Satiric Spleen With a Pinch of Smiley Melancholy

Si le ciel et la mer sont noirs comme de l’encre, nos cœurs que tu connais sont remplis de rayons!

Photo by Dan V on Unsplash

Some folks seem to have this rather unique feature of being able to play surgeon on their own soul. They seem to have more awareness of their inner gears and levers, and they write about life as they know it in a very unique style, which I can only describe as Satiric Spleen with a pinch of Smiley Melancholy, if that makes any sense. Like trying to frame the absurdity of life in deadpan humor.

Yes, life can sound like tragedy met with quiet laugh. Life is absurd if you bother to think about it for a couple of minutes. We should not even be here. Life hangs to such tiny probabilities that our very existence is a challenge to the universe. But the real question is mind twisting.

Could the universe even exist if there was no life to witness it? 

Could the universe exist if it was not imagined?

So yeah, Satiric Spleen with a pinch of Smiley Melancholy, until you realize at some point, albeit with a bit of irony, that your life, this miserable and finite comedy, might still underpin the existence of a universe.

And then, standing at the doorstep of this realization, would you not long for something else? Would you not reach further and try to find some kind of hope? Hope that Life itself, with a big L, is at the inception of this universe and that we hold parts of it in us? 

Some would call it God. I know I would. It makes much more sense that way.

If you are wondering about the French subtitle, it is an excerpt of a poem by Charles Baudelaire, which I thought befits the state of ming of a satirist spleener indulging in smiley melancholy. Here is a part of it.

Ô Mort, vieux capitaine, il est temps ! levons l’ancre !
Ce pays nous ennuie, ô Mort ! Appareillons !
Si le ciel et la mer sont noirs comme de l’encre,
Nos cœurs que tu connais sont remplis de rayons !

Verse-nous ton poison pour qu’il nous réconforte !
Nous voulons, tant ce feu nous brûle le cerveau,
Plonger au fond du gouffre, Enfer ou Ciel, qu’importe ?
Au fond de l’Inconnu pour trouver du nouveau !

This essay was inspired to me by the stories of Mike Knittel, great surgeon of the human soul and inner gear specialist before the eternal. Oh and a masterful satirist spleener who takes you to introspective depths with few words, a pinch of Satire, and a tea spoon of irony.

Let the board sound


On a time twisting speed limit

“Let there be light”

Photo by Tsuyoshi Kozu

“Let there be light.” According to Genesis 1:3, this is how it all started. If we keep pulling on the metaphorical thread though, we might realize there is more to it.

It is by these words that the universe was stamped with a seal over which no trespassing is possible. This seal is the speed of light. It bears a name, c, and its value is known, 299 792 458 meters per second. A universal speed limit imposed on everything, or more precisely on anything which has mass, energy or which can hold information, so pretty much everything of interest. Nothing can go faster, not even light itself.

We only came to know about this seal in the beginning of the 20th century, when Einstein uncovered it in his theory of relativity. He discovered that it is an absolute limit, true everywhere, anywhere, regardless of the frame of reference you are in. A perfect boundary. A mind twisting one too, or rather a time twisting one. You see the higher the speed at which you travel, the slower time passes for you. Relativity again. The effect is tiny and beyond measurable for ordinary everyday speeds. It becomes dramatic however for speeds approaching c. Even time is not absolute in the vicinity of the ultimate speed limit.

We know today that there are hard limits in our universe, like the speed of light, the absolute zero or the uncertainty principle. Unlike previous epochs where so called science was rooted in the Scriptures, which lead the sun to revolve around the earth and Galilei’s life to jeopardy, these relatively modern limits are the fruits of scientific theories which have been experimentally verified over and again. They are as real as it gets. Bottom-line: Impossible is something, impossible is certain. Impossible is universal, by design may I say.

And maybe it is a good thing. It puts us back in perspective: our lives are too short to tame the impossible, but they are long enough to chase it: that’s called fundamental research for some, endeavor for others, adventure if you will, and that is what keeps dreams alive and humanity going forward.

To Maroun and Liliane

Let the board sound