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Monday, June 05, 2006

Consider the Possibilities 

I've been thinking for several weeks about how lucky I am -- we all are. The standard conception of this idea says: "We're lucky to be here. The odds of sentient human life on this planet is [some incredibly small number]." The religious view is basically the same, but with some phrase involving "[name of deity]'s infinite love".

But that's not what I'm talking about. Obviously we are lucky in that sense. I know I'm also lucky in a geopolitical sense -- born with an arsenal of privileges and benefits that most humans don't enjoy. (This brings additional responsibilities, of course.)

But I don't mean even that sort of thing. I've been fantasizing about all the incredibly wretched possibilities that could possibly exist, which would make life much more difficult for us humans. Take something as simple as climate. We enjoy, on our home planet, a very temperate range of weather conditions. I live much of my life in absolutely paradisical conditions when it comes to weather. But what if it were different? Think of the worst winter blizzard hellstorm you've ever been through. Now imagine if every day were like that.

There is an infinite number of similarly hideous possibilities that we could be subject to. Come with me as I explore some of them.
  • Suppose every day for five hours, flaming boulders fell randomly from the sky, crushing buildings and incinerating people.

  • What if every morning at 8:00 AM -- whether you are asleep or awake -- a huge venomous lizard spawned from your neck?

  • Imagine being enslaved by mute titanium robots from another planet, who communicated only through painful electroshock punishments.

  • What if every three years every person experienced total and complete memory loss?

  • Suppose Spontaneous Human Combustion were definitely real and a part of our world on a regular basis. At least once a day you watch someone burst into flames on the subway -- and you thank the gods it's not you.

  • Imagine waking up every day as a different species. One day you're a human; the next, you're a cockroach. Suppose you retain your memory through it all. "Damn, I hate being a cockroach!" or maybe "Awesome! I love being a cockroach!"

  • Picture this: Some humans -- for an unknown reason -- generate electricity. Would individuals rent themselves out as free-agent power suppliers?

  • What if the only food we could find tasted like rat vomit?

  • Imagine if our limbs just randomly fell off. You'd be walking down the street and it's goodbye, arm! And then when you go to pick it up, your other arm falls off.

  • Suppose our stomachs couldn't move -- we had to keep them in one place all the time. Then we'd have to bring food to it. Restaurants wouldn't exist. And what if the place you had to keep your stomach were in a cave? Or a really creepy basement?

  • What if The Simpsons had never been created?

  • Suppose our most fleeting desires all became uncontrollable urges? You imagine eating a strawberry scone for some reason, and then suddenly nothing else in your life matters even a little bit. And what if you were performing brain surgery when this idea hit? ("Doctor, where are you going?" "Strawberry scones!")

  • What if our eyeballs were attached to our head via very thin, fragile strands twice the length of our bodies? We'd have to invent some sort of cup to keep them in, strapped to our heads. And when you want to look at something, you'd have to take them out of the cup and point it toward the object. Or maybe we'd get lazy, and eventually only point one eye. Let the other one stay in the cup.
I'm sure I could come up with more, but the Daily Show's about to come on. Post your own in the comments!

I'm not trying to be morbid, I swear. I could just as easily come up with a list of incredibly bizarre positive possibilities as well. (Suppose rain tasted like ice cream.) But that would be sappy and boring after a while. Besides -- as I said -- I think we owe it to ourselves to give thanks for just how good we've already got it.

(Pic from this page, which appears to be a blog written by meteors. How odd.)

End of an Era

I've decided to end the regular pattern of doing a Deviant SynCast every week. Alas, it's become such a big chunk of my Sundays (average of three hours if I want something I can be satisfied with), and I feel like I'm stagnating with them. (You all heard the last few.)

I'll still do a show once in a while if I get a good idea and/or adequate free time (the summer is approaching quickly), but I've got other projects I'd like to work on, instead of feeling attached to this "show" which reaches maybe five or six people.


What if EBN made a video called DreamMaster? Weird!

Today I'm listening to: DI Ambient!