Me asalta la idea de que somos formaciones gigantes de materia, montañas descomunales que se mueven en espacios igualmente enormes. La vida es originariamente microscópica y ésa es la perspectiva a tomar. Somos amontonamientos grotescos de células; cada zona del cuerpo es un continente con su geografía particular. Un visitante microscópico podría pasearse a un lado de los poros y los pliegues de la piel como ante cráteres y desfiladeros mortales de un planeta inhóspito. Los pelos delicados del brazo serían torres imperiales erguidas en curva hacia el cielo, monstruosos cilindros interminables, que por fin hacen contacto con el horizonte, en una lejanía inalcanzable. Cada tanto uno de los pelos no caería hacia el brazo, sino que se elevaría más allá del cielo, como una Babel terminada.

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Is no one inspired by our present picture of the universe? This value of science remains unsung by singers: you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this silence is that you have to know how to read music. For instance, the scientific article may say, ‘The radioactive phosphorus content of the cerebrum of the rat decreases to one- half in a period of two weeks.’ Now what does that mean?

It means that phosphorus that is in the brain of a rat—and also in mine, and yours—is not the same phosphorus as it was two weeks ago. It means the atoms that are in the brain are being replaced: the ones that were there before have gone away.

So what is this mind of ours: what are these atoms with consciousness? Last week’s potatoes! They now can remember what was going on in my mind a year ago—a mind which has long ago been replaced. To note that the thing I call my individuality is only a pattern or dance, that is what it means when one discovers how long it takes for the atoms of the brain to be replaced by other atoms. The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, and then go out—there are always new atoms, but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday.