I think I was in the bathroom doing bathroom-y things, and I noticed the brand new carpet in my apartment. Something so simple threw me down a scientific and philosophical rabbit hole, which I forgot about until just now discussing dreams about pizza. Not sure why, but that’s the point, right?
My old apartment didn’t have new carpets installed before I moved in, but I didn’t mind. Lived-in carpet can give an apartment a particular airy feeling without being brand new. It gives off carpet-vibes, if you will. But the new carpet, and the new carpet padding underneath, is springy and shiny. The rooms feel cleaner somehow even though packing materials, wires, and tools clutter the corners.
This is too slow; let’s go faster.
The carpet got installed over 2 days by a pair of (or maybe 3) carpet installer type people. The carpet was made in a factory somewhere, and the carpet pads were made in a different factory somewhere else. Those factories use machines, and those machines use power, provide jobs for hundreds of people. One would hope it’s not a factory worker’s only source of income, but maybe it is. Maybe 3 factory workers are from the same family, and all live in a vibrant but low-income neighborhood with other people. There are billions of people who don’t have carpet… I wonder if the factory workers get a discount?
Carpet’s also only a few hundred years old. Turkish rugs have been in cartoons for decades. But wall-to-wall carpet has got to be something new within the last 60 years. Before carpet, there was stone, wood, dirt, sand, grass. Nomadic people had carpet, and they shared it with ants and grasshoppers and ladybugs.
Grass is made up of biological cells, complex proteins or whatever, that’ve somehow assembled themselves using sunlight, watering patterns, soil nutrients, and parts of other living things. I have no idea how this happened, but isn’t that unbelievable? Add on top of that a global ecosystem that lets grass grow — fucking grow — in a staggering number of places on the planet.
THE FUCKING PLANET! How did this thing even get assembled? Ball of rock collides with another ball of not-rock and somehow creates a rock/not-rock hybrid. The hybrid decided it wanted to orbit a giant ball of rock (currently and mostly always on fire) and hang out in tandem with some other rocks that probably wouldn’t have hung around except this hybrid and the giant fireball seemed so awesome, any self-respecting rock would never pass up a chance to be a part of something special.
Like the fucking solar system. Ours is one of millions, which were all formed through their own unique story (though I’ll bet there are a lot of spin-offs). We the people of Earth may never EVER visit another one, but we have at least built up enough to see that they exist! We see other planets, claim they share our origin stories, analyze and deduce that they are habitable, capable of supporting at least our own essential life requirements, and possibly something else’s. AND! We decide through the magic of science how long they have been around: scales of time larger than anything we’ve ever known!
The Big Bang happened thirteen point seven billion years ago: 13,700,000,000 years. Earth has been around for 4,600,000,000 years. North America was probably formed 4,000,000,000 years ago. The first organism was probably formed 3,600,000,000 years ago. The first human-type person was probably formed 2,400,000 years ago. The first language was probably formed 1,800,000 years ago. The first ship was made 120,000 years ago. The first indigenous migration to North America was probably 12,000 years ago. North America was probably discovered by Europeans 519 years ago. The United States of America was founded 235 years ago. I was born 27 years ago.
Carpet, grass, televisions, neighborhoods, factories, ships, language, armadillos, pizzas, they all exist on Earth and (until any of us know better) Earth alone. Somehow humans have been able to harness universe-unique things and make other universe-unique things. And somehow, the universe-unique thing that is my own consciousness can ponder all of this.
Perspective. Fuck yeah.