February 24, 2011
God's Sex Joke
Even if you don't believe in God or gods, the divine adjective conveys this joke's cosmic and eternal aspects. If you don't see the joke in sex, an explanation might help with the irony part of it, even if the humor of it, as with most explained jokes, dies in the telling.
We like to think of ourselves as intelligent, logical, and rational creatures who use considered methods to manage our individual lives and to achieve, in the collective, amazing technological feats such as the computers, cities, planet-covering communications networks and tools that enable us to look outward at the hugeness of the universe and inward at the details of the physical world while existing comfortably between the big and the small in SUV commutes from between work, school and shopping mall.
Human beings have figured out the simple four-letter genetic code that describes the protein molecules of which we are made. We know how to move components of one living cell into another. We have assembled viruses from basic elements found in any chemical supply store or, for that matter, in the dirt of any front lawn. We know how to extract metals, glass and plastics from rocks and shape them into cars and computers, digital cameras and the cell phones and space satellites that let us talk to one another across the planet. We've sent spaceships out of the solar system.
Nothing seems beyond the reach of our rational understanding. Someday scientists will construct a living human body out of the common elements from the dirt at our feet. Surely that act of divine imitation will be the apotheosis of the rational method -- though there's another God joke about arranging matter into life, one of my favorites, relating to the mystery of what we call "dirt."
For now, though, and even after we figure out how to use rational methods to impart a living human shape upon ordinary dirt under the lawn, the simplest way to make a new human body is the ancient one, and that is the joke: The fabrication of a human body requires the opposite of rationality or of anything related to logic or reason. Technology, clothes and even language are irrelevant to the process. Two people get naked and, if they do it right, get in weird positions, make strange noises, go insane and do things for which the only 'reason' is that 'it feels good.' Then nine months after the finger of God has probed the dark soil and implanted there the seminal piece of information, without any thought, reason or rational method directing the process, a new human being pushes through the door of the world. The 'act' itself is so fascinating, we think about it most of the time and, more irony, reproduction is, most of the time, not even the goal of the act.
Each of us represents a moment of insanity in the midst of our otherwise dawn-to-dusk pretensions to logic, reason and intelligence. The natural and animal method of creating a human body not only defies any rational method -- it mocks it!
Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation -- Wikipedia.