While swimming in the warm clear waters along DT Fleming Beach, the strangest thought crept into my mind. The moment was so perfect - floating there in the waves looking at the palm trees swaying in the warm breeze along the golden shoreline - it seemed as if a dream. And I suddenly thought about how our lives are divided into two halves - one we call conscious or awake and the other we call unconscious or asleep. How odd that our reality would be divided into two such spheres, and how peculiar that one we perceive as "real" and the other as a non-reality or dream. Yet both start without explanation and end with a similar lack of clarity, yet all the while feeling real and seemingly making sense. And at that moment, I saw them as equal halves of the same experience, one consisting of episodic short stories, and the other taking the shape of a long-form novel. Each half as real or unreal as its other half, and consisting of similar rules and experiences, willed into existence through our thoughts and actions. And as another wave lifted me up over its crest, I smiled and hoped I'd never wake.
It is a great adventure to contemplate the universe, beyond man, to contemplate what it would be like without man, as it was in a great part of its long history and as it is in a great majority of places. When this objective view is finally attained, and the mystery and majesty of matter are truly appreciated, to then turn the objective eye back on man viewed as matter, to view life as part of this universal mystery of greatest depth, is to sense an experience which is very rare, and very exciting. It usually ends in laughter and a delight in the futility of trying to understand what this atom in the universe is, this thing — atoms with curiosity — that looks at itself and wonders why it wonders.
- Richard Feynman