Shorts: How to be more forgiving, to children.

It would be fair to say that at some point, we have all been frustrated by a crying child. Perhaps it is a baby, who is uncomfortable because their ears are popping on a busy plane returning home from some holiday destination. Perhaps it is a toddler, who will not be getting an extra toy today, during their visit to the supermarket. Or maybe it is any other plethora of potentials, that is driving someone somewhere wild, and boiling their blood.

It can be irritating, and we may even feel like shouting and letting it all out, you may think the child or the parent is to blame. But simply; if you have found yourself in this situation, of being red faced and ready to erupt, it is you who is at fault. Because you are distinctly choosing not to be so kind and considerate.

Consider this; we have all been heartbroken one time or another. Perhaps a loved one passed away, or someone very dear to us moved on. And at the time, it is horrific. We feel empty. Lost. As though no amount of good remains in the world. As though this stabbing, heart-wrenching pain, is the new pinnacle of our existence. Of all the things that have happened to us at that point, this is the worst. People come and go, they stop for a moment and tell you, “Everything will be okay.” but you ignore them, because in the moment you genuinely do believe that it won’t be okay, or that you can’t bear the pain. At the time, it is the worst thing that has ever happened to you.

Well… What age were you when you remember that? Say you were in your teens or your twenties, perhaps you were the fortunate few who lasted until later in life to experience such heartache. Regardless, you will have already experienced an extensive line of events to make you strong, to build you up into who you are and ensure you can endure more and more that life throws at you.

But to a child; not getting a toy – might be the worst thing that has ever happened to them. To you it’s nothing – you’ve not been given toys before, or maybe you know that your ears will pop on a long journey… but they haven’t experienced that yet. It’s easy for you because you are strong, and you have forgotten that. It’s easy because you have much more difficult memories you have faced, and you have overcome those, so by comparison losing out on a toy doesn’t seem so bad. It seems trivial.

But you must be more kind, because it is the worst thing they can compare anything else to. Imagine you thought you could have the world, and for free – and then one day someone told you “No.”? You would think, “Why? What have I done to deserve this? It isn’t fair.”

In fact, if you ever had a tantrum, even once, you did think this. It’s not because you were bad, or that this random child repeating the feat is bad; it’s because they’re new.

They have not learned. They’re new to the world, the good that she brings, and the bad she delivers.

So rather than losing your temper, and letting trivial inconveniences irk you more than they should – let it go. They are learning, so that they can be better. Be an adult; and do the same.

Uncertainty

Uncertainty, it’s a wonderful thing.

It ensures that you live out a fascinating and astonishing life, rather than a mundane one. With every day different, you can be sure you should continue on going because there is so much to see and do.

And yet, it’s so commonly associated with anxiety because anxiety requires it for its very definition. But the two are not interchangeable. Just because you are uncertain of something, does not mean you must be anxious of it.

Uncertainty, refers only to the unknown state or outcome, of future events. Anxiety, refers to the negative feelings most commonly associated with uncertainty. So what happens then, if we remove anxiety, and instead explore uncertainty?

Humans innately strive for the illusion of control; the ability to steer your car down a particular fork in the road, to lead you to pastures new. The problem being that while in theory this seems pleasant, and very deterministic; life is much more chaotic – and while you can choose which road you travel, the problem is your field of vision is foggy at best. So while you may choose the nicer, more well maintained road – you could find that as soon as your on it, there are more obstacles in your way; roadworks or the cars of others that slow you down and bring you to a halt. Perhaps the cars that drove down the nice path did so, because they liked the seaside view next to it. But maybe you don’t like the sea.

So while it’s nice to think you’re in control and making the right decisions, in reality you’re about as likely to predict the correct outcome as the flip of a coin. So why worry about the uncertainty of it all? It’s tension. All of your choices, every single one you have ever made, has been half chance – and so have everyone else’s.

