Archive for June, 2011

Time Zone

Friday, June 24th, 2011

One of those things that everyone learns as they get older is that time seems to keep getting shorter. When we were kids it took forever for Christmas to finally get here and now that were grown the years flip by like pages flying off the calendar in some old movie.

When I was younger I had time to get all sorts of things done. Of course, when I was younger I was also usually late to bed, needed an alarm to get up, and had a hard time getting into work on time. I claim that these facts are irrelevant but God keeps telling me they’re not. I tried making my case but she didn’t have time to listen.

After she was gone, I got to wondering how time must seem to her. I mean she’s been around for even longer than the universe, so time must seem like it’s going really, really fast to her. That just got me to wondering then, if the universe is “everything” and God created the universe, then she had to be around before everything, which means she’s not part of “everything,” but then that means that “everything” isn’t “everything.” It’s sort of an anti-tautology and it makes my brain hurt. I guess that’s why I’m not a priest or a preacher or anything, figuring out this supernatural stuff is hard.

Maybe I could figure it out if I had enough time, but as I already mentioned, there just isn’t enough time.

But Two

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Last week I mentioned that while having a little bit of fun God and I came up with two alternate “explanations” for the universe. Theories that offer more than the “simple” scientific view of the world, but that don’t require God to be behind everything. Last week I talked about the universe as a giant bit of computer memory. Now I’m going to tell you about our second idea. It’s called Polytheistic Solipsism.

In Polytheistic Solipsism, the universe is a shared hallucination.  We are all beings of pure thought.  The physical reality we experience is the result of consensus driven story-telling amongst us all.  Some people are better at pushing their ideas into the physical realm than others and so they have more power over the universe.  This doesn’t necessarily give them a better life, after all some people have pretty horrific stories they want to tell.  We can overcome the influence of strong individuals though, by combining our wills together to affect the universe in a greater fashion than we do as individuals.  This is a very democratic view of the universe, but still has a touch of feudalism to it.  Getting a large group of people to pray for something is an attempt to get our “real selves,” our selves that exist outside of physical reality, to join together in a cause and to change the universe in a way that is consciously directed.

We are all gods, hence “polytheistic” and the universe is literally what we imagine it to be, hence “solipsism.”

Polytheistic Solipsism can be used to explain miracles (two thousand years ago we had a collective belief in “magic” and so magic and miracles were possible), reincarnation (our “outside” selves continue on and can choose to reenter the physical world after they have finished one story and are ready to tell another), and even luck.

It even explains science. Just as the rules to some games have changed over time, by agreement amongst the players, the rules of the universe have changed. Those of us that collectively believe in a rational, explainable universe now dominate the discussion, that is have control of the hallucination, so now magic is out and science is in. There are still pockets of people that want a less rational universe so we get things like poltergeists and UFO sitings. The next time you experience something that seems a little paranormal, maybe you should look around and wonder what the people near you believe in. Maybe if the universe is weirder than you think it’s really because the people around you are weirder than you think.

Not Just One

Friday, June 10th, 2011

One of the games that God and I play is to try to imagine what the universe would be like without her. Since the universe is what we perceive we’d have to come up with something that would be consistent with what we perceive but which doesn’t require God to be behind everything. Now science is already doing a pretty good job of explaining the universe without having to resort to miracles, magic or messiahs, but we wanted to come up with ideas that offer a more expansive reality than what science shows. I mean, after all, what good is an alternate view of the universe if it doesn’t offer more than science?

So far we’ve come up with two interesting “explanations.”

The first and least is the metaphor that the universe is a giant bit of computer memory with all the bits set to one and variation only provided by our inability to accurately read out those ones.

This one can be really hard to get across to non-computer people and, amusingly, is just as hard to get across to computer people but for completely different reasons.

You probably know that everything inside of computers is represented by ones and zeroes. Technically we’re talking about “digital computers.” There are other types of computers, but that’s another discussion.  Anyway, using these binary representations you can describe, if not everything, damned near everything.  Those ones and zeroes, when properly organized and when interpreted through the right software, which is itself a collection of ones and zeroes, can be used to produce this blog post, the carefully crafted world of a Pixar movie, or the haphazard collective reality of Second Life. Much like quantum foam can be seen as the core variability that leads to all the diversity of the universe, the simple difference between one and zero leads to all the variation of what we see on our computer screens.  At the base level, those ones are considered “on” and those zeroes are considered “off.”  Now imagine that the multiverse is described in a giant computer.  Imagine that every bit in that computer is actually set to “on.”  Everything is true and everything exists simultaneously.  We, however, are imperfect readers of that memory.  We read that memory and we see it as a series not of infinite “ones” but as a series of ones and zeroes.  Because we’re all humans, which is to say we’re all the same kind of peripheral, we mostly malfunction in the same way, which is to say that we pretty much all misread the same bits as being zero and the same bits as being one, so that the reality we experience is pretty much the same from one person to the next.  But everyone has their own slight differences, so everyone experiences the universe just a little different from everyone else.  Each of us has some unique zeroes of our own.

That’s our first “theory.”  We don’t have a name for it yet.

I’m going to wait until next week to tell you the other theory, that’ll give you a little time to look at the world as a series of ones and blind spots. Maybe it’ll open up some possibilities for you.

June? Is That You?

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

June already? My how time flies. June is important to me because it’s Gay Pride month and while I don’t have a lot of pride in being gay myself, God has assured me that it’s okay to take pride in the accomplishments of the gay community as a whole.

Just in my lifetime we’ve gone from being the love that dare not speak its name to being a legally protected minority on the brink of having our committed relationships fully sanctified around the country and the world. I should probably mention the world before my country, though, since that’s where the first marriage gains happened, much to my disappointment even in the face of my elation.

When I was growing up society did an awfully good job of protecting me from knowing that homosexuality even existed, a state of ignorance that many today still wish to foist upon our kids. Let me tell you, not knowing that other people did the things that I did with other boys, not only didn’t stop me from doing them, or enjoying them, but didn’t stop me from growing up gay. The only thing it did stop me from was learning how to dance.


Even while I was still assuming that when I grew up I would marry a woman and raise a passel of kids, I didn’t see the point in learning to dance. Dancing serves more or less as an audition for our sexual abilities, and I really didn’t see a point in learning things that were supposed to help me get into bed with girls. Of course since my sense of rhythm seems to be a few degrees out of kilter with everyone around me, I might never have been any good at dancing, but if I’d known that boys too could hold each other cheek to cheek, I might at least have been motivated to give it a try.