Puddle Thinking

jumping-puddles-color-bwPuddles.  Who would have thought?

I stumbled on this today, off everyone’s favorite information go-to, Wikipedia:

Puddle Thinking is a satirical analogy coined by Douglas Adams to illustrate the folly of an egocentric view of science and nature. As quoted in Richard DawkinsEulogy for Douglas Adams:

. . . imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.

This is supposed to be a jab at the “anthropic principle” which goes that the extraordinary coincidence of human beings’ existence on the planet is not a coincidence, but actually a necessity because we wouldn’t have come into existence otherwise.

I find it one of the most frightening things to imagine – that there’s no earthly reason we’re here, and it was just dumb luck we grew from puddles of algae into these fabulous upright human forms.  I turn that thinking to partnership and marriage sometimes and wonder if that works according to the same principle; that there’s no solid reason two separate people come together, choose each other and stick together, other than random coincidence.  Oh yeah, love and comfort and friendship and support.  And all that jazz.  They might have something to do with it.  🙂

And just like our wonderful, random existence on this planet makes me giddy with gratitude, so does my wonderful, perhaps random partnership with my husband-to-be.    (love you, honey!)

To all the puddles, great and small: don’t fret, of course the world was meant to have you.  What else could little rubbber rainboots possibly splash through with such glee?



November 11, 2009 - Posted by | General Musings |


  1. I love puddles and was sad to hear this little puddle in Dawkins’ story being taken by surprise by its own demise. Ask Holly some day about the puddles (flooded gutters) we swam through in Bloomington when she was little, after the great Midwestern summer storms.

    Comment by pamela rikkers | December 11, 2009 | Reply

    • I know doesn’t it make you sad? Poor little puddle.

      Comment by angelsandolives | December 11, 2009 | Reply

  2. At around eight years old, in Elsworth,Michigan, I was
    confidently informed by a local farmer that, when a hair of
    a horse lands in a puddle, it becomes an alive, squirmy little
    worm, prompting me to thereafter look at puddles as veritable life givers or places where magic awaits. I even put one
    of my own hairs in a puddle to see if it worked on human hair as well. It didn’t

    Comment by Henry | January 14, 2010 | Reply

  3. […] Image: Angels and Olives […]

    Pingback by The Rain | Dirk Hartog | June 8, 2010 | Reply

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