Let’s suppose your loved one is away on travel, and you’re irrationally afraid for their safety. Let’s suppose they are already gone, and so you do not have the option of convincing them not to go or packing a bulletproof vest in their suitcase. Now, whether or not their destination is a safe haven or a war-zone, it does not behoove you or anyone to worry or remain anxious for any length of time. You do not have control over this situation. You are uncertain of the outcome, but that does not mean you have to fear it. The outcome will remain the same, regardless of your fear of it. So why worry?

Apply this to the toxicity of self doubt, in any given situation. How many hours could you justly say that you have wasted thinking about events… which never happened? But you thought they might. And so it felt very real. To you. As real as if it had happened, because just like when a real thing happens and it takes its toll, so too will you be tolled as long as you treat fictitious events as though they are true.

So remove this anxiety from your life. Remain in the moment – and if anything, embrace the fleeting nature of it. Embrace that as you try to hold onto the moment, already it has passed. So do not hold on to it – rather, live it. The universe does not have to adhere to your laws of expectation. Nor does it work on the same reference of time. It can change what it’s doing in an instant, just as you can.

Accept uncertainty. It is merely a synonym, for freedom, when it is not necessarily you who is in control.


Another article you may find helpful regarding this topic of abandoning the illusion of control, and not fearing it, can be found here:

Shorts: The Apple Tree

Shorts: The Apple Tree

When the seed in your hand has come from an apple; it does not matter how much you wish for it to be an orange tree. Regardless of whether you pray, and request for it to change; when you plant it, and bide your time until it grows, it will always be an apple tree, and bare more apples to enjoy. It does not care for your desires, nor does it care how much you desperately would like to try something new. It is an apple tree. And it will be an apple tree. There is nothing you can do to influence that outcome.

Do not spend your time in vain, wishing, with thought and prayer, or with some kind heuristic botany. Instead, find your new solution. Allow that apple tree, to be the little apple tree it needs to be, as you pursue what it is you need. Do not spend a moment of thought, on sadness over what is essentially a desire for control, where this control is an illusion.

There is so much in life, that we fuss over because of a perceived control over it. And as humans, when we lose control of something it gives us great distress. It gives us anxiety, because we feel as though we no longer can predict or even understand the outcome of any given situation, which in turn gives us anxiety. A tension, which is a desire for more stable conditions.

But the truth is, that whether we like it or not, we have less control over larger things than we would like. We can love someone with all of our hearts, and give everything that we are to them; but that does not mean they will be kind in return, offer us any time, or reciprocate that love with us. We can train a lifetime for a given task, and manipulate our paths in the best way possible to achieve the goal when the time is right; but that does not mean there is not a chance we could be run over by a bus tomorrow. Equally there are those who will be greedy, do iniquitous and horrific things; and never be caught for it, and die thinking they got away with it.

Once you submit that control over anything but your thoughts and your actions is an illusion, the rest of the pieces of your life seem to fall into place. And you find that rather than fighting every wave in the sea, to get where you need to be; you simply adjust the sails.

 

Have something to say.

If you’re struggling to think of what to say, perhaps you should listen more. In a world of noise and consistent stimulation, the urge to shout into the void is overwhelming. The desire to be heard.

If you were a passenger on a train barrelling towards someone tied to the tracks, you would be compelled to scream out to them in the hopes they can hear, even if you have no power over the ability to stop the train, and they have no capacity to untie themselves. To you in the moment, there may simply be an irrefutable desire to let them, and everyone else on the train know, that it horrify you, and that you would do something about it if you could. And while this is very good for the passenger, it matters not very much to he who is tied to the track.

The problem then it seems, is that the fear of not being heard, outweighs the need to have something to say. To have something that can cause change, in the heart or the mind. Hence an era of blogging, to meet quota rather to inspire, or to relate. No one wants to educate, they just want to have their opinion shared. Equally however, they are so bombarded with story and information from others, they may not even be able to hear their own thoughts, or listen to the reply.

