to 77.  We're so damn close to surviving two century-turns!  Ah, pointless frustration!  Perhaps at some point humans will be able to live that long; I seriously doubt it, as aging seems to be in the framework of our cells and scientists are having little success with "anti-aging" treatments.

I seriously doubt that I will see another millenium.  Though you never know...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Daily Silver: Oh darn, zombies ate my roommates.

No, not really (well maybe in the few hours I've been working alone in my room...) but I went out to dinner tonight and when I came back no one was in the living room, but I saw their shoes and coats.  Logical conclusion: zombies ate my roommates.

You can imagine how relieved I was when I crept downstairs (ready to kick some zombie butt if it came to that) and found them quietly studying in their rooms.  No, I was not relieved that they were quietly studying in their rooms; in fact that was somewhat distressing in itself.  Ours is a house of proud procrastination! (*dons viking helmet and shakes hammer at sky*)
Yeah, kinda like that.  And yes, my hammer glows, too.  Duh.
So today's Silver is just more a trick to get me to write, and in the true spirit of writing, I am... going to bed.

Wait, that didn't make sense.

Well, if I'm to the point of not making sense anymore it really is time for me to go to bed.

And in the spirit of perpetual curiosity (meo--) I will share with you a new blog I've discovered and a good article.  It's interesting; it's a science blog, but the issue discussed here is sort of philosophical.  I like it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Daily Silver: The future looms, but I think I'm seeing tropical medicine through the fog.

Today's thoughts are on graduate school.  I know that I want to get my master's degree, and I'm thinking public health.  I have to do a little looking around...  Then I want to get my Ph.D.  But that's farther in the future than I'm willing to consider at the moment.

The career path I'm looking at right now is getting my Ph.D in parasitology or tropical medicine and working in a hospital as a specialist.  Maybe public health, though, and I could work with a Health Dept. and do some more epidemiological things...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Daily Silver: In fact, I do still exist, I merely spent yesterday in the real world.

What a tedious place the real world is.  I was writing the essay that I told you about not writing on Saturday in a rush of inspiration!  Yeah, if having it due the next morning can be termed "inspiration."  Anyway, it's done and I'm pretty happy with it, and now I can blog again!  For a while, at least...

So today was un-extraordinary.  Neurobiology this morning was pretty cool, because it's always cool when you understand the material.  Also, His Vexing-ness (you know, that kid in class that has to show off everything he knows and it turns out he just read the text but didn't understand the concepts?) was relatively quiet today.  Also, my friends and I asked a bunch of relevant, well-considered questions which is always a plus.  All in all, a good day in the field of Molecular Neurobiology.

Abnormal Psych was pretty ho-hum.  Not that it's a bad thing; certain classes, you just pray they're ho-hum.  Not that I don't like psychology (although see here and here) but this class is... I don't really know why, but I didn't expect it to be a study in suffering.  That's all it is, really; I'm not saying that's bad, necessarily, because my area of interest, parasitology and tropical medicine, is also full of such reflection.  The only way we can change our world is if we can understand it; the only way to help people suffering from blood flukes or from bipolar disorder is if we understand these afflictions.  I just... didn't realize it would be so depressing.  I really don't know why; I'm intimately familiar with many of the faces of mental disorders, but I guess I thought learning clinically about them could distance me or something?  Hmmm...  Anyway, today we watched a video, actually two videos featuring a woman with bipolar disorder, and pretty severe at that.  In the first she was in a depressive episode, and she had been hospitalized because she'd assaulted a little girl (we didn't hear the details) because the voices had told her to.  (NB I'm sure schizophrenia presents a very different clinical picture, but at this point I couldn't tell them apart except that our professor told us she had bipolar disorder.)  She was suffering from psychomotor retardation, which is when someone thinks, moves, and talks slowly, and she looked like she was going to fall asleep and go right off her chair.  But the combination of this movie and the next one was what was really disturbing.  In the next one, the same woman in the throes of a manic episode(a week later or so) was chewing bubble gum and blowing bubbles, all while she was a spy for Jesus Christ and could call up wind, rain, or sunshine at will.  She reminded me of a happy-go-lucky thirteen-year-old girl, and she had that look on her face, the one of blank, almost fake happiness, just utterly pleased with herself.  It was disturbing on such a visceral level... you could just tell that something was wrong, could almost tell that this mania wasn't going to last and she was going to plummet deep, deep into the hellish vice of depression.

