by Potus ‘n’ Putin
Epigraph: “Oh, joy! An unexpected visit from my filmous fame star son!” --Dudley Moore, in drag, upon Peter Cook’s onstage entrance
A commenter comments: “My ninth-grade biology teacher, John McDonald [not his real name, although we didn’t know that at the time], had a book on his desk entitled ‘Superpower.’ He would not let us look at it, but he told us that Superpower had just created us and put all the memories we had into our heads. He said this every so often so that we could savor the delicious idea that Superpower created us just now with the memory that ‘Mr. McDonald’ had previously told us that Superpower had created us just now.”
The Colonel’s Lady tells me not to use people’s real names in this space because she has to live in this town, too. So let’s just call the above commenter “Stuart Bryan.” He underscores a lesson he learned from a biology teacher: that time and cause and effect as usually understood are not fundamental aspects of reality.
A consequence of that insight is that if not only space but also time are aspects of the Big Bang universe, then it makes no sense to ask what came “before” the Big Bang or what “caused” the Big Bang.
A summary shorthand: three “big explanations” are (a) Turtles All the Way Down (infinite regression); (b) Turtle Daisy Chain (infinite recurrence); and (c) Bottom Turtle (some version of “In the beginning God made heaven and earth”). But getting only that far butters no parsnips.
Maybe Stuart Bryan can use his laser pointer on this or that part of the Wall of Science and shed some ruby light on the quotidian conundrum.
A fellow human asks: “What can I do for just ten minutes a day that will change my life?” A few answers gathered semi-randomly from around the plenum:
Take a brisk walk.
Give up complaining.
Make a gratitude list.
Speed read a book a day. If you don’t finish it, too bad -- away it goes, bring on the next one.
Talk to a stranger or someone you wouldn’t ordinarily talk to.
Save two bucks a day (= $730/year; $732 in a leap year).
Recopy your top five life goals in longhand.
Ponder and plan. (Or plan and ponder -- whichever works better for you.)
Practice smiling till you’re so full of endorphins that you want to endow an orphanage (with money, not endorphins).
Ask yourself whether you see the world as good or bad, and why. Goethe said we see in the world what we carry in our hearts.
Play the role of your own worst enemy and ask yourself the toughest, most embarrassing question your enemy would ask if he or she knew your every thought, deed, and feeling, even if every one of them was created only just now by Mr. McDonald.
Think about a relationship you'd like to improve.
Work at acquiring a new skill. Duolingo gamifies your daily language learning. (Not a compensated product placement.) Scientific reports I just made up say that learning calligraphy, if done during a brisk walk, reduces chances of Alzheimer’s.
Keep an emotions log. Did you run the gamut of emotions from A to B? Write it down!
Breathe consciously. Earplugs let you hear your breathing.
Power nap. Naps of just ten minutes don’t upset your circadian rhythm, but can be wonderfully energizing and restorative.
Dance. Just not near any mandated reporters.
Scan a newspaper or magazine. Look briefly at every page and say a different word out loud suggested by each.
Keep a speed journal with each entry of ten minutes or less. Have a checklist of topics so you don’t waste time thinking of what to write about. Hints: new people you met; deeds done; strong feelings felt (negative and positive); weather; mood; body condition; primary relationships; ideas; words; purchases; FB; e-mail; what that elfin Stuart Bryan has been up to.
Wash your eyes. Don’t ask.
Practice your typing. Or your calligraphy. Do you remember why calligraphy’s important?
But whatever else you do, keep on incrementing. Here’s why:
In a leap year, the difference is even more dramatic.
That is all.