And that’s equally an important distinction, is that a conversation is two way – which results in mutual affirmation and education. One’s theory can only be expanded upon hearing another knowledge base which can confirm or deny it. Shouting into the void is remarkably one-way, and seldom results in any kind of actual validation, or expansion of the mind. If your opinion can reach anyone, as in the age of the internet it can; then equally anyone – regardless of whether they hold a genuine opinion or not, can respond and seem just as valid as anyone else. Largely, we experience not validation – but either nothing, or a sort of anti-validation when no one responds. Or “likes”. Perhaps you like a photo of you, and find that for once you look beautiful, but when you post it, no one or few people like it, so immediately you assume it must be disgusting. – When in fact, perhaps people were simply busy. Or… didn’t care.

The simple fact is, no one has a compulsion or a requirement to care. And while that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say it – it just perhaps means you should be less offended by it.

Perhaps you should be less worried, about the desire to have your thoughts heard or validated. You may not like what you find.

“If you remain silent; people may think you’re a fool. If you open your mouth; they may know it for a fact.”

There is nothing wrong, with listening to others for a change, even if you don’t like what you hear. And when you decide you are ready to speak, be sure you have something to say.

What Is YOUR Meaning Of Life? AND; What Is The Meaning Of YOUR Life?

There is a reason the question, “What is the meaning of life” has been around since we could perceive our own time and existence – it’s essential to the driving force that keeps us moving forward, purpose. People have perished, their minds withered to self-flagellation over the pursuit of the meaning of life. People cannot enjoy the now, without consistently returning to the question, what’s the point of it? What’s the end goal? Where’s it leading to, and what will tomorrow bring as a result?

“What good is today, if there is no tomorrow?”

But the fact of the matter is, the question itself is inherently flawed because it assumes we are basic creatures, that any one of us is required to be remotely similar to another, or that we are confined and constrained to order and discipline – when in fact, we can do whatever we God damn feel like, as long as we possess the will to do so. It is basic science that some of the primitive drives that define life, are a need to consume, and a need to reproduce. These are literally two of the seven common concepts that an organism must exhibit in order to be classed as life – and yet we have all known people who have no desire to have children, or have known people who have suffered great anguish in midst of a hunger strike, to support something they wholeheartedly believe in. We are no longer even required to abide by basic laws of biology, because we have the capacity to protest it.

It seems then, that once consciousness can perceive itself, and perceive what it means to be itself, as long as it possesses the ability to alter this, it can be anything it wishes to be. And so life, becomes a little blurry, especially to the individual whom despite being surrounded by many lives, will only ever experience one perspective, one life.

There is a reason the question has been around since the dawn of our time and yet remains unanswered. The question, what is the meaning of life, is flawed, because it assumes life is a constant. When in fact, life, can be whatever you believe it to be. There can be life in a painting, or in a glass of wine, or a good book. There can be life in a dance, or a memory, or in the beat of a drum. And yet simultaneously, life is the here and now. It’s the flora and fauna as far as we can see in stretches touched and untouched by the Sun, and further out lights of the universe.

Instead, rather than asking yourself a fundamentally unanswerable question, it may be better to consider rather, what is YOUR meaning of life? Perhaps with that you may reach a consensus in your mind as to, what is the meaning of YOUR life?

While the questions sound the same, and are similar in syntax, they probably require a second read to even see there is a difference; they are very different indeed.

The important distinguishment being:

Perhaps your meaning of life is to help others achieve their optimum goals. But the meaning of your life, is to teach. Then again, the meaning of your life could be to doctor others instead, so that they may go on to live their best lives.

You must not look for an answer, what lies beyond that which you care about. First ask yourself what you wholeheartedly believe in as a human being, and use that to create your own meaning of life as a whole, and then decide in which way you will play your part towards it. To assume you are some kind of omnipotent being that can simultaneously be the meaning of life, and fulfill it in whole, is really rather hubris.

