According to quantum physics, the act of observing something affects it. Just that fact that you look at it, changes it. Experiment after experiment proves this.
It gets even more weird.
When you’re looking at the smallest of things, the tiniest of the tiny, nothing is there but possibility. The fact that you look at something forces it to choose one of the possibilities and solidifies it into reality. This leads some to conclude that reality itself is not there if you don’t look at it.
This is very Zen, but ultimately it doesn’t stand up to logic.
Perfect example: Mars. We send rovers to Mars, and look at a landscape that we can tell has been there for a billion years. We didn’t just now force the landscape details into existence by looking at it. It’s been there all this time without us observing it.
Yet still, it’s proven — the nature of reality requires an observer for it to solidify into one (out of all) possibilities.
Observation is necessary for reality.
So who is observing everything when there’s no one around to observe it? This Ultimate Observer must be omniscient and ageless. This Observer must have been around a billion years ago to check out Mars, the surface of Venus, and even the dark side of the Moon.
Logically, this Ultimate Observer must exist, or the Universe would be empty. All the things that we don’t observe wouldn’t be there, and yet they are. We know they are.
Since this Observer is literally forcing the Universe out of a cloud of possibility and into substance, would not this qualify as godhood?
This to me is the best logical argument for the existence of a Universal Mind, be it external, looking in … or perhaps internal, in a panpsychic sense: that consciousness is a universal and primordial feature of all things.
Just like light is both a wave and a particle, and Schrodinger’s Cat is both alive and dead, we both exist, and don’t exist.
We are made of atoms, right? But atoms are made of smaller things, and those are made of even smaller things. In between all of these tiny things are enormous spaces — so much so that we are actually made up of mostly empty space — but even stranger, when you get down to the very smallest components that make up existence … there’s nothing there. It’s just a field of probability. It’s a soup of random, roiling strangeness.
At its very basic level, reality is about as tangible as a thought. And it’s all connected, it’s all one thing. It’s all a vast web of patterns of force.
That’s it. That’s all that’s there.
Nothing at this level separates us from anything else. We, and the rest of the Universe, are all one large pattern. If reality is like an ocean, we are waves on the surface.
Next time you’re angry at someone for cutting you off in traffic, remember, you and your car, and that other guy and his car, are all one thing.
You’re mad at yourself.
So calm down. Relax. Not only are we all in this together, but we are also everything that exists.
Oh, to be a bird! A flick of the feathers, a pump of the wings, and the Earth drops away. To surf the currents of air, to dive and swoop and soar! To land on food and carry it off into the sky, and not have to leave a tip. To take a vacation down south every winter without having to worry about time off requests. A tree is your bed, and the great wide open is your home.
Oh, to be a bird.
I wrote this in my journal on this day twelve years ago. I don’t remember writing it, and I don’t remember why I wrote it.
Well, there was some good news, relating to an earlier post. The tests came back negative and so nope, I do not have cancer raising its ugly head again.
To celebrate, I ate a ginormous hamburger with deep fried onion rings and a nice glass of beer. Out of all of it, the beer was probably the healthiest thing I ingested. But hey…
I enjoyed it.
In other news, I grabbed yet another Apple product to throw into the big hole in my life. My Apple credit card gave me $75 to spend at the Apple store, and my friends, there is nothing left at the Apple store I need. But I had to spend it on something, and there was nothing I even remotely wanted for only $75, so … I finally caved and got the Beats headphones I’ve been eyeing since they came out. And I’ll tell you this, they were way over $75.
Will I enjoy them? Yes. But do I need them? No. I have a perfectly good set of Bose headphones that I once bought on a whim at an automated kiosk at an airport. And I have a very nice set of LucidSound gamer headphones that I bought when I was trying to fill the hole in my life with gaming.
One thing I did buy recently, that has yet to arrive, and which I hope will actually help fill the hole in my life, is a spiritual book recommended by a local Buddhist center which I have secretly joined.
Why secretly? Because they have no idea I’ve joined them. I have yet to find the time to show up to introduce myself. So you can say I am a secret virtual member of that group.
I have studied a lot about Buddhism over the past several years, and the more I learn, the more I realize I’m already a Buddhist. I hope by actually officially joining a group of them, I’ll learn how to finally fill the hole in my life that I’ve been trying to fill with booze, sweets, hamburgers, video games, and expensive toys.
It would be nice to find a way to fill that hole before I finally spiral into oblivion.
Well, except that they seem like it for that initial glowing period after purchase. That warm wonderful shiny moment where you hold the beautifully crafted product, so elegantly packaged and presented, and you think, “it’s mine! MINE!”
This glow usually lasts anywhere between 15 minutes to 4 days, then the magic wears off and it’s just another inanimate object you used to try to fill a hole in your life. But the hole is still there, and you’re now deeper in debt.
Why do I say this? Because I live it.
Every time I do this I tell myself, “this is the last time I indulge myself.” Think about how flawed a statement that is. And now, even as I tell myself this, I know it’s flawed, I know it’s a lie I’m telling myself, yet I’m compelled to do it over and over again.
What is even worse, is I’ll initially laugh at a product, and say, “That’s useless! Apple is now lost without Steve Jobs guiding THE TRUE WAY.” I’ll say that and mean it. And then…
Six months later I own the product.
I cannot blame Apple for this. The blame lies squarely on my shoulders. What I need to do is find the hole my life, figure out its true nature, and then find a way to fill it correctly, with the right plug.
I really should have titled this, “Apple Products are Not the Plug for Your Hole.”
I may have cancer again. I should find out by next week.
