Pillar One

Since as long as I can remember, from early childhood, I was always full of thoughts and questions to which my parents had no answer. The earliest example I can remember is one day (by my best guess I must have been 6 or 7) I asked my dad if he realized that every single tiny thing that we did, every single second changed the future forever. I remember following him around the house explaining my theory, most notably at the front entrance of our home when he let out some signal of incomprehension. My arguments went something like this (warning: this is VERY train of thought and is merely to provide insight, if you wish you may skip the following paragraph as I will restate it in more concise terms after):

“Every second, every little thing that changes, changes everything for ever! Like, for example, if you kill someone, no even an ant! If you step on an ant, that ant will no longer do what it was going to do next. Then all the other ants and all the other things won’t react to that ant. Maybe it won’t eat a blade of blade of grass, and another ant will 30 minutes later, and because of that a predator will see that ant and eat it, and it wont go looking for another ant, which means it’ll be home instead of being exposed to one of it’s predators, and so that predator will have to eat something else, which means that the person who would’ve seen it eat it’s meal didn’t… and then… crap what does that matter. WAIT, it works with thoughts too! Then the person who didn’t see the second predator devour its meal would have something different passing through his/her mind than if it did, and instead he might see another animal do something and say something to a friend, and those words might give the friend a revelation, and this friend might decide to be nicer to someone, or perhaps come up with some invention… don’t you see dad? Ever gust of wind, every single thought we have… like that thought! And that one! and everything that’s going through your mind right now will change the world forever!!”

Now I’m very sorry if you actually read all that, but I felt it important to present to you the way in which I first thought up this theory, even though I’m sure I slightly changed it to make a little more sense than my young mind could at the time. Now days I’d just say:

“Every single change in the world, down to every thought and every gust of wind, imparts miniscule changes that will in turn snowball and change the world forever.”

Of course you might well be thinking to yourself… “but thats just the butterfly effect!”. Well yes, yes it is. I was quite dismayed when I found out many years later (not that long ago actually) that my unique theory was in fact a well enough known postulation – there was even a Family Guy TV episode concerning it! (Back to the Pilot) This theory, of course, makes backwards time travel so ridiculous that it should never be attempted – I cringe and disapprove every time I see a tv show or movie with time travel in it. The only way in which I can see my theory being wrong is if, as some people think, our fates are predetermined. I would like to think however that there is absolutely no proof for this to be the case.

So how does this theory factor into my life? At first it consumed me – I’d think about it constantly and go through tons of sequences like the one I wrote above. I’d try to disprove it using what Albert Einstein would call “thought experiments”. It of course didn’t take me long to get weary of thinking like this. I soon came to the realization that this type of thinking, while technically correct, was both stupid and useless – a HUGE waste of time. Unfortunately, however, I cannot stop thinking in this manner to this day, although it is a lot less frequent. Every time I begin thinking in this manner, I must always remind myself “Ok Sam, you know where this goes already, you’ve already thought of this. It’s useless and stupid to think about it any more”.

Yet while the means may be ridiculous and stupid, it is the end which I’ve gleaned from it which helps me through everyday life. Because all that this means is that it’s impossible for anyone to tell what the future will bring, and what impact one’s decision will have. If I didn’t come to this conclusion, can you imagine the constant terror I would be in? Every single moment I would worry about what’s going through my mind, if I made the right decision – in fact I would probably be too terrified to decide anything! So in this sense no decisions actually really matter. 9/11 might have prevented the end of the world. Forgetting your son’s birthday might somehow save his life. So I can take some comfort whenever anything bad occurs. What DOES matter is the way in which we and other people perceive our decisions. And how this affects our happiness. Therefore I believe that I must make decisions as I see fit at the time – a decision is not right or wrong because of it’s impact, but because of the way I will feel about it, and by extension the way others perceive me because of it. In this manner I can simply try and make the right decision, and yet not worry too much about it’s impact.

To my friends: YES this is why I’m so indecisive about planning things sometimes! I feel like there’s too many variables and so if they all seem to have similar fun levels, I figure why decide when someone else who holds more importance on decisions can decide?


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