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On the usefulness of Rocks

In another post, a friend felt that I had spoiled a perfectly good reporting of an atrocity by noting that the people murdered were Christians and speculating on reasons why the media–I must here specify the American media, because otherwise it could be construed to include all media everywhere, and I obviously don’t include in that analysis (for example) a college newspaper in Japan–did not cover the event.  (As you can see, I have been sufficiently chastened from using rhetorical flourishes such as the ‘world.’)  My friend protests the fact that I would take an interest in matters specifically relating to Christians and go further and compare the event against American coverage, implying, it seems to me, that in order to be spared the charge of bias in favor of my own ‘tribe,’ that in order to be taken seriously I must strip all such loyalties aside and post blog entries only on matters that bore me and and posted with no hint of bias of any kind.

This post is a stab at such an entry, however, I must apologize in advance, because I am acutely aware of the fact that to escape charges of publication bias or purposely excluding other related issues, this post would have to be, literally, infinitely long.  However, I have decided that since I cannot, literally, compose a post that is infinitely long, that I have to draw a line somewhere on just how in depth I am going to go.  The post will therefore be about a thousand words long.  I know that means the post will be of little consequence unless I did treat every aspect of the issue, but this really just has to be the way it is.

The topic I have chosen is rocks and their utility.

What is a rock?

Rocks come in various sizes and shapes.  We give them different names based on those and other factors, such as their considerations.  They are made up of minerals (depending on the rock… some things we call rocks, like coal, aren’t really rocks).

Rocks have many uses.  Smaller rocks can be used for landscaping.   Somewhat bigger ones can be used as paper weights.  The biggest rock that can fit in your hand can likely be used to bash a foe’s head in.  Bigger rocks can be used for that purpose, too, but you will have to find ways to propel or drop them on them.  Very big rocks are fun to climb and some have even been known to become tourist attractions.

One kind of rock is called ‘hard rock.’  There used to be a time when it was believed these rocks were from the devil.  No one thinks that any more.  Even so, hard rocks can still be used for harm.  Incarcerated people suspected of ill intent have been tortured by having to listen to hard rock at loud volumes.  Ironically, some people do this voluntarily, and claim to enjoy it.

The opposite of hard rock is soft rock.  Sandstone is very soft rock.  So is Billy Joel.  I once discovered that listening to Billy Joel for some has the effect of hard rock listened by hard rock at loud volumes.  I did not share this perspective, which is why I played it, proving once again, that even with soft rock, some people listen to it voluntarily, and claim to enjoy it.

Without rocks, our lives would not be the same.  In fact, we would not exist, because without rocks, we would be sucked into the earth’s liquid hot core.  But then, we could not be sucked into the earth’s liquid hot core if we did not exist, which we couldn’t do if there were not rocks, so I suppose this goes without saying.  However, since some people believe that the earth’s liquid hot core is actually liquid rock, then I also cannot say that in this scenario rocks do not exist.  So I guess I can say that without rocks, we would not have a place to stand.  More importantly, without rocks, there would not have been a surface for life to ferment on, which is something that some people consider is plausible.

The best part of rocks is the fact that it rhymes with socks.  I say that because as a child I read a book that had a fox with a problem with rocks in his socks, and it was a favorite story of mine, and the story would have been impossible if rocks sounded like something else, like petra.  At any rate, this proves that rocks can also be useful in literature–and satire.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the rocks on mars.  That is the way some humans are (religionists, usually.  Enlightened humanists don’t do this).  We are very parochial, focusing only on things that pertain to our own tribe.  When we don’t mention things outside of our tribe’s perspective, it means we don’t know about them and don’t care about them.  That is why we need to go out of our ways to talk about rocks outside of earth.  Besides, my comments on the earth’s rocks cannot be taken seriously, since of course I am biased in favor of earth’s rocks.  Instead I will talk about the rocks on mars, because I know less about them.

I know that rocks on Mars are red.

That is all I know about the rocks on Mars.  However, I suspect that they could also be used for landscaping, as a paperweight, or as a head-bashing tool.   We might discover that hard martian rock might also be useful for torturing people of suspected ill intent.  Time will tell.

Now for rocks on Venus.

I know less about rocks on Venus, but I don’t want to be parochial and miss anything.

So let me also mention that rocks from 3 billion light years have this redeeming virtue:  they still rhyme with socks.

I was tempted to touch on the rocks 2.99999 light years away until I realized I would then also have to touch on the rocks 2.999998 light years away.  At this time I’m going to give up trying to talk about every rock out there, because of the aforementioned infinity problem.

Writing this post has been as difficult as I expected it to be.  Rocks are not the sort of thing that interests me, unless we are talking about sedimentary rock (that is, rock formed by water action) thousands of feet thick, appearing even at the earth’s highest points, containing fossils.  However, it is precisely because that interests me that I shouldn’t talk about it.  Whatever I said about that couldn’t be believed anyway, since I believe it, and that means it isn’t true.

For my next post, I shall talk about twigs.

Unless I decide to bash my head against a rock, which this post is on the verge of driving me to.

Which goes to show you that rocks really do have lots of uses, just as I said.


In honor of my friend, and with all good humor.


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