I had what was apparently a serious type of skin cancer when I was a young teen. I must have been fourteen or fifteen, somewhere around there. Here’s the weird thing: my parents shielded me from this fact until I was well into adulthood. I literally did not know about it until I was in my late twenties.
It was this dark spot in my ear, and it was growing. I used to hide it with the skin-colored sticky part of a bandaid because it was embarrassing. I just thought it was a mole.
My parent’s friends and family kept pressing my parents to have it checked but my dad was in denial until one point, where I guess it was our family doctor, confronted him. He told my dad I needed to have my ear amputated and to go through radioactive chemotherapy.
From what I gather, my dad said, “Fuck that,” and instead took me to a specialist in San Francisco. They removed it, leaving a big hole in my ear, and replaced the tissue with skin grafts from my back. The biopsy confirmed it was indeed cancerous. I never did receive the chemo, because my dad didn’t believe in it.
This is what my parents told me: “They have no idea what it was. It was so weird that they sent the mole to the Smithsonian.”
For years I believed this, and used to joke that it was probably a tracking device that aliens implanted in me when I was a youngster. Then one day, after my parents had split up and my mom was living up in the mountains, I was visiting with her with my then wife Becky and our little baby daughter, and I said something about the mole and how it had been sent to the Smithsonian.
My mom laughed and said, “Oh no. No. That was cancer. It was juvenile melanoma.”
“Oh yeah,” she said, “you had cancer. You probably got it from being in the desert sun so much when you were a kid.”
Needless to say, I was stunned.
I tend to forget about this, so maybe they really did do me a favor. When I’m around cancer survivors I keep forgetting I am also one. Then when it dawns on me, and I finally do say, “Yes, me too,” I don’t really feel legit, because I didn’t go through all the crap that most cancer survivors go through.
And so fast forward another 30 years, and here I am waiting to get results back from a blood test. Here’s something I feel oddly guilty about: I’m not worried.
We’ll see how I’m feeling come Monday afternoon.
Update: Spiral Into Oblivion
I have two favorite themes for WordPress.
Out of the hundreds of thousands of available themes spread out across the entire Internet, the two I like best are actually default WordPress themes: “Twenty Seventeen” and “Twenty Sixteen.”
They’re full-featured, customizable, uncomplicated, free, and supported by WordPress.
I just spent three hours searching through thousands of free and paid themes, tried out nearly 30 of them, and found the complication and frustration level of the majority of them just didn’t make it worth the bother. I fell back to the good old minimalist Twenty Sixteen for this one (and I’ve been using Twenty Seventeen for my main website since … well, 2017.)
Images, or lack thereof, are what make a website. If I want something extremely customized I build it by hand.
I need a place to publically doodle with words.
In asking myself “Why?” I get no real answer. Why is it I can’t just write this down on paper? Why can’t I just type it into a document file? Why do I feel I need to share this rambling nonsense with the rest of the world when actually I’d rather hide from it all?
I have no idea.
This blog has actually existed in one form or another as far back as the 1990s, from before they were called “blogs” (they were generally referred to as “web journals”). So, while I’m kicking the tires on this new incarnation, and working my way through themes to choose one that matches how I feel, I’ll reach way back through time and post something from this day back in the year 2005:
I’m still working on a story, still writing it in OpenOffice 2.0 Writer.
I really wanted to like this word processor. I mean, I really really wanted to like it. It’s free, it’s open source, it’s got the blessing of Google and Sun Microsystems.
Previously I reported it to be “clunky.”
Yes, it’s clunky. It’s damn clunky. I hate it. I really am totally hating writing this story in it. I can’t wait to finish the story so I can erase the whole damn suite off my computer.
Sorry OpenOffice people, but Microsoft’s got me too spoiled. And now I find myself salivating at the promise of a new Microsoft Word version coming out next year.
Now, all that being said, let me throw OpenOffice.Org a bone: it’s better than nothing. In fact, had I not already been spoiled by Word, I probably would be singing praises for OOO. And, also, I hated the last version of WordPerfect I tried, too.
So, that’s the end of this experiment for me. I’m done. And having said that, I guess it’s okay for me to copy my story out of OOO and into Word and just get it over with.
A while ago I read a fascinating news release from JPL about a sounding rocket experiment that measures the light between galaxies. The conclusion: “While we have previously observed cases where stars are flung from galaxies in a tidal stream, our new measurement implies this process is widespread.”
In other words, there are way, way more stars out there than we thought, drifting in-between the galaxies.
From the article: “The light looks too bright and too blue to be coming from the first generation of galaxies,” said James Bock, principal investigator of the CIBER project from Caltech and JPL. “The simplest explanation, which best explains the measurements, is that many stars have been ripped from their galactic birthplace, and that the stripped stars emit on average about as much light as the galaxies themselves.” [My emphasis.]
So for every galaxy of stars out there, there’s another galaxy worth of stars drifting around between the galaxies. To me that means there’s twice as many stars as we thought in the Universe, which also means there’s twice as many chances for habitable worlds.
It also means that in your star trekking speculative fiction, really advanced galactic civilizations could more conceivably make their way to other galaxies, as it’s not a big huge empty stretch between — according to the article, it’s more like a halo of stars between, and perhaps even bridging, the spaces between galaxies.
It’s fascinating to me to think of civilizations developing among these isolated, far flung stars, and now mathematically speaking, the chances of other civilizations existing have essentially doubled.
Okay, I’ve planted the seed in your imaginations. Let them run wild!
Here’s a link to the article: The Universe is Brighter Than We Thought »