Sorry for the flowery language; it's late and you know what that means..!  (It means I start writing like a Renaissance poet.)  Mi apologia.

So that's it for today.  I do have to admit that somedays (usually concordant with large academic projects and looming due dates) I might not write.  I'll try, but it just might not happen.  In the meantime, I plan to be writing every day this week, because I don't have any papers due for a while!  (Huzzah!)  Buonanotte!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Daily Silver: "The weather did a complete 180" and other greatest hits.

As you have probably gathered from the title, the weather is no longer gorgeous.  In fact, I believe this phenomenon is known in certain scientific circles as "anti-gorgeous."  Like other "anti-" things, no one can actually come to a conclusion about whether it exists or not, but I'd venture today is a pretty convincing "for."  The kind of convincing that blasts you in the face with flying slush and sends it running down your back under your shirt in rivulets because it can.  The "convincing" also happens when pushes up under the hems of your pant legs and sloshes down your bare ankles and into your unwisely-chosen low-top sneakers.  Rawr.

Anyway, this glorious proof of... well, weather only touched me once today (actually more like thrice), when I went out to do laundry (blast you, laundry! *shakes fist at menacing sky*) because someone thought it would be a grand old idea to put the laundry for the campus townhouses in an entirely separate building.  In Geneseo.  ie 50ish miles south of Lake Ontario.  Ah, but life goes on and the laundry is never done...

I would like to point out that I am still in my pajamas.  Granted, I re-donned them after coming back from my latest laundry trek, but before I changed into more suitable winterwear I had been in my pj's all day.  Hear that: all frickin' day!  (eat it, slushy snowfall!)  It's one of those days, y'know?  So yeah, I woke up at a reasonable time (10:30) and proceeded to twitter (I know it's bad for me, Mommy, but it's just so good!) and Google Reader and all the goodness of internet procrastination (remember I was going to write an essay today?).  I watched some streaming Netflix (Mythbusters!) and spent hours playing with Chrome extensions... oh, and I did some laundry.  Actually, am in the process of doing some laundry--it's almost time for me to slog out for the last time to bring home my clothes all clean & dry!

Before I sign off, I'd like to say that my day was pretty ok.  I'm not a fan of staying in my pj's all day, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  Arrivederci! *looks out window, sighs, and puts on outdoor-clothes*

PS For your viewing pleasure... MYTHBUSTERS!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Daily Silver: Friday!!!

Today's silver is brief: it's Friday!  And it's nice out!  I am excited at the prospect of sleeping in tomorrow, but I am not excited about writing my humanities essay (due Monday morning).  My assignment is to write about how I think two authors (out of five or so choices) would react to people flying planes into IRS buildings.  Specifically Andrew Joseph Stack.  It won't necessarily be a hard write, it's just tedious and not what I want to be doing/writing about.

But about the weather: it's gorgeous!  If you're not from upstate NY or similar climes you may not understand my amazement at 50degF, but it's 50 freaking degrees in February.  This is a big thing, like jump-and-shout-and walk-around-in-shorts-and-a-tshirt-because-you-don't-have-to-worry-about-frostbite big.  The fields outside my window are green.  It's crazy.

So I leave you now to walk in the balmy spring breezes and cavort in the sun, because it's been a long winter (actually it's been a winter of average length, but you get the idea).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Filial piety is such an antiquated term. I just like it because it sounds funky.

I apologize for throwing more Frankenstein in your face, but we are discussing it in my humanities class, so it's at the forefront of my mind.  So our discussion today was on the second volume of the book, and especially the sort of climax of the book, when Frankenstein and the creature actually meet and converse.  The creature tells his [surprisingly long] story, basically the story of his life.  This started me thinking on duty, especially of children to parents (this has no connections to recent events and relationships in my own life, of course).  Some sort of duty of the children to the parents is a common theme in many cultures, the idea that a child is beholden to her parents because of all they did for her when she could not do for herself.  I do not believe that such a duty exists.

