Warren Ellis writes:
Every single goddamned day a new idea just falls out of the sky.
Who’d want to live anywhere else?
Which naturally brings to mind this recent xkcd strip and the pretty terrific Discovery Channel commercial that inspired it. That sheer joy of being alive, of learning new things, and not knowing which new thing is going to happen next. Seriously, I think I could watch the commercial for hours and not grow tired of it.*
I’m also reminded of two other things. First, this quote from T. H. White’s The Once and Future King:
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
And the other, oddly enough, is Doctor Who, which admittedly has been on my mind of late, as I’ve been watching both this new season and some of the older episodes.** One of the things I really love about the show, in just about all its incarnations, is the obvious joy the Doctor brings to his new encounters. Dangerous aliens? Spooky monsters? Impossible situations? Sounds like fun!
The world can be a dangerous, difficult and scary place sometimes. But it can also be just…awesome.
* Although that enthusiasm is tempered somewhat by Barney the Purple Dinosaur’s version. In my six years of summer camp, I don’t think I ever heard this particular campfire song.
** The first couple of Peter Davison episodes, to be specific.