Have you ever considered these ideas?
Well, have you?
Here are some thoughts I’ve been saving up over the past few years. On their own they probably don’t warrant their own post but if I put them together then maybe I can
keep you entertained share some ideas that might spark some of your own ideas.
When I was a teen there was a famous sitcom about a pediatrician and his family1. In one episode his son is moping after either a breakup or being rejected. The father’s advice is for his son to go to the library and learn something as a means to cheer himself up. Seems like a decent idea, actually. I can’t say that I’ve purposely done this to improve my mood but I can certainly believe in the power of distraction. Have you ever tried this tip? Has it worked for you?
How do you feel people who drive across empty parking spots in a parking lot?
I don’t know about you but this drives me batty. I know, I know, they’re just lines painted on a parking lot. But I’ve also seemed to notice that people who do this tend to not look about their surroundings very well and it just seems disrespectful to me. Do you have any strong feelings about this? Or do I need a new hobby?
Years ago I wrote a short essay about the experience of looking out of your eyes. If you stop and think about it it’s kind of weird, isn’t it? It’s like we’re all living in first person perspective video games. Remember Being John Malkovitch? That movie’s conceit is that there is a way for people to literally enter Malkovitch’s mind and see what he sees. (I don’t think I’d do that if I had the opportunity.) On top of that, the only real way to see yourself is to look through a mirror and then you have the even weirder sensation of seeing an image of yourself… seen through your own eyes. I mean, OK, I’m basically describing the real life experience of almost everyone on Earth but what’s even weirder is when you consider that everyone has this experience of looking out their own eyes and you’re not the only one after all. But, you know, did you ever find this weird?
More likely than not, there is probably at least one other person in the world doing exactly the same thing that you are at this moment. And if it’s not happening on this world, it must be happening on another.
Everything Everywhere All At Once has put alternate realities back into the public eye. You know, the idea that there are an infinite number of realities happening simultaneously, where your life has occurred differently based on the different decisions that you could have made in the moment. Like right now, in this reality I’m writing this newsletter while in another I’m just watching TV. In other I’m reading a book. In the next I’m just listening to music and past that I’m already in bed because it was an exhausting day for Mark Dykeman of Earth 245820523. I’m probably drunk in yet another reality. I used to think about this lot. I mean, it’s pretty much impossible at this point to know for certain that this isn’t happening. Know what I mean?
The following passage in A Short History of Nearly Everything has been bothering me for months. The author, Bill Bryson, is writing about the size of our solar system and how daunting the task is of leaving it given the apparently insurmountable challenges: “Based on what we know now and can reasonably imagine, there is absolutely no prospect that any human being will ever visit the edge of our solar system - ever. It is just too far.” Based on current technology and our knowledge of science, Bryson estimates that it would take 10,000 years to reach the edge of our solar system. Then it would take at least another 30,000 years to reach the nearest star system, the Centauri system. And, based on what we know to date, there’s not a lot there except for 3 stars. I don’t know about you but I grew up believing that the human race would eventually be able to travel faster than light and visit other star systems. Too much science fiction, maybe. But man, this really bums me out, like a teenager stranded without a car and all of your friends are in town instead of out in the country where you live.
Life on other planets: there are a number of theories about the possibility of life on other planets, humanoid or not, advanced at least to our level of knowledge and technology, like the Drake equation. Carl Sagan weighed in at one point. Depending on the model, the possibility of alien life in our own galaxy seems to range from one planet with intelligent life (ours) to potentially even millions of other civilizations. Not that we can talk to them (yet). Or visit them, if you believe Bill Bryson’s idea. I have to believe that there is life on other planets given the seemingly infinite size of our universe. It’s just that it’s probably so unimaginably far away that it’s futile to think about. So curse you, Bill Bryson, for reminding me that one of my other life long dreams is as unrealistic as gaining super powers…
Didn’t we all at one point believe we might be able to learn magic or develop super powers? Haven’t we all tried to move an object mentally with our minds, like Luke Skywalker or Yoda? Oh, just me? OK, never mind.
I’ve been obsessed with the number 3 (and multiples of the number 3) for most of my life. Various key numbers in my life, like my university student number and my old home address, were based on multiples of the number 3. I know this is all hokum and any feelings I have about this are probably just the product of bias and selective attention but still… are any numbers particularly significant to you?
I think it’s occasionally important to ask the questions that no one else seems to be asking, even it’s just you asking yourself. Right?
This list goes up to 11. That’s one more than the number 10.
I hope at least one thing in the post resonated with you. Let me know what you think in the comments section!
This newsletter is like a box of chocolates that you can’t eat but you can appreciate the hell out of it and not gain weight.
You guess it, I’m referring to The Cosby Show. Feels a little bit creepy to think of this now, given Cosby’s history.