So, perhaps you come to the conclusion you just care about “Good”. An idea of “Good” or “The Greater Good.” Well not that your meaning of life needs defined by a set definition, but that would come under Aristotelianism. You could then decide the meaning of your life is to disparage iniquity and greed, and redistribute wealth among your community/country to be more equal and fair. Perhaps this does not interest you at all, and you feel you must simply do your bit to get by, that you are required to just do your bit and play your part. Well this could come under Kantianism or Confucianism, “Do as you’d have others do” and “Live an ordinary life” respectively. You could then decide to get an ordinary job, and raise a family, same as many others have before. Perhaps you believe there is no true meaning, and you should do whatever the hell you god damn feel like, this could come under Nihilism, Absurdism, or Cyrenaicism. Perhaps you wish to believe in god, and higher powers; Theism. Or perhaps simply and nobly, “Learn more.”; Platonism. You could then dedicate your life to becoming an accomplished scientist, or a literary scholar.

The irony being that while this is article is an attempt to be impartial, I am approaching this particular topic with Logical Positivism, an idea that “Life has no meaning, until you assign it one”. But I believe it an insurmountable truth, as there is no other who may give you an answer. They may steer you towards one, but ultimately you must choose it.

Then again, I also approach my own life with a mix of Aristotelianism, Platonism, Logical Positivism, StoicismClassical Liberalism, and the idea that you are under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago – so the guide by which we follow and the path in which we have defined can equally be changed any any given time for any given reason should we ever decide we don’t like it.

The fundamental point being – stop looking for the meaning of life. Stop looking for tomorrow. Life is that which you define it to be, because you are an intelligent creature, in an extremely intelligent universe, of which you are part of and simultaneously the same as. If you wish to find the meaning of life, you must first create it in one’s own mind. An idea in the mind, is worth more than all the treasures on Earth.

 

Hurt

If you think you are irreparably hurt; remember that at some point, you have lied to your mother.

You have broken the heart; of the person who formed yours, and stood steadfast staring into eyes that love you, and told lies and untruths. And as she watched you, wrapped in clothes that she worked so hard to put you in, she was torn and crying inside. All the while she had to remain resilient and strong, for little did you know that you were not brave, cunning, and clever – but instead small, weak, and deceitful. How very childish, that you cherished your pride in that moment, more than you did unconditional love.

How very foolish that would be? – If you were to repeat that again. Wouldn’t it be foolish?


To let pride, and pity take precedence over someone, or a group of people even, whom love you unconditionally? To let such a small thing, as being right be worth the hurt you may cause?

It does not always matter that you are right. Many men and women whom have lived for pride, the knowledge of being right, and stubbornness have done so for a lifetime – and in return they have died sad and alone. And realised that being right, was not so worth it after all. That being right, or proving it, never did hold any value, and the hurt it caused to others only served to worsen their life, and yours. And the horrible, soul destroying fact of that scenario – is that if you were to do the same; if you were to live in such a manner, and realise only on your deathbed, that it was all not worth it at all, and that you are scared, having driven everyone who may care for you and love you – that you lived a life no where near as happy as the one you could have, you will then, after some time realise a second thing.

The second thing you will realise, is that you cannot undo it. There is no going back, and there is no time to fix it. You will slowly fall asleep into darkness, with tears in your eyes, and no one around you who truly loves you, as you turned your partner away and any children you had, and you will realise it was all not worth it. It was all not worth it, and you cannot change. You will die, knowing you are bitter. You will die, knowing you will be forgotten.

Think proactively. Do not build that future for yourself. Do not be the person now, that the you in the future will regret. If someone matters to you, let them know. And show them partly through words, but mostly through action, that they matter more to you, than pride. Do not lie, do not act selfishly, do not deceive, and do not degrade. They are worth more than that, and so are you.

We all make mistakes. We all act hastily. Rashly. Out of anger or pain. And you are human, so even the best will do this. But be sure to minimise it. And most importantly, if you do it, be sorry for it. Show that through changed behaviour, you will not repeat the same mistakes. Slowly you will build a life where pride is not a concept you hold important.

