A day under two weeks ago, the Forty-Something man who still lives in my head drove this sixty-nine year old body into a curb and I tumbled, making a three-point landing on the concrete. My right knee took the brunt my (too many) pounds, tearing my brand new jeans and the skin under it. There was a technicolor, inch-square abrasion that required careful bandaging just so I could wear long pants (which I do mostly these days). For thirteen days, I’ve been watching it heal. You might say, Jeez, old age must suck. This guy has nothing more to do than sit around and watch his knee heal. You’d be partly right … old age does sometimes suck … but at sixty-nine, at least, it is rarely boring. But these days, things I’d have taken for granted at twenty (thirty) (forty) (fifty) amaze me. I was simply fascinated by the speed which a fairly deep wound healed itself over and began the process of growing new skin. I wish I’d taken a time lapse video to show you. Not really. That would be what my five year old granddaughter, Savy, would call, TMI! TMI! She’d be right. No one but Older Eyes wants to see the healing of his poor knee. But, of course, this an era where anything can be found online, so you can watch the time lapse healing of a laceration much worse than mine here on You Tube here if you are so inclined. Kinda gross, not as fascinating as MY knee, but still amazing.
Watching my knee heal so quickly, I got to thinking about the self-healing technologies being developed by man. If you are a PC user, you may have had your Windows operating system tell you that something went wrong on start-up, asking if it can run Start-up Repair and fix itself. Sometimes it can and sometimes it can’t but it gives you a glimpse of self-healing software. Hewlett-Packard has introduced self-healing computing startup software that can repair itself after a malware attack. and the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is offering $2 million to enterprising programmers who can devise self-repairing software. Self healing software is one thing, you say, but healing knees is another, and I agree. But scientists are developing materials such as polymers that heal themselves and LG has already introduced a smartphone with a self-healing case which you can see here. Interesting but hardly fascinating. Still, self-healing metals and self-healing circuits are on the way, and there are even those who think that self-healing batteries foretell the coming Rise of the Machines and the destruction of mankind. I’ll leave such stuff to the gamers and sci-fi fanboys.
My point this Sunday Morning is one made by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet …What a piece of work is man! Of course, Hamlet wasn’t admiring the rapid healing of his knee. In fact, he was trying to explain why he was depressed in spite of the admirable qualities of mankind, a state I’d say could easily explained by observing our species not-so-admirable qualities. My point is this. Our self healing technology is laughable beside the healing of a small wound on one old knee. And even if we succeed in creating a self-healing race of machines that destroys us, they will do so because they are stronger and because we imbue them with our worst attributes not our best. At sixty-nine, as I watch the small wonders of this world, I am amazed. I think, Am I really supposed to believe there is no intelligent, creative force behind this amazing universe. Can the world be the cosmic equivalent of an infinite number of chimps at an infinite number of typewriters producing, What a piece of work is man? I think not. Having a caring Higher Power will always require a leap of faith for this old scientist but that realization shortens the distance of the leap.
Look around and have an amazed Sunday.