Say Hello Lewis

Sometimes I get to living and I think "I'm the only one who's thinking about this" and then I'll pick up a book and someone has discovered something that disproves everything I ever believed to be true.

Think about that whole flat world thing for example. I was born at a time when we all laughed at those guys. Give or take a couple hundred years, that wasn't always the case.

So, this morning, while my cat Lewis was chatting about something of interest to him, it dawned on me that everyone knows animals can't talk. Or think about things. Or have feelings. We know this because they haven't built any freeways, written any books or organized any rallies in support of PETA and vegan-ism.

We have no reason to think that animals do talk, therefore, they don't?

How do we know what we think is true?

Take another look at the physical world. The matter around and under us appears solid, so what do we do with the fact that it's not?

Some clever monkeys figured out how to peek under the hood of atoms and found smaller and smaller and I mean unbelievably smaller particles of little tiny building blocks of matter. Then they noticed that 99.98% of what appears to be solid matter is actually made up of empty space.

The desk holding up this key board isn't solid. It's a whirling dervish of tiny particles held together by a whole lot of nothing. Which we'll probably discover at some point isn't here either.

There you have it.

I try to hold the idea in my mind that in fact the desk isn't "here", but then it occurs to me that perhaps I'm not here either. In which case, who or what is typing? It comes apart pretty fast from that point, so for now let's stick with the desk.

So, I experience the desk as solid. Not too complicated an idea. If I asked a hundred people "Is the desk solid?", most of them would agree - after looking at me a bit quizzically since I don't readily appear to be daft.

Some smarty pants would refuse to answer and shout out a clever quip or ask a question back, but I don't intend to invite any of those into the survey. Never do, but they always sneak into the picture anyway. Mostly we'd all agree that the desk is solid.

Empiricism, the belief that what we experience is reality, isn't completely false. It's just not the whole picture. And to make things a bit more complicated, the "sub particle-ists" didn't stop with the tables and chairs.

The same kids who've sorted out that nothing is the biggest part of the universe are also busy backing up really fast on the whole rule book of "how things happen". Apparently all those laws were more like guidelines.

Turns out that the act of observation changes the state of the bits being observed. Not too hard then to imagine that the act of thinking about the particles might change their state as well.

What this makes me think is that all fairy tales are probably true. Or at least somewhat true. Kind of like the laws of physics, as far as we thought.

We're inhabiting a wonderland that moves according to both our intention and observation. Only not exactly in the way we think. Oh, it sells more books to tell the monkeys that we're at the helm. Which makes good business sense, but when you think about it, seems kind of silly. Really, monkeys? Please.

Or we're flying through the heavens on a paradise ship, conceived, created and ruled by a single, very unique character that has been giving dictation to monkeys?

And this creator asks that we love or kill each other depending on which monkey he talked to in what century? Well, actually, that might make a bit more sense, given how random this appears from the ground. And no one has proved that isn't true, so I can let that be.

Perhaps humanity may actually be no more than barely here pulses of light, being observed and observing. A trillion cells of energy, briefly organized in what appears to be a solid mass of top grade protein, with bits of salt and a tiny current of electricity.

No more improbable than the world being round.

Lewis laughed.

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