Don’t you ever just wonder about stuff?
Sitting on the deck at our vacation cabin in the Great Northern Woods of Wisconsin. Family vaca with a bunch of fun crazies.
Three days ago I sat on the dock looking out at the lake enjoying the silence and the nature.
That night it rained – poured – record rain for this area. I heard we got like 14 inches of rain or something. Thunderstorms like I’ve never seen. It was awesome, but the aftermath has been fairly awful. Roads have been washed out, people have died, and, of less importance, our dock is underwater. The lake is halfway into the yard behind the deck. It hasn’t rained since Monday but the lake continues to rise, creeping ever closer to the deck.
Still, we’re having a nice time. There’s something about being in the quiet and in the nature that amplifies the thoughts that I already have. No work or distractions, and while I’m not exactly alone, I have more time to be alone with my thoughts with nothing else to dilute them.
As we sat on the deck last night, a fire going, chatting about this and that, I couldn’t help but look up at the night sky. My daughter and I sometimes will go into our backyard at night back home and look up at the stars. She always spots the dippers, big and little, and likes to point them out to me. But our city sky does no justice to the unobstructed view of the sky at night here in these woods. The stars, big and small, bright and dim, litter the sky. It is awesome and I can’t help but think and wonder about the vastness of what is out there and how all the things that concern me, concern us, have so much less meaning and importance when you take the totality of it all. That we’re just a miniscule speck in this grand scheme of whatever it, this, life is.
That’s not to say there is no significance to me, to us, but it’s good to have some perspective. The universe notices us like we would notice a grain of sand on the biggest beach or the largest desert.
It can be hard to find meaning for me in all of that vastness. To know that the known universe and the observable universe is only another grain of sand in the totality of the whole, and that the universe is ever expanding at a speed that is faster than the speed of light.
Everything ends. We end in only a flash in the totality of time. Our sun will burn up one day, taking our solar system with it. The universe will expand at a rate that will make it the observable universe unobservable, until everything we can see now will be gone and forgotten. Eventually the universe itself will be gone, either tearing itself in half or reversing course until it is nothing once again. That’s not me talking, that’s science.
Of course, science can tell us a lot of things. But much of what they know are wrapped up in theory. I think there is a misconception of what a theory is. A theory is not a blind guess or something that a scientist simply makes up. Theories are based in fact with many provable aspects. They are evolving, though, fluid, but are excepted until something else comes along to either prove a theory in totality or disprove it with something else. (Let’s pause here to remind us that I am no scientist and only describe things as I understand them. I know some stuff, but don’t always take my word for things. I’d suggest looking stuff up for yourself to be on the safe side.)
So what, or where do we, do you find meaning? Is finding meaning even necessary? Many people find it in religion, which is fine but is not for me. I like facts, and what I know and what I can see, and what the science tells me.
But the things the science used to know as fact changes and is fluid as well. The Earth was flat and then it wasn’t. There were multiple gods and then their weren’t. The sun and the planets orbited the Earth then they didn’t. We find out more and more that changes our perceptions of what we know or what we think we know. We know so much yet we don’t know anything. And when I look up at those stars, sometimes I feel like nothing is knowable at all.
I’m ok with either way, I think. If there’s a deeper meaning to all of it that would be cool. If it’s just us on our own with nothing after I think that’s ok too. I find meaning on this deck right now, I think, looking at the approaching water, my daughter and wife and assorted family members inside, just waking up. Maybe there’s no more meaning than that. That would be ok.
But I wonder about all of it, these things, this stuff. I have ideas, fantastical ideas, some based on things I read here on these internets, some things I just kind of make up. I think everything is possible.
They say maybe we’re a 2 dimensional hologram. That’s seems crazy but they are working on that theory right now. They say maybe we’re a computer simulation. That seems crazy and unlikely too, but how could you prove otherwise? Maybe we’re all just exist in a game of the Sims.
They say our free will may be an illusion. They do and are doing studies on the mind that show our brains may tell us what to do or make decisions for us in a fraction of time before we actually do them. Maybe we’re all meat robots. Maybe we’re already AI. Maybe we have created AI before, and once we perfect it the AI takes over and it start again.
Who knows? How can you know?
How can you even trust your eyes, your ears? When you close your eyes, what do you see? How do you know that everything does not disappear when you close them? How do you know that the universe only exists for the moments that you see it, and disappears when you don’t?
They have theories about black holes, and alternate or parallel universes. I like to think there are parallel universes. I have regret – I think everyone does. But I used to be and feel so much regret, always wondering if the decisions I’ve made where the right ones. The regret used to paralyze me. I don’t feel that way so much anymore. I wonder, though, and hope and would like it if parallel universes were real. What if for every decision we make, the ones we decide against create a different universe, a different path, a different life? I’d prefer to think of that, that all of the decisions I didn’t make still exist, that there are an infinite numbers of me, living similar but different lives based on all those other unused decisions. That’s not to say I do not want this universe, this life, these people in my life. I’d just like to see what the other me’s are up to, how those decisions worked out. Maybe some of the other me’s are cool too.
I wonder about things like dreams and deja vu. I know that science has ideas on what they are. I have ideas too. Sitting here, right now, looking into the woods, this is real. But when I close my eyes and fall asleep and dream, this reality disappears and I have no memories of this – what I think is real. The dreams – don’t your dreams feel real while you are in them? How can you be sure that dreams are not the reality?
I like to think that when I’m dreaming I’m visiting those parallel universes. Maybe I’m not in them but observing the other me’s. My dreams are generally made up of people I know, but the interactions are different. I like to think that in my waking life, in this reality, when I experience deja vu that I’m having a memory, or maybe a waking glimpse of those other realities.
There’s a person that I knew when I was younger. I don’t know her so much now, maybe only a little bit. But she shows up in my dreams and other realities quite a bit. Sometimes after I’ve had these dreams I’ll drop her a little note telling her it was nice to see her and to talk to her. It’s not just her – I see and talk to a lot of people that I do not see regularly in my dreams. It’s just that she shows up a lot and it’s always nice to chat again. It may not be real, but it seems real. How do you know we’re not talking for real?
I know, I’m crazy and that’s fine if you think that. I know I probably read and see to much into things that may not be there. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with going about your daily life and thinking and knowing what you are seeing is real or the only reality. Or that there is anything wrong with not even thinking about any of these things. I think however you choose to define your reality is real enough.
I used to find my iconoclasm a hindrance. Why, why do I have to see things so differently? Why do I have to question everything and to challenge everything, every notion, every idea and theory and religion and belief? Why do I wonder about so much stuff?
I don’t have an answer for that except to say that I don’t find it a hindrance anymore. I actually enjoy thinking about this kind of stuff. I enjoy thinking. I enjoy contemplating. I enjoy the ‘what if’ of it all. It is interesting and I find meaning in it.
So here’s what I think right now. What I think right now will probably change at some point. But I think that maybe I am the universe. You are the universe. From the unbelievable vastness of space to the tiniest atom that exists in your body it’s all one. And I think that either means everything. Or nothing. But I prefer to think it’s something, and whatever it is, it’s pretty awesome.