Why Do We Sneeze? The Mystery is Finally Revealed
Why do we sneeze? It’s a common question on the Internet. While scientists are busy scrambling to explain how questions like:
- How can something come form nothing?
- How can information arise from non-intelligence?
- What’s up with consciousness?
the big questions in life–the important questions–remain unanswered.
Like: why do we sneeze?
Why Do We Sneeze?
After a lifetime of thought on the topic, I finally have an answer. The answer will come as no surprise coming from a Christian apologist. But the reason may surprise you.
- Skepticat, a physics teacher and commenter on Yahoo Answers! writes: “If our eyes were open, the sudden pressure spike generated by a sneeze could actually blow one or both eyes out of their sockets. I know this sounds like an urban legend, but I believe it to be true.”1
- NBC News Health contributor Meghan Holohan leans away from the eyeball subluxation (popping out) myth and towards the more practical explanation of protecting our eyes form expelled mucous and, well, whatever else you had in there.2
- and Louise D. contributes to the panel at Healthexpertadvice.org with, “We would look to [sic] funny if we kept our eyes open.”3
A Paradigm Shift
I believe there is going to be a paradigm shift in sneeze-science thinking.
Closing our eyes when we sneeze has nothing to do with looking like Arnold Schwarzenneger at the end of Total Recall (the original) before Mars gets atmosphere. It has nothing to do with keeping snot and Flaming Cheeto particulates out of your ocular cavitiy. As a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with your body whatsoever:
“A sneeze is about your soul.”
It’s about the fight for your soul, and here’s why.
High intensity light can incite or accelerate a sneeze (I naturally assume that since this is the case with me, it is a universal truism). I have a weird thing: when I feel a sneeze coming, I look for the sun. If I can find the sun, I’ve got that sneeze in the bag.
Once you sneeze, you are forced to close your eyes and look away from the light.
I used to think, “I look at the sun so I can sneeze.” But a recent epiphany has me focusing on a more important aspect of this causal relationship:
“A sneeze forces me look away from the light.”
The Nature of a Sneeze
Think about the nature of a sneeze:
- Short duration
- (arguably) Pleasurable
- (possibly) Infectious
- Unexplainable (until now)
- Accepted as normal and healthy behavior
- Prevents us from looking at the light
Now who do you think wants us to receive small amounts of pleasure from keeping our eyes closed and turning away from the light?
I know what you’re thinking. As with so many other breakthroughs in understanding–gravity, heliocentrism, the moral bankruptcy of relativism–you’re wondering how we could have missed this for so long.
Well, every time you approached the truth–the Light–you closed your eyes: you sneezed. Apparently the devil likes to keep us one sneeze away from salvation.
Maybe it’s also why a sneeze makes us look so miserable.
Think I’m being ridiculous? I wonder who could be making you think that. . .
- Smiley Face Courage: How Emoticons Wash Away Our Guilt
- Focus Your Reach and Grasp What’s Important
- Sonic Boom(er) Blues
1 Skepticat, http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071218024221AAMdoTn
2 Meghan Holohan, “The eye-popping truth about why we close our eyes when we sneeze,” NBC News Health, April 12, 2013, http://t.nbcnews.com/health/eye-popping-truth-about-why-we-close-our-eyes-when-1C9321739
3 Louise d, http://www.healthexpertadvice.org/forum/Heart00004000-Diseases/Why-do-we-close-our-eyes-when-we-sneeze-179352.htm
Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sneeze.JPG. Redhead
Photo credit: Pete Jelliffe/CC BY ND
Photo credit: Lady DragonflyCC / CC BY
Photo credit: Ariel Waldman/CC BY SA
Photo credit: Scott Robinson/CC BY
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About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.