Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mandibles pressing together

What exactly, is a kiss?

I looked in the dictionary and found the following entry

Kiss: noun
1: a caress with the lips
2: a gentle touch or contact
3: an expression of affection

My favorite definition of a kiss (tongue firmly planted in cheek) is the following:

“A kiss is two mandibles pressing together for a certain duration of time, with the possible exchange of some digestive fluid”

Sort of misses the mark, doesn’t it?

Science, for all of its enormous benefits and unquestionable help in improving much of our quality of life, sometimes oversteps its boundaries. When it tries to make sense of parts of the world for which it is completely inadequate, we sense and feel its insufficiency. The constant scientific reduction of everything to the merely physical leaves me feeling empty. It reduces life to the equivalent of an IRS 1040 tax form. All the facts and figures are present, but it no longer takes your breath away. A kiss turns out to be nothing more than two mandibles pressing together.

That’s one of the reasons why the world needs artists, poets, storytellers, actors, and filmmakers. They remind us that we live in a world teeming with beauty and wonder.

The scientific world at times feels to me like a raging river that swells dangerously beyond its banks, crushing any who block its attempt to explain reality. Like the proverbial tale of a boy who discovers a hole in a river dam and then plunges his finger into the dike to prevent disaster, the world’s artists prevent the destruction of beauty and goodness. They keep the wonder from leaking out. They remind us that the world is bigger than grander than what can merely be seen and discovered with our five senses.

So Happy Valentine’s Day sweetheart, and thanks for helping to keep the wonder from leaking out.

“In delay there lies no plenty.
Then come kiss me,
Sweet and twenty”
(Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)


Starshine said...


Happy Valentine's Day, Love!

Sharon said...

Wow, you are quite the wordsmith.

Beav said...

that almost made me want to kiss you too! :)

good insights