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Transcendent moments in your life

  1. May 23, 2013 #1
    I've just finished watching an interview with Richard Dawkins, where he describes what he considers to be transcendent moments during his life and career. I'd like to know what experiences members here have had which you may also describe as transcendent, and to what extent you would attribute them to your interest in science. I've certainly had more than I can count on both hands and for many different reasons.

    Many which I would definitely attribute to my interest in science would include:

    1) The pale blue dot, along with Carl Sagan's transcript. Cosmic humility that completely changed my outlook on life overnight. I can be walking down the street and that photo will flash before my eyes, it reminds me not to take things too seriously when I'm down.
    2) Simply trying to comprehend the vastness of our galaxy, of time and space, the totality of existence, and discovering that time is relative.
    3) The diversity of nature, the complexity of living things at the molecular level of the cell, and the history and depth of the earth.
    4) Reading the implications of quantum theory and string theory.
    5) Climbing Mount Sinai in 2008, I had the most spectacular view of the night sky followed by sunrise, but my understanding of stars and the distances involved made it seem so much more inspiring.
    6) Seeing the moon close up, and observing other planets through my Dad's telescope.


    1) My visit to the Chernobyl zone, which was like a glimpse into the apocalypse.
    2) Witnessing the eclipse as a kid. I didn't really understand what was happening or why, nevertheless it was a brilliant sight that I remember well.
    3) Climbing mountains, and caving.

    How about everyone else?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2013 #2
    Most of mine are traveling experiences

    1. Hiking to Kala Patthar and seeing Everest in the background.
    2. Volunteering in a Tanzania orphanage
    3. Watching a sunset while camping on a sand dune outside Siwa Oasis
    4. Walking through the Genocide museums in both Rwanda and Cambodia
    5. Dancing in the street with drunk villagers in a remote nothern thai village

    many more powerful moments!
  4. May 23, 2013 #3
    I envy you. I don't have the good fortune to be able to travel. Well. I'm only 17, maybe someday I will.
  5. May 23, 2013 #4
    I have transcendent moments probably several times a week. One of my more memorable, and recent, ones was when I climbed a radio tower in my city so that I could get a view of my city in its entirety; it's a decent sized town, but has little to no large buildings that provide a view, so I thought that I would find a way. It was truly exhilerating and the climb up was just as wonderful as the view at the top.

    And to clarify the frequency of my transcendent moments; I have this habit of always looking up at things, so I'm often dazzled by large structures, beautiful assortments of clouds with sunlight or moonlight breaking through in unique ways, and I'm a bit of an amateur astronomer, so I often get to look at objects millions upon millions of miles away that are truly wonderful to see.
  6. May 24, 2013 #5


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    Cheryl in the back seat of a '67 Cougar. I'm not going to give you any details, and it had nothing to do with science.
  7. May 24, 2013 #6


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    Lol, I would have guessed it would have been right about a second, after...

    "Full flaps, dammit! That's a tennis court!"

    'Coruse, I also understand about Cheryl in the back seat of a '67 Cougar.

    That was a pretty nice car... I might have made her ride back there, too... :tongue:... :rofl:

    OCR... lol
  8. May 24, 2013 #7


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    Fly-fishing the whole length of Austin stream from the pond to the Kennebec river. A fairly regular occurrence.

    Eating Penrose lamb tongues and pickled eggs on such trips, when I could afford them.

    Sleeping outside in a netted hammock when the house got too hot.

    Diving into the books (cheap hardcover copies of classics) that had been stored in the walk-in closet that became my bedroom when my parents bought a house.

    Nothing too exciting, but that's what you get here in the woods. I once chased a cow moose out of our vegetable garden, though that might have been quite foolhardy had she stood her ground. Moose are HUGE and I should have had more smarts, but at 10-11 years old, I wasn't able to make rational choices.
  9. May 24, 2013 #8


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    Looking at the Milky Way and the seemingly endless universe in contrast to the luminescent sea from our wake in the middle of the ocean during a total blackout on a ship in the navy. The fact that we were also smoking Thai Stick may have also enhanced the moment. :biggrin:
  10. May 24, 2013 #9


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    Sitting on my patio last spring with my dog, the Fruit Bat, sitting on my lap, enjoying the cool breeze, thinking how great life was with him, just days before he died suddenly of heart failure.
  11. May 25, 2013 #10
    I'm sorry :frown:
  12. May 25, 2013 #11


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    Naaah... the flying was over 20 years prior to that. Also, I couldn't dictate the location because it was her car. (I'm just glad that my wife never found out about it...)
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