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Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Everything Matters.... I Think. Or Maybe I Don't Think.

...Or should I ask does *nothing* matter?

On July 30, 1995, Bill Watterson had a strip of ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ that depicted the curious boy and his tiger (stuffed, although often appearing as his imaginary friend) riding in their little red wagon and discussing how people look for meaning in everything that they do. Calvin went on to muse about whether or not there is any meaning to anything. It all came down to what if nothing really matters? Or what if everything matters?

The strip ended with the question, "Which would be worse?" That got me to thinking, and then consequently, not thinking. What if we stopped thinking about anything or everything. Would anything ever matter and what would be the effects of that.

I think that second idea is a far more interesting question to ponder than if everything mattered to everyone because if it did we’d have a world full of people on the verge of nervous breakdowns because of all the things they would be concerned about. But conversely, maybe we would have a lot less problems in the world as a result of everyone caring about everything.

Now, let’s put this on a personal level that you can relate to. Suppose I stopped thinking (and caring) about something really small. Say, like dusting. Suppose dusting didn’t matter to me anymore. Not that I care a great deal for it anyway, but that’s besides the point. If I stop dusting, I could also stop vacuuming – same result using a different function to accomplish it. Someday that could get me to the point where we can’t see the TV for all the dust on the screen. And it could lead to an increase in allergies, at least to dust.

That could also lead to the carpets and couches needing replacing eventually because they may be ruined from the dust and resultant changes in moisture in the air. Cobwebs would take over the house, which would lead to needing to learn to cohabitate with many spiders. That would be a fate worse than death, according to me and I’m sure that B would agree.

If the lack of dusting also extends to washing windows and cleaning crumbs off the counter, I might be obscuring light and creating an environment ripe for roaches and ants. I could just go on and on and on.

This is a stretch of the imagination, I know. But its also an example of how something as simple as deciding to not care about something can go horribly astray. Of course, does stopping thinking about something make it not exist any longer? Ah, that’s a question for another day I suppose.

Here’s one, in light of the fact that I spoke about ‘Calvin and Hobbes’: If good things lasted forever, would we really appreciate them? Now that’s always a question that’s worth pursuing an answer to. And I think it’s a rather easy pursuit as well. If good things - like bubble gum, comic books, and ice cream – those particular economies and demands would diminish. But we’re not really talking about physical goods here.

What if long summer days where the weather is just perfect lasted forever? What if winter storms that keep us cuddled by a fire with hot chocolate and a good movie lasted forever? What if we were always happy, always content? Things would get awfully redundant and boring fast, don’t you think? You have to have endings to truly enjoy new beginnings. You have to have not-happy things happening to recognize when you're feeling really happy about something. You have to be without something, or witness someone without something, to appreciate all that you have around you. You can’t have things last forever and appreciate the blessings that come with them.

At least that’s my view at the moment that I’m writing this. So go appreciate your blessings and have a wonderful day.

I owe my thanks to a sportswriter I know for the inspiration for this blog, since he sent me the comic strip in email a couple of months back, and I've been tussling with getting my thoughts out about it since then.