Okay, so I finally watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special from 2011 titled “The Doctor, Widow and the Wardrobe,” and reminded myself that I need to remind myself that I need to ask the question that famous SF author Connie Willis is constantly reminding herself to ask: “Do apes have souls?”
In this case, of course, the question would be better re-worded to ask whether trees have souls, and I’ll remind myself to do that at the end of this post. But the sentiment is the same, isn’t it?
- Reminder: Be sure to ask this question in multiple venues, including the office, church, and the next cocktail party I go to.
- Reminder: Note the reactions. The last time you did this people rolled their eyes and mumbled excuses to wander away.
But do they? Do trees have souls? Individually? Collectively? Are they … Borg? Speaking of Borg, did you know that in one of the 1960s’ Doctor Who episodes the Daleks told The Doctor “resistance was useless”? Coincidence? Doubtful. Germane to this blog? Not in the least.
It’s a touching episode — “The Doctor, Widow, and the Wardrobe” — and even though I’m not a fan of C.S. Lewis, I found the homage delightful. It’s certainly heart-warming, with a great time-travel paradox to wrap things up in a Christmastime bow. Those always give me that “ooh ah” sense of wonder I love so much.
But I really did start waxing idiotic about the soul again. It’s an ages-old question that won’t be solved here, but the question still lingers like the downed tree in the forest that nobody heard fall except Walt Whitman.
The answer is another question: Do we really know? The atheist says he knows, and the theist says that he knows, while the Buddhist simply says to the hot dog vender: make me one with everything.
But if we have souls, then are our souls unique? Or, are we part of a greater collective soul? A collective consciousness, one German called it. And is that the destiny of all living things? Is that part of evolution? Amy Pond is certainly part of evolution. She’s pictured to the right, even though she — like The Borg — has nothing to do with this post. Now that my obligatory lecherousness is out of the way, I can pose a few more questions, bullet-style:
- Ever wonder about entities that might become alive?
- Like a virus, or the Internet.
- Can there be a collective RNA?
- Will a sentient Internet have a collective consciousness?
- What if the plants and the trees and the birds and the bees are all part of our consciousness?
- Whither the lions and tigers and bears?
And then, … and then, … and then you have to ask, does the universe itself have a consciousness? Here are some more bullets for your consideration:
- Is the universe alive?
- Is the universe’s life force the same as what we call God?
- Did Luke use The Force?
- Why did my team just run 3 draw-plays in a row?
- What about parallel universes? Do they get souls, too?
It’s an interesting question isn’t it? There are roughly 1082 particles in the universe. What if they all compose a single mind? Are they (it?) the source of morality, of genius … of art? And what do we do about that one rebel (there’s always one) among us who asks, what about particle number 1082 + 1?
Is that lonely electron on its own?
One is, as the song says, the loneliest number.
That’s all for now. Just some simple questions to ponder over a mug of beer (or six). Oh, and remind me to talk about Doctor Who next time I post. That really is what this blog is all about. Well, that, and hot dogs.
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