He who wherever he goes is attached
to no person and to no place by ties of flesh;
who accepts good and evil alike,
neither welcoming the one
nor shirking from the other—
take it that such a one has attained

~ Bhagavad Gita ~


The impossibility of understanding life accompanies us all our days. When, finally, we admit our inability to comprehend the incomprehensible, we stop attempting to explain the inexplicable. But the eternal mystery and the perpetual curiosity last as long as life confounds our capacity to know. Are those everlasting questions finally stilled? What happens to consciousness when it ceases to exist as awareness? Does it simply disappear, or does it change into another form—one that also defies the physical laws by which we define our existence?  Perhaps consciousness is the manifestation of a kind of energy we do not recognize, but that we take for granted. Unlike the physical world, it seems that consciousness cannot be precisely measured and cataloged. Some say sleep is the closest we can come to death without actually dying. Others argue that only total under total anesthesia are we utterly without consciousness and, therefore, in a death-like state. I doubt both—because both experiences take place in conjunction with a functioning physical body, one in which a connection, regardless of how tenuous, exists between two “living” states of being. Consciousness, therefore is still “there.” In death, consciousness has transformed into something no one fully understands.


Now, on a completely different note, the matter at hand is this: I have had a hankering for nachos for the last day or two. Not the kind of nachos you might find at a stadium or movie theater—chips drenched in soupy yellow-orange cheese-like goo. The nachos I’m after consist of corn chips individually spread with refried beans and topped with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and slices of pickled jalapeños. But the ones I plan to make will be made even more delightful with the addition of magnificent chorizo imported from Arizona. If I were more energetic, I might make them for breakfast, but I must direct my morning energy, instead, to blowing leaves off the driveway before they become soaked, slippery, and ultimately slimy and steadfastly stuck to the concrete. So, the nachos will have to wait until lunchtime or dinnertime. I hope I can wait that long.


This morning, I awoke early—roughly 4:30—to the sounds of a yowling cat. I got up, fed the beast, and attempted to blog. Twice I was interrupted by the cat, who insisted on sitting on my chest as I leaned back in my desk chair and massaged her face and neck and front legs. When I stopped and put her down, she seemed miffed for a few minutes and then confirmed her miffitude by yowling even more. She was extremely unhappy when, after I was notified by text and email that my grocery order was ready, I left to pick up the order. Poor creature; she believes my failure to respond instantly to her every wish is equivalent to the cruelty of physical abuse.


Time to finish my third espresso, then blow leaves. Perhaps food will follow. And, maybe I will return to my philosophical inquisitiveness. I want to know what constitutes life. It is not simply the absence of death. It is something far more complex, but not necessarily any more meaningful. If there is any true meaning in either.


I learned this morning that prothrombin is a plasma protein involved in blood coagulation that, on activation by factors in the plasma, is converted to thrombin. I had no reason to learn that fascinating fact, but I did it, anyway. I doubt I will retain that knowledge.

About John Swinburn

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