Understand that hurt to a loved one, intentional or otherwise, is such an abhorrent concept – you should not aspire to do it – especially for the boring sake of “winning”.

Show this to others. To loved ones, or otherwise. Spread it around. Hope it rubs off on them, and that next time they go to do something hurtful in the name of pride, they will take a moment and think of this. Your loved ones and theirs are worth more, than ego.

Serenity Now

Peace cannot be achieved, today and now, without an immense amount of effort. It takes everything to let fundamental disagreements, pain, and past unfairness subside in order to move forward without the anvil of the past weighing you down. It cannot be demanded, because by its very definition there can be no force and all parties must accept the conditions amicably.

Demanding peace is no more useful than demanding yourself to relax in a moment of panic. It’s a paradox. Fundamentally it cannot be rushed. It takes effort. It takes endurance, respect, and consistency.

What differentiates the villains from the heroes in old tales, and even blockbusters that we know of now – is that the villain must only succeed once to achieve their goal. If the villain wishes to cause terror, to take lives, and to exert their will, they need only do it once. Their world ending plan, or their terrorist attack – has to be only be achieved the one time. Terror, is spread easily – peace is a little tougher.

So we must be consistent. Stronger. Unwavering, and unfaltering. It begins not with magnanimous leaders that boast their own narcissism, but with the people who we often forget actually run the world – the people. It can only be achieved on the grand scale that it will, once the small behaviours of the people change. Once people remember to prioritise what they want most, rather than what they want now.

The next time someone skips you in a queue, or walks in front of you – do not storm and pout and get mad about it. Even if it irritates you in the exact moment, work hard to laugh, or joke, and move past it. Do not let the second, dictate the minute. Because very quickly, the minute can dictate the hour, and so on. Big things are only made up of small things, and it is our lack of vigilance on the small things that allows larger things to manifest themselves over time.

Talk about the small things; communicate towards a solution, as they arise. Accept that the solution may not be achieved immediately, but it cannot even begin to be worked upon until stakeholders are even aware that an issue exists. More so; do this with a smile. Do not assume maliciousness, where ignorance will do. If your waiting staff have not cleared away a table you wish to sit at, do not be so arrogant as to assume they are not doing their job, and complain of the terrible service – instead stop for a moment, consider it may be busy, and that by chance in this exact moment you spotted the table you want to sit at, they were dealing with other issues and unfortunately this was not their priority. In fact, if you have worked in the service or retail industry, you know this to be true. Be polite and kind, and with a smile bring it to someone’s attention. Think about it for a moment, from a perspective that is not your own. Imagine you are in their place, and how you would feel if someone spoke to you horribly. Equally, imagine the difference it would make if someone was kind to you, when everyone else was not. Simple actions, behavioural changes and understanding can change the world. You just must apply it to everything, every example that you can.

Say thank you with sincerity. Mean it, no matter who it is, or for what it’s for. As much as we like to believe in a society that there are certain rights we have, which we do not – such as the right to be served at a restaurant – we… don’t. Someone could just say, no.
“I have the right to refuse you, and I do.” So when you are served, when you would like to be – say thank you. And pleases are just basic manners.

Your opinion is not inherently worth more than anyone else. While of course, someone who is actually educated on a subject may have the facts to more accurately represent it, it does not mean they are any more important than the next person who wants to discuss it. Discussion is for everyone, so listen to everyone’s opinion. Do not simply wait for your turn to speak. Listen. Use it to change your own opinion, or cement it. Regardless of what it does, it is almost always certainly worth it, as long as the person on the other end is genuine.

IF we had wished to achieve serenity now, all of these things we should have begun to do a long time ago. But while we must be patient and wait a little longer, and to some degree this can be disheartening, simply remember the following phrase;

“The best time to plant a tree, is twenty years ago. The second best time, is now.”

