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Chaos of Delight Episode 8


Charles Darwin wrote wonderful sentences, beautiful books and fabulous phrases and one of my favourite is when he describes his mind being a ‘Chaos of Delight’ after seeing many of the splendid lifeforms in a Brazilian forest.  And we have asked everyone who’s been involved in this App when they experience that ‘Chaos of Delight.’ – Robin Ince

If there were gravity your jaw would drop.

I read On The Origin of Species, I also read Darwin’s Ghost, which I thought was a really nice revisit to the same attempt to understand the chaos that is life. And of course in retrospect it all seems completely obvious but at the time it was so brave and so revolutionary and I think it is when you’re thrown into a frontier environment, a real chaotic environment, you tend to re-think  some of your easy life assumptions.  And I’m sure when Darwin was looking at the chaos of delight of the Galapagos, he felt that necessity to try and explain it. 

Maybe the closest I’ve come is to pull yourself out of a spaceship by hand, on a space walk, on your first space walk.  You are locked inside this tiny little dark chamber and finally after all of these steps and all these years of training, and you’ve trained in the pool and you’ve trained in a virtual reality lab and you’ve got your choreography just right and everything planned and you open up the hatch, lock it into place and grab and pull yourself out.  And you’re expecting the cut and dried black and white of the space shuttle bay and the space station and the swimming pool but instead you are pulled out into the universe on one side and the world on the other and it is dumbfoundingly beautiful, it’s stupendous to look at, it’s overwhelming, it’s mind stopping, you know, if there were gravity your jaw would drop.  It’s just an amazing view and your only real sense that’s working for you, your touch isn’t any good, your smell, your taste, they’re all locked inside your space suit, only your eyes are revealing to you where you are and they are telling you something that is really hard to explain.  

It’s maybe as if you were in bed at home and you got up to go to the bathroom and you opened the bathroom door and you stepped in and you are now standing on the top of Mount Everest and it’s just, how on earth did that just happen, I wasn’t here a second ago and now I’m here, holy cow.  Its just an overwhelming visual image and trying to then figure out how this can be, how you can be alone in the universe with it under you and around you and the world not under your feet, not stable but pouring by in glorious three dimensional technicolour next to you. It is a wonderful human experience and one that I will be wondering about for the rest of my life.