I love my mother, and I like to hang out with her and give her little presents and call her and make her happy.  But I don't do it because I feel like I owe her for bringing me up.  Sure, I owe her for a great many other things, but bringing me up is not one on my list.  I suppose the defining factor for me lies in choice, namely mine.

If I ask for a book and someone gets it for me, I fee I owe that person a debt.  Depending on many factors (circumstances, relationship, and the values and ideas of the giver) I may owe them a gift of my own or just gratitude.  But if I don't ask for a book and someone gets it for me, I feel I do not owe that person anything.  This does not mean that I will not be grateful, it just means that my reciprocation, be it gratitude or a gift of my own, will be given freely and on my own terms.  

It doesn't have to be specific, either.  Take for example a birthday present.  If I ask for that book for my birthday and my brother gets it for me, then I owe him; since it's my birthday (and he's my brother) my debt will not be more than gratitude and a call to thank him (as in, no more will be expected by him or anyone else).  Similarly if I ask for a book for my birthday and my brother gets me that book or any other book, then the same debt is owed (though in some circumstances, perhaps less).  However, if I don't ask for a book or that book and my brother gets me a book for my birthday I don't owe him anything.  Because I love and respect him and want to let him know that I appreciate his gift, I will call him to thank him, but not because of anything owed to him.

This is a generalized example, but I feel the principle applies to child/parent relationships as well.  Children don't--indeed, can't--ask to be conceived/born, yet they are.  Infants can't ask to be cared for, fed, clothed, and housed, yet they are.  And children don't ask to be brought up, but they are.  The beauty of the thing is that they are not required to ask.  As much as I believe children do not have a duty to their parents, I believe parents do have a duty to their children (this is my tie-in to Frankenstein).  Inherent in the word "duty" is the expectation that there is no expectation of reciprocation; then duty is not a task of honor and responsibility but a manipulative perversion.  Parents do choose to conceive and bring their children into the world.  Once they are in the world, parents have a duty take care of their children and bring them up. And since children don't ask for this, whether because of inability or ignorance, they owe nothing to their parents for this.

I think a healthier relationship springs from this understanding.  Because there is no duty to the parents, all children do for their parents is pure, unencumbered by responsibility and perhaps guilt.  Children do things for their parents because they love them.  Or if the children don't do anything for their parents, that is their prerogative.  This I think applies especially to grown children and their aged parents.  So your mother can't use the line "you owe me because I raised you" to justify her moving into your house.

No, I haven't forgotten what I said earlier about receiving gifts you've asked for.  If you ask for something, like a birthday present or tuition for college, you do owe your parents for what they give.  The way I look at college is: it's not yet a right (although it's close to one).  Until it becomes a right (that is, necessary for survival), college tuition is a gift from your parents that you have asked for, and you owe them.

That said, you can't collect on debts later, except in certain situations.  For example, if your friend asks for a cake for her birthday and you make it for her, she owes you a debt of gratitude.  If you give it to her and don't say anything, just expect gratitude in return because it's her birthday then it's all good.  If it comes to be a few days or a week or so later after you gave her the cake in exchange for gratitude, you cannot then expect something in return, like a cake for your birthday.  Not that it wouldn't be right for her to make one for you, since she's your friend and it's your birthday and, hey, you made her a birthday cake so she'd like to make you one, too.

So, going back to the parent/child examples, if you ask for and your dad gives you a bike for your twelfth birthday and doesn't ask for anything in return, he can't then turn around ten years later and expect his gift of a bike on your twelfth birthday means you owe him anything, like spending time with him.  You might spend time with him because you want to, but if you don't want to then you don't have to.

Is that it?  Yeah, I think that's pretty much it.  If I think of anything else, I'll post it later.

