Ever had an epiphany?

I don’t think I’ve ever had one, but I was thinking about the relationship between humans and animals and our relative intelligence compared to animals. Also the fact that we have been able to domesticate animals so that what you end up with is two different species living together and having affection for eachother. I guess my manxie katie got me thinking, the smile on her feline face as I rubbed her belly on the way back from the bathroom. *

I am an atheist and will almost certainly always be one. I reckon, though, that I will one day have an epiphany about the existence of intelligence at the level of humanity, and how it exists in creatures that can trace their species back to apes.

I understand the concept of the anthropic principle: However unlikely it is that we exist, if we didn’t exist then there wouldn’t be a me, here, contemplating it.
Anyway, disregard all that, have you ever had an epiphany about anything at all?

[sub]*That, and lolcats/icanhascheezburger.com, which can’t update fast enough! Anthropomorphised cats is the greatest idea in the history of the human race.[/sub]

One of the things that often triggers my curiosity is wondering why most creatures have a face, with two eyes, one nose, one mouth, two ears, and four limbs.

Well, my epiphanies haven’t ever been as externalized as yours. They’ve been along the lines of “Hey, wait a minute. I am not an innately good person. Sometimes I do shitty stuff. If I want to be a good person, that means I have stop doing shitty things!” or “I’ve been putting off all this stuff in my life until I find someone to do it with. Screw that! He may never show up, and I’m tired of waiting. I’m going to go do cool stuff!”

Yes, there have been several times in my life where I had some new understanding that literally perked me up and made me tingle, and think “Wow!” I will never see things the same way again."

Unfortunately I don’t remember what any of them are. I just hope they’re working their magic somewhere in my subconscious.

There might have been drugs involved – I’m a little shaky on that too.

Maybe not related to this thread but my epiphany happened 6 years ago. My 48 year old brother called me and said he had an ulcer the size of “Montana”. A week later he called back and said it was cancer not an ulcer. Five excruciating weeks later he was dead.

Changed my life. I no longer live to work but instead work to live well. Neither I nor my husband have worked a single summer since then. Whenever we get the chance to go on vacation we do. Work less live more. :cool:

Life is way to short for some and way to long for many. :dubious:

Just now while looking at the list of threads and their authors in MPSIMS I had an epiphany, I realized that Lobsang must have been very bored today.

I used to try to have an epiphany once or twice a week, but I haven’t had an epiphany for a few weeks now. I really just haven’t had the time for one. If I get a chance, I’m going to have an epiphany Tuesday morning. I’ll let you guys know what it is. My last epiphany was what the name of the shape should be that is generated by cDonald’s Therom
(cDonald’s Therom is addressed at the 3:20 mark of the video)

I thought I had one last night. I had just finished watching “A brief History of Time” a movie about the Stephen Hawking book. I read most of the book, and watched the movie. I also wrote a paper deriding the movie. It doesn’t compare to the book, it’s more of a biography.

Anyways, after watching the flick, I was out on the porch smoking a cigarette.

My “epiphany” was “what if there is no such thing as time (in a measurement sense), and things are just space and mass?” It almost sounds like “everything is something, or nothing”.

That might have sounded good if I were stoned, but I was not. I was a bit drunk though.

Does an epiphany have to be profound, or just a revelation to the observer?

Yeah, I’ve had a few over my life.

The one that’s easy to explain happened one day when I was strolling through my local shopping mall roughly a few decades ago. I was jaunting past the bookstore on the way to somewhere else, and something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention.

It was a coffee table-type book entitled Nature: The Other Earthlings, and had a picture of some elephants on the cover who were looking at the camera.

It totally jarred me, because for my entire life (probably due to my early interest in science fiction), “Earthlings” had always meant “Humans.” This image brought it inescapably home to me that all life that we know of can be classified as “Earthlings,” and that our perceived separation from them can never be as profound as any separation that we will feel if/when we encounter extra-terrestrial life. No matter how different we may be from apes, anteaters, algae, Paris Hilton, slime molds, bacteria, etc.; we will always be more related to each other than whatever we discover off-planet.

That really shook and changed my perspective permanently.

Another one: I was in an alternative bookstore about 15 years ago, and randomly picked up a book entitled: International Nude/Clothes-Free Travel Guide 1992/93. It was exactly what it said, of course (my luck…where I live has nothing close). It was loaded with pictures of nude recreational sites, including tons of people…nude recreating.

I flipped through it at random, and found a picture of what was evidently a children’s beach (there were no adults in the photo). What astonished me (aside from seeing a bunch of naked kids, which isn’t very common these days) was how normal it looked. They weren’t different-colored kids with bones in their noses and plates in their lips, a la National Geographic; they looked like normal kids that I would see in my neighborhood. Had they been exotic-looking, my brain would have said, “Well, SURE, they live in the Amazon rain forest!” or something. But they looked like local kids, except they were all naked and no-one seemed to be getting traumatized, victimized, abused, exploited, or any of the other negative things that we’re supposed to assume.

My brain, almost audibly, reacted thusly: “My God, real human beings!”

