YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=gTdrmtp5hKs
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Uploaded:2013-02-08
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In which Hank and John and Katherine walk around Dublin and Hank thinks about how we are all but a part of a magnificent continuum that stretches back around four billion years...depending on how you think about it.

Dublin was beautiful and exciting and careful and thoughtful and I really wish I could have spent more time there. It was pretty hard to choose what thoughts I've had to turn into this video...I had about seven ideas for Thoughts from Places videos...that's just what being on a trip like this does to you. There's so much to think about! Too bad we're DEAD TIRED!

But this idea was overwhelmingly interesting to me, and has hit me really hard on this trip. I also got to see Charles Darwin's grave who was the man who figured out that just as individuals are a continuum of events, life is a continuum of species, all inter-related. A city is a series of events, ideas, constructions and occurrances, just like a human life...just like all life, and just like all culture and even all technology.

Being in a place where those continuums are more obvious (especially to someone who does not always see them) it feels very special and inspiring and exciting to be a part of the human endeavor.
[Team GB Olympian and Nerdfighter Jennifer Pinches] Good morning, John; it's Friday.

[Hank] So after the general confusion and jet lag and delicacies and all the tiny yet somehow overwhelming differences of London (shot of Hank: "My world is exploding..."), we went to Dublin, where I was finally and truly hit with that same tired old realization that all Americans have upon traveling to Europe: DANG. This place is OLD.

But also like new, like super new, this sense of extreme juxtaposition - old right across the river from new; old boat, new bridge; old stairs, new stairs; old security system, new security system; old obelisk, ... new... obelisk... {Text reads: The spire is not technically an obelisk, which are four sided and capped by a pyramid, but still...}

It seemed to me like two categories with a fine line between them, and I know to some people that will make me seem like some kind of barbarian, but if you were raised in a place where the oldest building was built in the 1950s, you might like some historical perspective too.

But then, as we traveled around, popping into every single bookshop to see if they had the Fault in Our Stars ("What were you just doing, John?" "Videotaping my own book"), Dublin started to teach us about itself.

A cathedral that took so long to construct that Romanesque arches sit right next to Gothic arches, two architectural styles as different and separated by as many years as this building and this one, with a crypt underneath it predating both of those architectural styles, in fact, the oldest structure in Dublin, though with some decidedly new uses - in addition to having a museum, there's also a gift shop, a coffee shop, and some toilets - but of course Dublin's history reaches back a lot further than that; as we learned at Dublinia, a celebration of Dublin's founding as a Viking colony, which I mention mostly so that I can show you this Viking pooping...

But then, a little more robustly, I peeked into Ireland's very long history at the National Museum of Archaeology, and suddenly, this intense cultural continuity came in a weird sort of focus for me, with these axe-heads being carved 5800 years before these broaches were molded, two centuries before Strongbow died, 400 years before this library was founded, 300 years before this primitive means of wired communication was invented; 1600 years before this fossilized bog-mummy died, 400 years before these other two bog-mummies died, almost 2000 years before this cat chased this rat into a pipe organ in Christchurch Cathedral where they both together were also mummified, 300 hundred years before this gutter was installed, 14 years before this event was crazy; and more than 1200 years since the first Viking pooped on Ireland...

We only have a concept of self because of our ability to symbolically recall our past and stitch together a story of who we are. In many ways, we are never the same physically or psychology from instant to instant; it's that continuity that makes us, us. That same thing could be said of a place, or of a culture, or even of a species. Yes, at any given moment, Dublin is a different city than it was at the moment before, but while it, at first, seemed like a city of juxtaposition, it became a continuum, a continuum that was respected and honored, and that reached back tens of thousands of years, and that I felt like I was a part of.

Without that consciousness of our past, which is very easy not to have for those of us who live in towns that have barely existed for 100 years, it's easy to forget that that we're not only living in this particular instant, but as part of a continuum, thousands or tens of thousands or even millions of years old. And without the perspective, I think we might be a little culturally stunted.

So basically what I'm saying, is watch Crash Course World History, and Vikings pooped too.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.