Is it natural to be scared?

  • Thread starter MathJakob
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  • #51
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Oh, you people are going to be so sorry you got me started on cockroaches ...

My grandmother, born in 1914, had some weird habits, including, as I noticed when I was about 5, sleeping with cotton in her ears. I asked mom why she did this, to which she replied, "Grandma doesn't want roaches to crawl into her ears."

If ever an answer required elaboration, it was this one. "That can happen?!? Why??" I'm pretty sure I wasn't screaming.

"No, of course not. She's just being careful. You know how she is." And I did know, but still, being the budding scientist, I sought more data. At that young age, I was already aware of observer bias, and I had observed that mom thought grandma was crazy. I had developed my own hypothesis, viz; us kids were too damn loud. I had plenty of anecdotal evidence to support this.

"Grandma, why do you sleep with cotton in your ears?"

She looked at me as if to judge my ability to hear a hard truth. Then, "When I was a little girl, a roach crawled into my ear when I was asleep. I could hear it crawling around.:-) " She gave me a knowing look. "They do that to make you crazy. Finally the doctors had to pour poison into my ear to kill it."

I only tried to sleep with cotton in my ears for a few weeks, until I rationalized that she was, indeed, crazy-ish. It's really uncomfortable, and definitely a liability when trying to detect a little brother ambush.

Years later, after her death, I ran into my great uncle, and related the tale, expecting a chuckle or two. Uh, no. Very seriously, he explained her behavior.

When grandma was 8 or 9, a cockroach had indeed crawled into her ear. And, indeed, it had made her a bit crazy. Finally, a doctor making a house call (look that up on Wikipedia, kids,) poured mineral oil into her ear, either: a) flushing it out, or b) killing it in situ.

That uncertainty made me a bit crazy for awhile, too, also.

So, to get back OT, uh, I guess I'm saying, be careful about what questions you ask?
Awesome story!
 
  • #52
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I completely agree, I am not scared in that aspect, I'm scared that I will not be able to comprehend the next greatest discovery... I hate the feeling of thinking you understand the world you live in (on a basic level) and then something even more outrageous comes along and however difficult it is to believe and understand, it's the truth.

Quantum entanglement for example is the next thing which just defies all logic and understanding. Although I don't think it's proven yet but if it turns out that 2 particles really are interconnected and what happens to one, happens to the other instantly then that to me is just nuts... It's literally like Alice in wonderland and I'm Alice.

I know the feeling but it inspires me to work harder rather than scare me. I like being Alice as you put it. I think it is that feeling of childish wonder at the chaos of the universe and its underlying order that I live for. To me knowledge is my nectar and a life without searching for it is one I do not care for. The fact there is something yet to be learnt is the onw thing that makes me going. I remember reading about relativity when I was thirteen, (Dead famous: Albert Einstein was the book I think) I just couldn't stop thinking about it and it was that child's awe at the universe that was the greatest thing I ever felt . I have chased that feeling ever since.....

So no it doesn't scare me. What scares me is that someday I may not have anything more to learn and wonderland will have no more wonders for me.......
 
  • #53
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So no it doesn't scare me. What scares me is that someday I may not have anything more to learn and wonderland will have no more wonders for me.......

That seems pretty optimistic.

I suspect the human race will fail to solve the ultimate mysteries of universe within our lifetimes. Or even uncover the question whose answer is "42." :confused:
 
  • #54
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That seems pretty optimistic.

I suspect the human race will fail to solve the ultimate mysteries of universe within our lifetimes. Or even uncover the question whose answer is "42." :confused:

To me that's my worst nightmare....

And how about 6*7
 
  • #55
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To me that's my worst nightmare....

And how about 6*7

Too literal. Try "How many roads must a man walk down?"

(Thanks to Douglas Adams.)
 
  • #56
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Too literal. Try "How many roads must a man walk down?"

(Thanks to Douglas Adams.)

Much better :p
 
  • #57
DennisN
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I suspect the human race will fail to solve the ultimate mysteries of universe within our lifetimes.

I agree. As an example, the physics list of open questions is long. But we should keep trying! :smile:

But when I come to think of it, we may not even know which the ultimate mysteries are... Hmm, I guess I need to get some coffee.
 
  • #58
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Oops. I was trying to do something else and accidentally did something wrong.

Carry on.
 
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