Thursday, March 12, 2009

Horseshoes, Sneakers, and the Meaning of Life

Horseshoes, Sneakers, and the search for the meaning of life

It is common knowledge that nature finds elegant solutions to problems and amazing answers to questions. This ability of nature is evident in every aspect of life and the lessons nature has for us are manifold - from the mathematical patterns that ants follow in their foraging to the amazing navigation of bees, to the structure and strength of balsa wood and bamboo.

I could go on and on about the solutions nature has found to problems but you already know all about it. We are all aware of the fact. And we have only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to seeing the ways nature has solved problems.

Of course, this is what the sneakers are about.

I have these really great pair of sneakers that are comfortable and feel really good to run in. They were a gift and I didn't at first realize they were horseshoe shaped underneath - until one morning when I ran in a light coating of snow. Upon a second lap I noticed the horseshoes!
They seem to be very well designed and very comfortable. And an interesting thing about them is the very subtle clip-clopping sound my feet make as I run. It seems to be a kind of feedback and I can get a good sense for the evenness of my running by this subtle clip-clopping. It makes me wonder if horses use their ears to monitor and correct their running?

But, About man and nature:

I do have a couple of criticisms about these sneakers though. First off, in the picture you can see that the horseshoes are backwards! The open end is toward the front.. hmmmm.... And secondly, a horseshoe is not a creation of nature, it is a man made invention that is put on the foot of a horse. I am willing to bet that a sneaker designed after a real horses foot would be even better than the horse shoe design. Just a thought.

Now on to the Chatauqua

There are two distinct parts to this. The first part is the obvious part and in the second part I will be a bit more penetrating.

What nature has to say about the meaning of life

First Part: First of all she says to live according to how you are supposed to live, do the things you were meant to do, in the ways you were meant to do them. Second, be the piece of the puzzle you were meant to be, the good of the whole is good for you too. Eat, sleep, drink, procreate, be fecund, contribute to the circle in the way you do. All of this is easy but is there more?

Second Part: Yes, I believe there is more. I believe you should be grateful and thankful for this mystery and this existence. And this is evident in nature. I have a reasonable proof of creatures actually being grateful here (The thankyou bird)

And you should enjoy and appreciate the mystery of life and your existence in it. I am certain that my cat diitto does. He really revels in the joy of his life and the beauty of things, particularly in springtime. The philosophers Garden

Now for the really hard question. What is the "purpose" of all this? Is it simply to be? Is it to enjoy and appreciate the gift? Is it something more? Is it much less? What is nature showing us?

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