I'm not too hot on some of their conclusions, but it's funny and it kinda illustrates my point: - 7 Life Altering Decisions Made For You (Before Your Birth) 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Launch of the "Daily Silver," Frankenstein, and Psychology

So I'm going to try something new, in an attempt to write more often (read: every day).  I'm going to do a daily post.  Don't worry, I'm not going to write some deep, meaningful novella every day; I seriously doubt that I could pull it off.  Actually, I'm positive I couldn't.  Anyway, these daily posts will be short, just a list, really, of my (wait for it...) thoughts throughout the day.  Yeah, I said it.  Bite me.  I'm calling it the "Daily Silver" because, well, it's daily, and argent (as in argentwolfwing) is loosely derived from the Latin/Italian for silver.  Think of the chemical symbol for silver, Ag, which stands for its Latin name, argentum.  So: that's that.
My next topic is Frankenstein.  I'm reading the book for humanities, and it's not all that bad.  I mean, I hate Victor with a passion, because he's such a little bitch, but I gather from my friends (who've already read it) that this is a common reaction.  He just leaves the poor creature--runs away, in fact (sorry if I just gave it away for you)--to fend for himself, like running away screaming your bloody head off and leaving a giant, hideous, and potentially dangerous two-year-old to the cruel whims of a vicious world.  Victor Frankenstein is more repulsive than his creature, especially with his obsession with physical beauty to the point of ignoring personality traits.  Which is, of course, his motivation to abandon the creature.  His sole motivation.
And psychology.  I took my first abnormal psych test today, and I am desperately trying to cling to any shred of faith I had in psychology in general, and specifically in my professor.  I mean, he's a nice guy and I don't want to think of him as a dirty lying hypocrite, but sometimes it's hard.  I described my feelings on psychology in another post, and I now have some evidence.  At least, my roommates and I see it as evidence.

On the test today was a question about different types of studies conducted by psychologists.  It read (paraphrasing, of course) "A researcher wants to learn about treatment and anorexia.  She takes a group of women suffering anorexia and divides them arbitrarily into two groups.  One group receives psychotherapy and an FDA-approved drug as a pill, and the other group is given no psychotherapy and a sugar pill (a placebo)."  I couldn't believe it; my professor, a self-professed (ha, a pun!) scientist had written this question, but he had somehow put in two independent variables.  Two freaking independent variables.  Undoubtedly most of you my readers will not feel the same incredulity that I do at this [possible] typo.  This is like trying to tell me that the earth is flat and 6,000 years old or something (which people, btw, do try).  It's like, for lack of a better example, deliberately misquoting my bible.  Okay, better example: it's like saying that the earth is the center of the universe.  Again, people try.  I just shake my head and sigh.
Not all "Daily Silver"s will be this long.  I anticipate many bulleted lists in our future.  But at least I'll be writing!  That's all for today... Ciao!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Tomorrow is my birthday, so I'd like to wish you all a wonderful day.

Sorry that I haven't written in a while; last week was busy.  I had an essay due today, and I was working on it a bit obsessively.  But what is truly rare about this essay is that I not only want to do well on it because I want to do well in the class, but I genuinely love the subject matter and I had to stop myself from writing through the night sometimes.  I would skip other homework because I wanted to write the essay.  The class is parasitology, and the essay was an examination of parasitism.  It was sort of trying to define it, which is harder than you may think.  I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say I really enjoyed writing it and I am quite pleased with it.

Now on to other topics!

On my birthday three years ago I went to school with a grocery bag full of little plastic party favors; you know, just little monsters and finger puppets and the like.  I spent the whole day giving them out to my friends.  At one point I handed one to my friend N and he looked at me a bit strangely and asked me why he was getting something if it was my birthday?  I didn't really have a good answer for him, and I still don't.

I suppose maybe it's that I like all the people around me to be happy, because it makes the air hum.  That's a possible explanation.  But I also like to give people gifts.  I like to see their faces light up, I guess.  I don't know; yeah, it's stupid.  Sorry.

But it's the truth...