This will guide you, and remind you that all things worthwhile require persistence, patience, consistency, and sacrifice.

This is all a lot to remember. And a lot to do. But the truth is, the small change in attitude brings about all of the following in turn, a domino effect. Once you approach everything with kindness, and acceptance first, all of your future decisions can be made by you in the moment, rather than requiring guidance, and a list of examples by which you can conduct yourself.

Use advice as your guidelines, not your rule book.

And finally, while peace and a global serenity may not be achieved tomorrow; while it will require an immense amount of effort and forgiveness on all sides; while it will require the removal of pride from the equation and the relinquishment of “the upper hand” of power – you can start today. You can be the best you can be, and as that’s all you can do – you as a human, and the ones you love close to you, can achieve serenity now.

 

 

Discussion: Language, without barometer

Suppose that in ten million years, humanity has been long wiped off the face of the planet. Some life still remains, but it has regressed to a more primitive state, due to some cataclysmic event, caused by our own iniquity, or some element of chance.
No animal that could understand the basics of calculus has existed on the rock called Earth for a very long time.

When one day, entirely by chance, our no longer blue planet is discovered, by some nomadic civilisation, who managed to achieve travel into the stars without using that same technology to blow each themselves up. In the ruins alone, under the assumption that concrete has eroded into mere particles that blew in the wind, and pages from books lost their ink; this civilisation would be able to piece together very little of what we were. Even if somehow some homestead had managed to endure the withering of time – if it had been cocooned in a blanket of ice, for instance; where would you even begin to understand what objects were?

A slab of metal and glass filled with silicon lines, in the corner of a room, where every piece of furniture is pointed at it. Knives and forks on the dinner table, for fighting no doubt. Window frames on the second floor, because we could jump so high, and often used that for quick access. Cloth in wooden containers, powdered energy in glass jars, animal carcasses in large white frozen boxes. It would be a frightening world of guesswork without a basis by which to guess. Everyone has had that experience of trying to tell a story, that was funny at the time, but after telling it out loud you find the other person does not find it so. Think of this, except not only do you not speak the same language, but you share no history, no culture, no prospects, no allegiances, and perhaps not even the same galaxy.

Now let’s suggest that humanity as a collective decides that the idea of a future civilisation discovering our remains and not being able to fabricate who we were is just too harsh a thought to bare. So they decide to devise a solution to this, or at least to devise a means in which to help these future nomads. And as a collective, they have decided to accept applications from anyone on the planet, and accept any ideas anyone on the planet may have on how best to communicate with the future visitors.

The problem then becomes the focus of this article: How do you communicate with these visitors? How do you construct a language, without barometer? In our own world, translations of works are inherently different to the language in which they were originally written, mainly because there is no word which translates over 100% – but at least we have something by which we can vaguely relate it to. But with an alien visitor -you don’t even have a set of words, objects, animals, or plants, by which you could guarantee you share. Not only this, but you cannot even predict the senses this alien might use to perceive the world around them. It is not enough to suggest you could communicate in a language that is a concatenation of a number of languages that are most frequently used or most expressive; because you cannot guarantee this creature has ears. Or perhaps they do but do not hear in the same frequency as we do. Perhaps you wish to communicate in symbols? – Well it has taken us thousands of years to build up semiotics to the point we can look at something and register to which category it belongs to at a glance, and even now most humans struggle with all of them, they differ in time and they differ from culture to culture. Equally, as before, the visiting nomads may not have eyes. Or if they do, maybe they do not see colour in the same range that we do. Lets say that they do have eyes – well what do they even register as a note? Say they looked at English at a glance, they could interpret the white space between the letters as the symbols rather than the letters themselves.

The possibilities are near endless for interpretation. This would be fair to say of something that came from our planet, or even our galaxy. But this could be a visitor that we may not even recognise as intelligent life, and yet regardless, it is. So much so that it had travelled through the stars to find us.

