Ad Infinitum and Practical Pacemakers

Lightning is the visual expression of thunder.

Thunder is the sonic expression of lightning.

While those two statements may seem either absurd or obvious (or contradictory…or not), I think they merit contemplation. If nothing else, they force a shift in perspective. I suspect thousands of similar observations (or claims, depending on one’s frame of mind and generosity of spirit, or lack thereof) could be made.

Back to those two statements, though. The first one is incorrect. Both imply causation. Thunder does not cause lightning; lightning, the discharge of atmospheric electricity, results in (or can result in) thunder. Thunder cannot occur without the sudden expansion of air in the path of the electrical discharge which must, obviously, come first.

Damn! I’ve allowed pure facts to interfere with the point I was trying to make! Regardless of the physics involved, it’s realistic to gravitate, mentally, to one perspective or the other. I suppose people for whom the right side of the brain is dominant would allow physics to take a back seat, whereas left-brained people would seek out logic. But, wait! The long-held belief that the right side of the brain controls creativity and the left side controls logic is, apparently, a myth! The myth has quite a history of “scientific” evidence, the level of rigorousness of which has for the past few years been called into question. The widely-held perspective among scientists today is that, although different parts of the brain control different parts of the body (and the mind), the left-right logical-creative split is not true.

I vaguely remember writing a blog post a few years ago in which I suggested the twenty-six letters of he alphabet, even combined in every conceivable way, would eventually be insufficient to capture all the beauty of which the English language is capable. The suggestion was tongue-in-cheek, of course, but it held a kernel of real belief. I applied the idea to my own writing capabilities, thinking I would at some point literally run out of anything new to write. Mathematics, on the other hand, is infinite. Not only is there a limitless supply of numbers, they can be combined in an infinite number of ways. The relationships between numbers and the relationships between relationships are so incredibly numerous that even the hint that one might eventually use them all up is ludicrous.

Considering the two sentences with which I started this post, along with the paragraph I just completed, it seems obvious to me that an infinite number of combinations of words and numbers and ideas and relationships constitutes only a fraction of the possible pairings or groupings. So we can merge ideas with dreams and facts with imagination and numbers with fantasy and on and on and on, ad infinitum.


On a completely unrelated matter, a friend in the hinterlands of northern Arkansas had a pacemaker installed yesterday afternoon. It was done after a lengthy period of experiencing syncope, the cause of which, until just a few days ago was unknown. A heart monitor finally determined that a recent syncope episode corresponded with his heart stopping for several seconds. Finally, the doctors figured out the cause of the syncope. The obvious treatment was to install a pacemaker. Perhaps we’ll be able to visit them in the next month or two to celebrate a brand-new pacemaker!

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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