So anyway, in lieu of my birthday (which is tomorrow, btw), I'd like to wish you all a wonderful day.  And I'd like to thank you all for reading my blog.  It brightens my day whenever I have comments (which hasn't happened now in a while, aHem) and I love to know that I'm reaching someone.  So: have a wonderful day, do something fun, and come back and tell me what your day was like!  Thanks, y'all!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Musings during the Super Bowl on the Glory of Sports

Sports are about humanity.  Sports are about what it means ("means") to be human.  As overplayed as it is, Queen's song "We Will Rock You" is the epitome of sport.  It's all about fighting and dreaming and reaching.  It's all about violence and peace.  It's all about looking out for number one and raising your brothers and sisters to great heights.

Can you tell I'm watching the Super Bowl?  I apologize, my writing gets really spastic when I'm simultaneously watching tv.

I had someone try to tell me that sports weren't all about violence.  But competition is all violence, or rather the re-routing of it.  It is long recognized that humans have the ability to mask primal urges and emotions.  Some insist this is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, especially other mammals such as dogs, cats, and other primates.  I agree, but I think such controlling tendencies fall somewhere on a continuum... but that discussion is for another day.

Returning to the violence, I would argue it's a part of human nature.  Again, for another day, but if for a moment we assume that this is true then we, as [presumably] civilized creatures need an outlet that doesn't result in World Wars every other day.  That outlet?  We wear pads instead of plate armor and throw pigskin instead of grenades.  Yes, we still certainly throw each other to the ground and ram our shoulders into stomachs and sternums, but after everyone's lying in a heap we all help each other up and pat each other on the back.

My examples are all specific to football (American football, that is) but that's because I'm sitting in front of the tv watching the game right now.  I can certainly apply this repurposing of violence to other sports.  For instance, my friend asked, what about golf?  To which I replied, it's still competition, and some way to test your physical prowess.  Perhaps you aren't physically confronting someone but the object of the sport is still to best someone else in a test of evolutionary fitness.  And after all, you are hitting something.

I feel like I just made sports a bad thing for some people.  I didn't intend it as such, and I hope my readers will understand that what I wanted to convey was the majesty of human ingenuity.  We found a way to funnel our need for war into productive activity.  We better ourselves through the act of playing sports, in body, in mind, and in spirit.

By the way, I just like football.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What you see when you aren't really looking

Seen from the corner of your eye…  Perhaps something's real-er when you see it out of the corner of your eye.  Because when you look head-on at something, you don't see everything.  Take stars; have you ever been told to look sideways at stars?  More importantly, have you ever done it?  More stars are visible when you're looking just to the left/to the right/below/above the stars.  It has to do with the cornea wearing out or becoming opaque or the photoreceptors at the center of the retina wearing out or something like that.  Well, close enough.

Maybe that's why children can see ghosts and monsters and the like.  Maybe when you see something out of the corner of your eye, it's real and what you see when you look is not.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pondering the soul, and what it means to have one. Also, assuming I do.

All I can see is land and sky.  That seems like a lot, even everything, I suppose, but when it's just the land and the sky, a horizon way off as far as I can see, and nothing else, now that's something.  Yeah, that's something.  No houses, not any buildings to block the skyline, make it irregular.  Not even any plants.  No trees, or shrubs, or even grasses.  I can see forever.

But obviously I can't; if I could see forever I'd see all the buildings and trees on the other side of that horizon.  And I can't, because I'm gloriously alone.  I can see the sun in the sky; it's big and yellow, hanging there like it's got nowhere else to go.  Well, it doesn't really.  It's stuck in place, because what's going to move the sun?  Objects in motion tend to stay in motion; objects at rest tend to stay at rest, or some such thing.  It's sitting in space, a big, fat, lazy ball of simmering plasma, and it's not going to move, dammit.
New Smiley for the sMirC-series. dead
Like this guy.
But me, I move.  I move all the time.  I can't stay still, and this is not just me.  Animals have to move all the time.  Stop moving, and you're dead.  Not just that you'll die, but a state of immobility is the definition of death.  I guess.  Yeah, that works; death is just you being still.  Your heart doesn't beat, your diaphragm doesn't contract or relax, your blood doesn't circulate, your neurons don't fire and the ions don't dance around the synapses.  You're still.  Your soul doesn't move you, because it's not there anymore.

