Carbon-based bags of water

This description amuses me.

I heard it many years ago on television. It was an observation made by a silicon-based life form when confronted with a human being.

Over the years I've reflected on both its accuracy and usefulness.

Stunning in its simplicity, it stops my mind in its tracks. And anything that can throw the brakes on that puppy is a keeper!


Consider that biology tells the story of our physical relationship to the moment. This particular, specific, fleeting arc in time and space. Observation confirms that our bodies are electrically charged carbon-based bags of water, sloshing about, programmed to replicate.

Above all else, to reproduce.

And funnily enough, the machine language programming of the body operates WAY below our conscious radar.

So, basically, we're charging around most of the time without the slightest notion of why. Our nature, unbounded and intent on it's own evolution, is unrelated to the stories we tell ourselves later.

The mind is arrested as it considers the implications.

If consciousness rests atop such a self directed system, surfing surges of adrenaline, seeking opioid peptides and oxytocin, can the mind be much more than errant gusts of neurochemistry?

Telling stories, after the fact, of triumph, loss, power, glory, fame, recognition, comfort - dare I say love?

The rants of a hyperbolic tabloid journalist held hostage by a chemist?

Precious, careful, important stories reduced to the interpretations of a dramatist perched inside a slurping, burping, sleeping, eating bag of chemicals?

What possible dominion could the mind possess?

The mind's struggle slows.

The chance to observe the story expands.

Something peaceful unfolds.


"Star Trek: The Next Generation" episode "Home Soil".

"Sperm Wars: The Science of Sex", R. Baker, http://tinyurl.com/qku63e

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