Nothing exists but atoms and empty space;

everything else is opinion.


ANCIENT MONSTERS are conglomerations of body parts from different animals grafted together to produce consistent and recognizable images—signs that represent ideas and concepts without referents. The head of a lion is attached to the body of a goat, which is attached to the legs of a chicken with the tail of a lizard. Faced with an unknown, we make something identifiable with pieces of what we find already comfortable and familiar, thereby making the unknown recognizable. Or so we think. In fact, the creatures we make are not products of knowledge; instead, they arise within the culture due to our lack of information. The size of monsters is in direct disproportion to what we know.

For my father, Don, knowledge was a moral imperative: You had to learn about the world and if you failed to do so, it

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