Every living thing has a… soul… for lack of a better term.  The fifth element.  Life.  We are all made up of the five elements: water is in our blood and our breath and our cells; earth is in our tissues, muscle and bone, tendon and ligament; air is the stuff we breathe, and it fills our bodies, allows them shape; fire is in the chemical processes that keep us alive, in thought and movement.  The fifth element, I'll call it the soul, is in everything.  Those reactions, that fire, that moves us and keeps us, don't have to work.  They do work, but nothing except some force means they have to do so.

If I was so inclined, this is where I'd find God. Or gods. It isn't though; they come in elsewhere. Because they have to be made of something, too, right? Even if they're just some pseudo-corporeal manifestation of energy, like particles of light. Sure, two hydrogens and an oxygen are attracted to each other, and they form this molecule called water, but nothing really says they have to. I mean, why? Why is the question of the hour, isn't it? Sure, glucose goes through the chemical process of respiration, and it involves oxygen, and the atoms and electrons dance and we get ATP, which holds energy in the bonds in its phosphate tail. But why? Ask a biologist, she'll start talking about metabolic pathways and evolution, if she is so incline. Ask a chemist; he'll just go back to electron transfers and oxidation numbers and electronegativity. Ask a physicist; he'll talk about the laws of thermodynamics, and matter and energy. Ask a philosopher; he'll probably spout some nonsense about JCGod or a greater power, or if he's a Marxist he'll probably just say something about the good of the whole (note to self: find a Nihilist and ask about why chemical reactions work). But none of them get to the root of it, and this is where human finds religion.

Model of the atom by Ernest Rutherford.
Nope, not here.
Or faith; I have faithReligion (see definition #2) is such a deplorable word.  Burdened with the pain and hatred and guilt and sorrow and zealotry and filth of ages of men and women.  I choose to believe (and I know this is right, but I recognize that my knowledge is reached and accepted in the same way as a priest thumps his JCBible (but he's wrong, I know, for isn't that the basis of faith)) that this fifth element is natural in origin, as the other four.  But what is natural?  JCGod (the god of Christians and Jews and Muslims, and many others I suppose) is a manmade thing; a creation of short-sighted minds fumbling in the dark abyss of space (where they oughtn't be).  They seek an answer where there is not one that is solid, that men can cling to like the slick board tossed in a feral sea.

My fifth element, life, soul, is not concrete in the sense that the JCBible is.  Well, to point out the obvious, the JCBible is an actual book, that I can go to Barnes & Noble and purchase and hold in my hands.  And, may I point out, write in.  But even more than that, there is an intelligence, a design behind those words, those ideas, that I just cannot find in the world.  I reach my faith from observation and long hours of introspection, not from the fantastic (albeit entertaining) ramblings of some random dude(s).

It's not kool aid; whatever are you talking about?
I entertained the idea of a "cult" of sorts, mostly to screw with the norm, though.  I do think it would be fun, certainly interesting, to tell other people what I know.  I mean, I'll tell people what I know, and if they then know it too, that's cool.  But I think there should observation and introspection involved in formulating your own faith.  Faith is very much an individual thing.  That is not saying that there are not aspects for sharing.  Feasts and celebrations are great times for sharing, and in this way I understand the attraction of a church.  In a church, or a temple, or any other sort of religious community, people can find just that: community.  There is a comfort to being with people who believe in the world the same way as do you.  I understand that completely; I wish there was just such a community that I could be part of.  However, there is one basic difference in the formation of community and shared celebration, and in a church-like community: faith is not at all a group endeavour.  Religion is a group endeavor, and, as we have already discussed, I view "religion" as a word not to be spoken without full comprehension of the weight and meaning behind it.

And that's where religion goes wrong; people believe these things that they do not know (and in this statement, I hope you've been paying attention, because in the context of these ramblings of mine, "know," as well as other key words, mean something other than they normally mean in everyday conversation).  It's kind of ludicrous.  There is no truth but one's own; what may be true for you may not be true for me.  This is hard for many to grasp; I myself have struggled a lot with this one.  But I have finally come to the conclusion that truth, like time and perception (and because of perception), is relative.