Cause & Effect

What if our lives were different. What if we took the bus one day or picked a different restaurant to have lunch than wherever we did go. What if our parents chose a different neighborhood to live or your mom rejected your dad, or dad never mustered the courage to ask your mom out on that first date. Would you still exist? Maybe you would just be the puppy the other kids of your mom or dad would one day own. Or maybe you’d simply miss the boat on this generation of existence. Meaning, better luck next time in getting to be born.

But what if you never cease to exist? What if you are always in some form of existence, it’s just a matter of the how and the what, the only determents are the choices made by those…well, those making the choices. Sometimes they’re made by you and sometimes they’re made by those things around you. If I examined one day in my life from my past, and tweaked each decision I made that day, I could outline an infinite amount of different versions of where I could be now. For example, if I didn’t move to a certain city at a certain time, I would have never carpooled with a certain girl from class and if she wasn’t fired from her job during this time she would have never gotten hired at the new place that she told me to check out. If it wasn’t for her, I would have never thought I could get that job and then I would have never met the man I’m now in love with and I wouldn’t be living with him or have a myriad of other experiences. There would be an infinite amount of differences in my life if this one chain of events were changed.

Not too unusual, but does it mean anything? Is there a right or wrong to these paths we take or is it simpler than that. Can we really chock up all existence and experiences to timing? There would have been no way for me to know that these little choices would have led to such bigger turns later. If I thought about it in this way at all, I would surely drive myself mad. Much like Alice did before her departure to Wonderland:

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would.”

Alice in Wonderland

This can go in either direction. What if I never sought out that acting class that was so far away? Would I have ever met the friend I carpooled with? If not, would I be living and working somewhere different and be madly in love with a person I never got to meet in this alternate version of my life? Would life somehow be better if I made that one little decision differently…Or would it be all wrong and I’d be living in misery. This may be the reason so many of us are afraid to make choices. What if we’re wrong? What if we’re left with no one to blame but ourselves for our place in life. Or even worse, what if it all means nothing and everything would be exactly the same with only the names and locations changed. Like I said…I could drive myself mad asking these questions.

In Episode 9 of Dimension Samag Kim is manipulated into believing that his second meeting with “Ondra” is a chance one. Shondra and her partner Jerry devise a plan in compliance with the CIA to get close to Samag Kim by planting a seed in Episode 8 and then watering it in Episode 9. Shondra not only places herself in Samag’s path twice but she interferes with one of his assignments from Lou and changes his outcome. This puts him in a different emotional state after his mission and they play on his creature comforts by assuming he’ll hit his favorite dive bar in the desert, which he does like clockwork. Shondra has perfectly manipulated the sequence of events in Samag’s life, but to him, it feels coincidental and maybe even meant to be. But not right away. Being the analytical trained criminal he is, Samag is at first very suspicious. Though his curiosity level is weighed fairly evenly with his suspicions. Like most humans, Samag is hopeful. He dreams of a better day when life isn’t so dangerous and he has someone to love. The ultimate goal for Samag is to do just the opposite of what the choices he’s made thus far have determined. He wants to get out of the life of crime and fall in love. When he runs into “Ondra” again at the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market Downtown, he can’t help but hope she’s the girl he’s been waiting for, the one worth risking it all for. Time will tell what Samag determines.

These things that are on the outside of us and our decision making have a huge impact on our lives and the paths we take. Whether it be the other people in our lives or our environments. Some, if not the majority of these influences go unseen. What about the universe? There are a million things that we don’t get to examine on this huge scale that influences our lives down to the minutia. Although we try. Daniel Irwin, a NASA researcher developed a program of satellites that observes the Earth “to identify impacts from climate or environmental conditions such as flooding, deforestation, wildfires, drought and other long-term hazards” (nasa.gov).

