It’s not often that random inspiration strikes of the type that makes you want to write immediately, especially in a public place like a plane. However, sometimes you feel the notion just has to be put down on paper lest you forget it. Notwithstanding the innumerable errors that are likely to occur from typing on an iPad, the message will be recorded anyhow, somewhat like a DNA strand with extraneous strings, somewhat like the human condition.

Back in my undergraduate days, I was moved by books such as Neuromancer and movies such as Tron. They implied a world that was so much more, a world that we created and lived in alongside the real, physical world. And who was to say that this created world might not someday become akin to physical itself? I began to research ways for the mind to interface directly with a machine. Neuromancer provided an abstract representation of data as it was presented to a user, buffered through something called a cyberdeck (the name “Ono-Sendai” is indelibly etched into my psyche), while Tron spoke of a society, a sort of digital civil universe. In the immortal words of Kevin Flynn:

“The grid. A digital frontier I tried to picture clusters of information as they moved through the computer. What did they look like? Ships? Motorcycles? Were the circuits like freeways? I kept dreaming of a world I though I’d never see. An then, one day, I got in.”

That’s actually from Tron: Legacy, but the idea it talks about is central to the original movie. Of course, that’s simply a fictional movie, and Neuromancer is simply a fictional book. In Neuromancer, data was accessed through something called the “matrix”, which was a gross simplification of data. As Case mused as he watched a children’s show describe the matrix:

“Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts…A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…”

The point I am getting at here is that all of these simplifications, if looked at from the perspective of…something that might exist in these locations, would seem quite normal, quite simple even. We look at the digital world and by it’s very nature (and name, no less) it’s simply a collection of ones and zeroes in a pattern of some form. Yet as the binary grows, it accumulates into larger numbers, larger constructs, mathematical spirals of dizzying complexity.

Yet turn around and look at our world. Look at the variations of color in a sunrise, the sizes of droplets of rain, the sounds that exist from simple changes in temperature, and you will find that our world is the most chaotic form of beauty. Try to imagine the mathematical model that defines the shape of raindrops and how they fall, or the way that sand moves as a person steps on it, and most likely you are going to have something that dwarfs the craziest operating system code we have ever created. In our world, anything is imaginable, and the code for it is exceptionally un-simple.

Anything is imaginable.

With that in mind, doesnt it seem likely that our planet, our world, the people that we are as a whole are a sum collective of infinite possibility? Other worlds with life might be exactly like this – let’s make sure we don’t get too humancentric, here. We have so very much potential, yet it’s devastating to turn on the television and see the crime, the hatred, the anger and rage that course through our world like a plague. Instead of appreciating what we have in the world, we try to accumulate more “stuff”. We thrive for competition and conflict, instead of striving for harmony and progress. It’s pretty sad. It’s not that hard to get along with others, and while humanity runs the gamut of personalities, we are all one big collective group. In the end, we are all related, and we all work with the earth to form this insanely complex infinity engine.

In the end, the earth doesn’t need us to survive, yet we need it. We keep slowly chipping away at the life of the planet in a relentless pursuit of profit. While I’m not one to begrudge a person of the fruits of their labor, why do people continue to do it while destroying the world for everyone else? Even worse, it’s destroying the world for future generations, while less and less funding goes to the research that we need to save the planet, and ultimately the human race.

What I wanted to get at was how beautiful the world is, and how we often won’t stop to smell the roses, so to speak. The breeze in your hair as you run down a trail, the smell of the ocean filling your nose. The laugh of a loved one followed by the smell of a fire on the beach. The comfort of a dog laying at your feet, or the warming smile of a child as it looks at you with unconditional love.