My wife and I were discussing a show on PBS today. A scientist likened matter and energy to information. He connected the two states of electrons (up and down) to the 0-1 binary language of computer code.
Some physicists are beginning to think of the universe as an information system, and that time, matter and energy are just phenomenon used in the communication of a long, complicated thought, or as elements in a complex, self processing equation. Perhaps Douglas Adams was right when he suggested that the meaning of time, space and everything is 42.
Our discussion drifted sideways, and a few thoughts emerged: 1.) Scientists are looking for new ways to unite disparate theories into one unified code that describes and predicts everything. They are trying out new perspectives, new vantage points to pick out a pattern that remains invisible from their current observation sites. 2.) People are often trapped by their assumptions about life, by their vision of their identity and place. Their only means of escape is to find a new vantage point from which they can consider other possibilities.
An analogy: Shakespeare said that we are all actors on a stage. We have roles and play our parts, and we’re used to the book and the staging. It’s hard to give up a part that has become second nature, or even to realize that other parts in other plays are available. I grew up as the troubled middle child in my family. I know how to do that. But what if I looked at myself as an independent person who occasionally does not meet family expectations. That sounds like spin, but the original role is based on a biased interpretation of events too.
The first step in trying to find a new vantage point is to ask, “What play am I in?” Am I in a tragedy, an action adventure, a hero’s quest, or an absurdist comedy? What part am I playing?
I’ve known people who feed on conflict and drama. They are adept in turning harmless situations into full blown disasters. A friend of mine refers to this type as a “crazy maker”. They bend the events to fit the plot of their dire adventure play. “Downers” see life as a tragedy, a long walk through a valley of shadows and tears. If something good happens its purpose is to throw the essentially lachrymose nature of life into sharp relief. “True Believers” follow their moral/religious/philosophical code and see life as a crusade for their cause. They prove their worthiness and the worthiness of their creed by trying to force it down everyone else’s throat.
I thought about my outlook on life, and I’m definitely in an absurdist comedy. I see my life from a whack-a-mole’s perspective. I pop my head up out of my hole and frequently get away with the exposure. But fate steps in at random moments and whacks me on the head. I can’t predict when and have never figured out why. It’s difficult for me to believe in a loving God and to put my trust in Him, Her, It. Events seem too inexplicable to place them in a pattern designed for my soul’s benefit by my Buddy-In-The-Sky.
So I’m left wondering if there’s another play for me, another part. The whack-a-mole universe play fits my experience, and I’ve become comfortable ducking clubs and hiding in my hole. But there must be something else out there that is less paranoid and miserable. Now all I have to do is stick my head up high enough to take a good look around for a new vantage point. I think that there’s one right over there! New possibilities! A new me! My whole life will change!