Furthermore then, we have an obligation to protect intelligent life as best as we can. To avoid any kind of pain and anguish where we can. If something can intelligent understand the universe and perceive its own consciousness, it must be our responsibility to ensure it.
It is important then to have this discussion – say we are aware of what brought about our destruction. It is our obligation then, to warn these visitors of the dangers we could not avoid. Perhaps areas of contamination, physical or otherwise, should be left in the past and certain technologies either avoided or proceeded with caution. The question being, how do we do this?

How would you communicate to something that may not even perceive the world in the same way that you do? And on a more personal note… Would you? Would you personally make an application to share your thoughts on how best to do this?

Arguably our only efforts to communicate without language thus far, is music. For thousands of years, we have communicated celebration, happiness, fear and war to others through music. No lyrics required to communicate exactly how we feel. Perhaps this would be our best bet to begin. Perhaps the sound of children laughing, the rain forest, or the ocean reaching the shoreline. The times at which we as a species were most at peace.
But then, while this may provide an example of our environment – it doesn’t necessarily define who we were or are. When we were good or bad. When we loved, and when we hated.

If we continue on a scientific trend – would we leave behind a hologram of a child as an ark of information, to provide context to who we were? Would this be the most realistic option, to convey our messages of peace in as many images and as many words as we possibly could? Could this child hold out a hand, with the bumps on his hand spelling in braille, and his words echoed in every other language, and Morse code? Would what the child spoke even resonate on any parallel? Should we literally throw sounds and light in some form of pattern, and hope that something sticks? Data dump our history and languages in as many different patterns as possible? Perhaps an AI, that can use everything that we are currently to determine what COULD be encountered in the future? Statistically, this is probably necessary. As much as they would like to earn us, we may need to learn it first, in the form of some machine learning. To discuss topics not only do we not understand yet, but we may never even have encountered in our cosmically short lifespan.

What if we decided that we wanted to communicate, only that which we wanted to communicate. I.e. perhaps we would wish to leave out the horrid parts of our history, or tell much more embellished versions of it in myth, legend, and art rather than the much more hard to swallow science and objectivity. If we were to do that, how could we separate semantics from pragmatism? To say very clearly what is, and not what we meant to say. This applies to our language, and also our visualisation of our culture. Say we built, or painted, or sculpted a grand cathedral, and hid it in some frozen ark – we may try to convey how complex and grandiose we were in our architectural choice – only to find that our visitor friends interpret the use of space as inefficient. They may regard our distinct lack of compactness instead, as a sign we were not intelligent whatsoever. That we were too wasteful. Perhaps then, they would be right.

The questions are endless, and arguably you could discuss for the millions of years we are hypothetically wiped out discussing what we could and should do – if and when we should – why and where we should. In fact, this question, which its infinite possibilities seems to grand a task to bestow upon us, and too great a burden to endure.

But if something is important enough, you must always try. Even if the expected outcome, is failure.

However; the question remains: Would you? And if so, how? How would you begin to construct a language to speak beyond the stars, without barometer?

Go.

What Lies Beyond

As you look into the night sky; and remark on the beauty of the universe in the shape of stars and nebula, you may at some point if given enough time, come to a realisation. These beautiful wonders, that have guided humanity since the dawn of our time, that have inspired poetry and created great works of art; may no longer be there. Light is the fastest thing that we understand. Nothing we perceive is greater than the speed of light. And yet even it, is finite. And the great span of distance from where we are, to where the stars lie beyond, is so great, that it takes finite definable light considerable length of time to reach us, and display to us the grandiosity of the stars, and nebulae, and everything beyond our world.

Potentially, these works of awe may have existed a length of time so greatly long ago, that the stars have not only died – but have dissipated and spread the elements of life into the universe since then. They may have brought about life in other parts of the universe, a life that may be so intelligent they too have used it to guide themselves through the dark, and used it to create light in works of art. How fascinating it is to think, that balls of light, crucibles of elements and life may have in turn brought about more life in new form, in places we cannot even hope to see. They may have inspired entire civilisations worth of culture, in what lies beyond.

