Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Change Your Day" Day

¡Hola! Everybody,
How’s everyone doing? It seems almost impossible to comment on other blogs. 360 is really off the skids these days.

The young girl on my profile pic is the granddaughter of a colleague who retired yesterday. She’s all of three years old. I kept bothering her for a kiss and a hug and she would have nothing to do with me. I then resorted to the tried and true: bribery! LOL I took her to the store to buy her an ice cream. I told her that she could have any ice cream she wanted. When we go to the store and I lifted her up so she could pick, she bypassed the ice cream bars, popsicles and immediately pointed at the gallon of Hagen Daz!

When I told her that was too much and it might give her a tummy ache, she looked at me as if to say, “Well, you ain’t getting no kiss, ma’fucca.” We finally negotiated for two ice cream bars (I sold her on the virtues of coconut flavor). Eventually, she warmed up to me and gave me a kiss and a hug. When I asked if we could take picture together, she nodded her head yeas and rested her head on my shoulder. Too cute!

I always wanted a daughter. A little girl like that would have me eating out of the palm of her hand -- they’re such heart-stealers!

* * *

How to Change Your Day
“You can’t perceive what you can’t conceive.”

Listen well, because the following can change your day...

Here’s a scientific discovery for you all to ponder: Ninety-six percent of the universe is stuff we’ve never seen. More precisely, the cosmos is 23 percent dark matter and 73 percent dark energy, both of which are missing -- unseen and unknowable -- to us humans. All the stars and planets and moons and asteroids and comets and nebulas and gas cloud s all together make up the visible four percent.

So, where is the other 96 percent? No one knows. It’s not only concealed from humans, it’s undetectable to the instruments humans have devised, and its whereabouts can’t be predicted by any existing theories.

Knowing this, how does this change your thinking? If the vast majority of reality is invisible to you, how should you adapt to that knowledge? How certain can you be about anything? Maybe one way to adapt to this fact is that we should maintain an open mind.

::blank stare::

17th century church authorities refused to look through Galileo’s telescope. Why bother, they scoffed? Christian dogma made it perfectly clear that moons could not possibly circle Jupiter.

But before you scientifically minded folk get too smug, consider that most of today’s scientists refuse to consider the possibility that there have been unidentified craft flying around our skies for years. It’s absurd to think that beings from other star systems could travel the vast distances between them and us, they tell us, as they look down their noses with contempt. They say there’s no valid reason to examine the evidence. It’s a ridiculous proposition. Their certainty contains a major bias: that sentient beings from other worlds can only have ships that are limited to the means of propulsion we have discovered here on Earth.

And please don't get it twisted: I'm not saying that UFOs exist, only that we shouldn't be so smug about our assumptions about their existence or lack thereof.

To the ancient Greeks, electricity was as bizarre and unfathomable as telepathy is to us today. Yet electricity existed before it was believed in. It’s just that there was no theory that proposed its existence and no means to gather evidence for it. Before electricity could “exist,” the culture had to change in order for people to be able to know where and how to look.

Today we’re aware of electricity as well as black holes, x-rays, and infrared light because we have the instruments to extend our senses. I have to question the wisdom of a mindset that assumes we have developed every sense-extending technology that will be ever be invented.

When Columbus’ ships first appeared on the horizon, my ancestors, the Tainos, saw them as floating monsters. They didn’t have the conceptual knowledge to know them for what they really were. You can’t perceive what you can’t conceive. An adult who has been blind all his life and through surgery is suddenly given the gift of sight takes a while to be able to interpret what he’s looking at. The eye alone doesn’t see. The mind and the cultural prejudices it has internalized interpret and shape what we see (and don’t see).

So what the fuck does all this have to do with your day, let alone changing it? Give me a moment and I’ll try to bring it all home for you.

Some of you may have heard of Einstein’s theory of relativity. I won’t explain it right now, but his theory changed the very way in which we perceive reality. It has influenced (and continues to do so) every sphere of science. This elegant little theory almost single-handedly changed our lives in so many ways I can’t begin to count them. One admiring journalist asked Einstein how he arrived at his theory. “How did you do it?” the journalist asked. “I ignored an axiom,” Einstein replied.

To be clear, the revolutionary scientist didn’t say he ignored an opinion or a theory, but rather an idea so well established that it was regarded as self-evident. Furthermore, he didn’t say he rebelled or fought against the axiom: He simply acted as if it weren’t there.

And that’s it in a nutshell, if you want to change your day (or even your life), you have to stay open to the realization that even the most accepted assumption can be wrong. Begin by learning the rules and then break or at least deeply question all of them. Or at least act as if the limitations don't exist.



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