Saturday, January 3, 2015
Other worlds are just a blink away
We're living on the verge of different worlds. Sure, it doesn't seem like it. It's the same old world, day after day. But think about it. A car accident. A winning lottery ticket. A bad diagnosis at your annual check-up. One moment, flash, and your life is forever altered. It's like entering a different world.
It doesn't have to be big things, either. A smile can save a life. There's a documentary called "The Bridge." A 24/7 camera was set up and it recorded all the suicides and suicide attempts of those who jumped from the Golden Gate bridge. One of the jumpers said (on the long walk that led to the bridge): "If one person would've smiled at me, I wouldn't have jumped."
You're down. You're suicidal. Someone smiles at you and you want to live. You're thrust into a different world.
Homeostasis, Freud called it. The tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements. That's what we as human beings instinctively shoot for, the great Viennese psychiatrist postulated. And yet, how one tick of the clock can upset that process.
Even for a nation. Think of the impact of 911.
Stability is over-rated. Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote a book called Black Swan (not the movie of the same name). A black swan is an event that comes as a surprise, has a powerful impact in our lives. It's something we "didn't see coming."
We think we know so much. We think we can predict so well. We can't.
Better to be uncertain, to live in a healthy doubt. I like the saying, "There is only hope for you to the degree that you are unsettled."
Life thusly accurately prepares you for those other worlds that are lurking just a blink away from the one you're living in.