It was like finding out that I wasn’t the only one of my own species on the planet for the first time. I had discovered my people. I’ve been a naturist ever since. I always thought that the insistence that we wear clothes just to cover up certain parts made no sense, but I’d never known that I was not alone in that belief.

I’ve become convinced through years of observation, study, and thinking since then, that the perverts aren’t the ones who wish to go around as God made us. Rather, it’s the ones who wish to banish our humanity that need to be watched out for. THEY’RE the people that want to hurt everybody if they don’t cover up.

There are your monsters.

Sure. I have little ones all the time. Usually language-based. Just today it dawned on me why the phrase we use for the wireless network collapsing here in the house is ‘gone out’. Networks go out because we consider them electrical, and what were the first widespread electrical appliances? Light bulbs. We think of light bulbs along the same lines as we do other light sources, like candles and lanterns, so when a light bulb dies we say it ‘goes out’, like a flame. Thus, the network ‘goes out’ for the same reasons light bulbs go out, and television and radio stations are said to ‘go dark’ when they sign off for the last time.

My big one was during Organic Chemistry class in college. Ever since then I have looked at the universe (or my tiny corner of it) differently. I always imagine little molecules everywhere instead of solid substances. For example, when I see a piece of wood or paper, I think of the molecule cellulose in my mind. I do this with everything pretty much since then.

It might have been the prozac. Im not kidding, but one day in 1992 I was going through my early-twenties angst and feeling so sorry for myself, why Iam I not happy…I’m not sad, or hurt, or angry, or in pain, Im not (at least to a large degree) insane, and yet… I am not happy.

That was suddnely when I realized that “Happiness” was not a default emotion, that occured when nothing else was troubling my emotional landscape. I had to GET HAPPY by actively working towards it.

Thats been a big theme in my life ever since. It hasnt always been wonderful, there have been ups and downs and unhappy times. But since I know that happyness doesnt just rain down upon us in the absence of other feelings, if I am unhappy, then I have to fix it. Me. Not anyone else.

That was my big epiphany, and Im grateful for it. I try to remind myself of that often, so if Im feeling down, I can do something about it.

My sudden, powerful, and life-changing realization that I experienced at an otherwise ordinary moment occured when I was in my early twenties.

I was drinking almost a bottle of rum a day and running bar tabs into the hundreds of dollars. I’d leave work early with the shakes to get to the bar early, in order to see all my “friends” there. At least that’s what I’d be telling myself, when in reality, those friends were only Ron Bacardi, Ron Cabana and Captain Morgan. One day I hopped up on my usual bar stool and ordered the customary double rum and coke, after the bartender brought me my drink, I was taking a big gulp and swivelled around to see a completely empty bar.

I then realized - I was not there for the party, I was there for the booze.

I put down the drink, paid up my bar tab, tipped the waitress and decided I would quit drinking for a month, just to see if I could do it. I did it.

I felt so good I said I’d go for 2 months. I did it.
I didn’t touch another drink for two more years and learned how much of an addictive drug alcohol is for me, and I never looked at booze the same way again.

Now, I drink on occasion. Wine at birthday dinners, a beer with the vacation BBQ and such, I have become a complete lightweight and can never finish the second drink.

But I know now how booze was affecting my life back then, and I feel that the decision to quit may have saved my life.

Dude, I have like 5 epiphanies a day (of the emotional variety, not intellectual, I’m afraid.) I am one of those folks who is supremely open to change, preferably for the better. New profound truths every day, which is probably why I look back on myself as little as 6 months ago and think, ‘‘Who the hell was THAT?’’

Actually, that reminds me of a thread I was going to post…

When I first “understood” The Calculus… that was a pretty big one!

All the time.

Don’t know if that’s because I’m fiendishly clever or amazingly dull-witted. :wink:

I remember being a child and playing with my barbies one day when it occured to me that the voice that lives in my head is me. That inner monologue isn’t me pretending to be the blonde barbie or the brunette skipper… but me. Real, live, actual me.

For whatever reason it never occured to me before that I wasn’t just playing make believe and after that I’d lie awake at night sometimes with my brain just spiraling out of control wondering if something created me or how my brain got here… and trying to recall if I could remember being born or if there was some point in my early childhood when sentience set in.

It was very unsettling.

I have epiphanies all the time, mostly because my subconscious mind is a lot smarter than my conscious one. Every so often it dope slaps me, and says “shmuck, here is the answer to that thing you’ve been wondering about.”

The best was about two years ago when it told me what a bunch of data I was looking at really meant. I got two papers out of that one, and the satisfaction of hearing people at work incorporating the insight as one of those things that are obvious after they get pointed out.

I took geometry in ninth grade and never really understood what was going on. I had to spend hours studying and on the phone with a friend who basically dragged me (doing the academic version of kicking and screaming) through the course.

During a university physics lecture, maybe about vectors, I swear I heard a physical snap in my head as all of a sudden I understood the geometry I had taken 4 years before. It was almost painful, but it was one of the most illuminating, joyous experiences I’ve ever had.

Now if I could just do that with my lack of roundtuits . . .

I’ve dated a Stephany and a Tiffany, but never had an Epiphany. Sounds a little new-age for my taste, though.