Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?
Do you take as given the universe you see in front of your eyes?
Is your perception absolute?
Is the sky really blue?
Id’ wager many of us have not asked these questions.
The sky isn’t blue. The atmosphere refracts light and we perceive it as blue. It’s actually colorless; its true nature only visible in darkness.
Nonetheless, we perceive it as blue.
For some, questioning reality itself is tantamount to insanity.
Few of us want to be labeled as crazy.
Being open-minded requires an openness to persuasion.
What if the world were flat?
What if the sun does revolve around the earth?
Insanity, some would claim. Heresy! But is it?
General relativity prohibits an absolute frame of reference.
What if every single person on the planet has it wrong?
It wouldn’t be the first time.
After all, don’t most of us define our reality through the eyes of others?
Our agreement on a shared reality.
Most of us agree that the Earth revolves around the sun.
It is known.
But isn’t that observation from a frame of reference outside the solar system?
After all, from any given planet the perception is that the sun revolves around that planet.
Granted, that frame of reference excludes the other bodies in the solar system.
Does that invalidate the planetary frame of reference?
Limited, yes. But invalid?
Or is it just one of many possible alternatives?
After all, doesn’t the sun revolve around the galactic center?
Or from the sun’s frame of reference, the galactic center around the sun?
Aristarchus proposed this alternative in the 3rd century B.C.E.
It wasn’t until the 16th century C.E., more than 1500 years later, that Galileo proved it.
Could it be said that for any given frame of reference, there is a broader frame waiting to be discovered?
What if our entire universe is just a dimension of a larger whole?
What if there were infinite smaller dimension for which we are the larger whole?
Throughout history we’ve created stories to explain phenomena that could not otherwise be explained.
To the ancient Egyptians, Ra provided all the light and warmth that sustained life on Earth.
We now know this to be a hydrogen fusion process 92 million miles away.
Do we judge the Egyptians for their belief?
Are they stupid for believing such a phenomena to be the work of a deity?
Or did they do the best they could with the limited information they had.
Have you ever created a story to explain something you didn’t understand, only to learn later that the truth was something completely different?
Odds are, if you’re honest with yourself, the answer is yes.
Are we creating our universe as we try to discover it?
Fabricating a shared reality because few have an idea and persuade others to believe it?
We tend to discover evidence that proves scientific hypotheses.
Could that be subject to confirmation bias?
The cognitive bias in which we search for evidence to prove our own preconceptions at the exclusion of other possibilities.
We all do it. And being aware of it doesn’t change the fact that it influences our thinking.
What if the entire known universe was created as a result of trying to prove our theories.
… and thereby perceived incorrectly?
Through a narrow aperture.
What if nothing around you is as it seems, and it is only perceived as such because that’s how we believe it should be perceived?
What if we are all wrong?
Why are we so afraid of being wrong?
Why are we so afraid of thinking differently?
Being wrong often leads to drastic consequences. Especially when we question fundamental beliefs.
Thinking differently is often persecuted.
Galileo was convicted of heresy for his beliefs in the 17th century.
Heresy. Treason. Blasphemy.
What is it about our attachment to beliefs that prevent us from seeing a larger, more complete picture?
From being able to shift frames of reference at will?
It would require tremendous discomfort and uncertainty.
Discomfort from the expected judgment from others as we refuse to take everything we are told as fact.
Uncertainty from the questioning of self and the beliefs we hold as fact.
What if we could develop a comfort in discomfort?
A certainty in uncertainty?
What if we truly embraced the notion that the only thing we can know is that we know nothing?
What kind of universe would we perceive?
I’ve believed that time is the only thing we have of true value. I think I had it wrong.
Value is determined by scarcity. That’s why diamonds, gold, and fossil fuels hold such value.
They cannot be easily replenished.
So what if something could not be replenished at all? Wouldn’t the value increase exponentially as the limit approached zero? Become infinite?
What if there is no such thing as time, only our perception thereof?
If that is true, then what is the only truly nonrenewable resource we all have?
After all, we’ll all be fossil fuels in a few million years.
Dust to dust.
New stars will form. Old stars will explode in supernovae. Gold and diamonds will rain from the heavens.
What if time is not the most valuable thing we have?
What if it’s life itself?
How would we treat each other? Our environment?
What if the only eternity we all face is the memory we leave with others?
What kind of memories would we leave?
What if our heaven is being remembered for the kindness and love we showed?
What if our hell is being remembered for the torment we inflected upon others? The pain we caused?
What if our divinity is not somewhere without, but within?
What if we all already know the answers if we can see past the answers others want us to believe?
If we’re wrong, will the Earth stop spinning? The sun stop shining? The flow of time cease? Life blink from existence?
It’s happened before. We’re all still here.