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It’s called Servir and the project is giving us even more incite as to how to manage our disasters-to-come but the truth is that many of these disasters were brought on by our carelessness as humans. We mistreated our planet and now we’re paying the longterm consequences. We’re now in a position to deal reactively to these longterm disastrous effects with projects such as Servir. What if we were able to funnel all that money into something more exploratory rather than preventative? How much more would we know about ourselves and the universe if we weren’t busy running in place trying to catch up as we spend an enormous amount of money on technology designed to predict the terrible outcomes of our carelessness. We could have chosen differently. We could be living a parallel version of existence that knows more about health and space exploration on a planet that is thriving. Instead, we are here, in all it’s glorious tragedy and remaining beauty.

 
Better luck next dimension.

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‘Tis Love

Some things look much different up close than they do from a far and safe distance. This change in perspective is what makes examining the world worth it’s while. It is also what makes life exciting and at the same time scary. This opportunity for the unknown. It is either what keeps us from exploration or what draws us in. It seems to me that many of the evils in our world come from a deep rooted fear and some will do everything in their power to not have to face it. Others will make their fears the reason to forge forward and defy them. The argument could be made that this is what divides us as people. Those that face their fears and those that succumb to them. But how does one make the distinction whether to go forth or hang back? I guess you could say it’s a matter of perspective.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to fly in a helicopter for the first time. It was a magnificent experience mostly because I was able to see parts of the California coast that I would not have been able to see any other way. Flying over the Pacific Coast Highway towards the Malibu Hills we had a front seat to the Pacific Ocean, the misty mountains, celebrity mansions and a lake I had not know existed. I gained a different sense of the geography along with a new take on the beauty of our beaches. What seemed average to having grown up in Southern California really looked majestic from that height. It undoubtedly provided me with a new outlook. What if I had been afraid to fly? It would have been a tragically missed opportunity.

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Thankfully, scientists are not afraid to forge forward and put themselves in situations that could either be dangerous or risky to their reputation. What if Thomas Edison hadn’t been curious about electricity and therefore hadn’t invented the light bulb? Our progress in Western society might have been much different. In fact, the light bulb has also evolved a bit in that we now have many varieties in type, one of them being the LED light. Obviously, we use light to illuminate but what if it had hidden talents such as transporting sound? According to nasa.gov , “Light communication is not new. Its history goes back as far as the 1880s when Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, developed the photophone. In a demonstration in Washington, D.C. he transmitted speech using modulated sunlight over a distance of several hundred yards. This experiment even pre-dates the first transmission of speech by radio.” The idea behind revising this development is to try and create something called “LIFI”. Similar to WIFI, it would allow us to have a wireless internet connection by using LED lights. It is this kind of forward thinking that has to be fearless. You have to believe in an idea strongly enough to make a life’s work out of it, hoping that it’ll reap some results, ignoring the fear of failure and lost time. There must be a point in which you decide the work will be worth it.

In Episode 8 of DIMENSION Shondra goes undercover to get close to Samag Kim, Lou’s right-hand man. Shondra’s entire mission will revolve around changing Samag’s speculative perspective. He must let his guard down and trust her in order for Shondra to develop a relationship with him and carry out her mission. There will come a point when Samag will have to decide if he will face his fear of falling in love and it will be up to Shondra to alter his stance just enough that he will make this choice. What’s interesting is that love is what Samag wants most in life but in order to preserve his current lifestyle love comes as a threat.

Scientists must forge a strong love for what they do in order to go out there and do it. Deeper than the love for the science though, I believe it is our love for human kind that motivates us. Even the Duchess says it to Alice in the topsy turvy world of Wonderland:

“Oh, ’tis love, ’tis love, that makes the world go round!”
 Alice in Wonderland

The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of fear is “An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat”. There are many things in life that pose this possibility but if no one ever faced this uncomfortable emotion then where would we be? Is this uncomfortable feeling so powerful that it overcomes the strongest emotion of them all, love? It might have kept us from having a space exploration program, or a free country in the United States or evolutions in music and art. Those people that choose to face their fears are the ones leading us towards something bigger. By their example we might choose to also face our own uncomfortable feelings so as not to sacrifice our happiness, or dare I say, the betterment of mankind.

Perhaps the victory would not be as sweet without the difficulty of fear standing in our way.