Image result for pillars of creation
Pillars of Creation – A long dead mix of star and nebulae. This is a real image, taken from the Hubble telescope. Courtesy of NASA.GOV

They have done this, and they have done it so long ago, that cultures we may never meet, have already came and went based upon them. Yet still we see their awe. With certainty – stars will come and go – and yet still they inspire long after their implosion. It serves as evidence – that long after something dies – it can still be experienced.

Imagine you are in a room, and you are with one other person, facing them directly, as it would not be uncommon for you to do. You’re talking about something trivial and generally just spending time with someone you enjoy. You may smile and feel so in the moment with someone at that time, which is beautiful and remarkable in every way. But on a scientific level – there is a delay.

There is a delay between what happens for the self, and what the other person will see. There is a delay in sound. Sound travels at the speed of about 345 m/s, meaning that if this was a particularly massive room, a ball room perhaps in some large palace in Germany, that was this distance from one end to the other, if you stood at one end and your companion at the other, then there would be a one second delay between what you said, and when they heard it.

Now, when we actually experience this in reality, talking to our friends in close proximity, this delay is remarkably small. So small in fact, that relatively it is negligible. However, let’s not forget… it is still there. There is a similar delay with light – except that light travels significantly faster than sounds, at about 3 * 10 ^ 8 m/s (30’000’000’000 m/s), meaning that the delay is even more negligible. However, it IS still there.

To reiterate, what this means is that every time you talk to someone. there is a delay in when they say it, and when you see and hear it.

The complexity intensifies however, when our understanding of the universe and technology increase greatly. Let’s suggest that some far away intelligent being can view that conversation you are having with your friend; that they can view it on their version of a telescope which can see unimaginable distances away, and perhaps even translate what you are saying via subtle movements in your mouth and vocals cords, into whatever language they speak, effectively meaning they can see and hear you. The problem is, that if they are doing this millions of light years away from you – by the time they see it, it will have happened a long long time ago. Millions of years ago in fact.

But they are seeing and hearing it right now, to them, and yet you and your friend would have lived and died millions of years before. So how can this be?

Well… actually… this is exactly what’s happening with humanity and the stars. The two examples differ in negligible ways. So why even provide the two examples to say the same thing?

The reason being, it is necessary to humanise the following question; if everything we do is technically in a delay – if everything that we see and perceive is technically a memory – if all of time is relative to the person observing it, and there is no definite point of certainty – when does something, or more specifically someone… die?

If your friend perished in some terrible accident, to you they would be “dead” and naturally you would be very sad about it, and yet at the same time, this intelligent being could be observing them in their now, and viewing some certain events that happened before they were killed off in the third act. So they are dead to you, but not to this other being, who still sees and hears them, millions of years later.

It would seem then, that as the problem continues, the true crux of the issue – is that the general person still views time as an absolute constant, rather than simply constant – to you. In other words, relatively constant. Which is of course is an oxymoron.

What lies beyond, is not only new worlds, homes, discoveries, people, and cultures, but also the past, present, and future, simultaneously and all at once. It’s all just based on the perspective by which you view it.

Some comfort you can take from this, is that friends and family whom you have lost, some time in the past. No matter how long ago it was, they are not truly gone. Sadly, they are only gone, to you. But they are still smiling, and being happy, and looking at you with adoring eyes, from someone’s point of view, somewhere. Someone, somewhere, may be looking at you both in the past, with wondering eyes, and thinking, “They look happy.” And if some future technology could transport you an unimaginable distance away in an instant ( perhaps some quantum entanglement one day may teleport us ) then you could too, sit and view this person and you, watch each other with those same adoring eyes.

What lies beyond, is the past, future, and present; it’s the now and then; it’s the you and I.

Think of that, as you look into the night sky.