Special Thanks Angela Behm Iris Poole Jessi Bennett Cassandra McCollum
There Is No_System is a production of Brian Behm Creative
Transmission One. Luck in the midst of Nothing.
I want you to picture yourself. Put that mental camera above your head and feel the wind as it blows through your hair. The air is crisp and dry. There’s a bite to it. There’s Just the slightest hint of frost that will reappear in the night. There are dappled shadows on the ground and the sun is peeking through the cirrus clouds that are being whipped around high in the atmosphere.
Now we’re rising. You can see yourself still on the ground as we go up and up and up.
We float past those clouds. In the distance, an airplane. We can feel the vibration from the spinning turbines and the murmur of its engines.
We see the corona of the atmosphere now as things begin to get darker.
We see the earth.
We’re moving faster as we whip past the moon. All of the planets begin to zoom past at a quicker rate as we continue to accelerate.
The radio signals around you act like a time machine. as you get further and further the signals go further and further back.
Soon, there’s nothing but static and we’re looking at the galaxy and then the clusters of galaxies and then… nothing.
Bring the image of yourself back into your head. Feel the distance between your mind and your body. Think about the scale of the universe. Think about the planets circling suns that are spinning around their own galactic cores. Think about how those galaxies are part of their own constellations.
Think about the patterns and the systems that you see repeating over and over again in greater and greater scales. Think about how instead of rising we could sink into our bodies. Shrinking more and more and more. As we dive down past the cellular level, we move past the molecules and then suddenly we find the subatomic structures. Then… nothing. Just a lot of space wherever you go.
Now, think about Twitter. Think about the eight thousand three hundred and forty-fifth war you’ve been involved in this year. Who even knows why this most recent gaffe someone has made triggered another pavlovian immunologic response. Think about the emotion and the chemical reaction triggered in your lizard brain when you’ve been offended. Now, as if there’s a split-screen opening up in front of you, picture the empty space on either side of the scale.
You may think that the space on either side would lead you to wonder why anything matters at all.
As reasonable an assumption as that could be, Let’s talk about improbability instead.
Have you heard someone tell you how lucky you are that you exist?
That you’ve won by existing at all?
That there are so many sperm chasing after an egg means that you’ve already won just by the fact that your genetic sequence was the one that came into existence?
If any combination changes you don’t exist.
There’s a great scene in a Richard Curtis movie called About Time. It’s probably my favorite of the Richard Curtis dramadies. I know there are people who will defend Love Actually to the end of the earth, and it’s certainly inspired more gifs than any other film he’ll ever make, but in my mind, the film that was most important, and probably most personal to Curtis, is About Time. Domnhall Gleason plays a son who discovers that the men in his family can go back and relive days. At first, he relishes this power, but one day, well into being a parent, he comes back and discovers that he’s erased his children.
Bill Nighy plays the patriarch of the family and lets our hero know that, at some point, when you need to freeze that event, you can’t go back.
I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time mourning the idea of children who don’t exist. I’m not sure if you’ve done the same, but any time a dream changes, that vision of what I was a part of has its own death, just like the children that I didn’t have at various points in time can be mourned on some level because they didn’t exist.
We’re here by luck, and not just your luck, but the luck of your parents, and their parents, and their parents and all of the parents going further and further and further back who all survived at least long enough to be able to put that next person in the world.
And all of those people were struggling to continue to exist in the space between the subatomic absence of everything and the outer universe’s absence of anything.
Now, try and picture what’s outside of it. Can you picture the universe of universes? What created that? If we live in a world of creation, growth, and decay, and things come into existence, live and stop existing, how do we picture a universe that exists at all?
What created all matter in the universe and what created what created?
And you wonder why someone would make the assertion that we live in a simulation?
I’m not trying to break your brain. (Well, maybe I’m trying to break it a little bit), But the next time you feel the urge to engage the newest person shouting “Cringe!” or even “Let’s Go Brandon!” I want you to think about the improbability of everything. I want you to think about how lucky that person is to exist. Maybe it will help you to pause. Maybe it will make you think how priceless you both are because of the sheer improbability that you’re here to have this interaction.
There is No System and we are Not Greater Or Less Than. Chaos seemingly brought order into existence; however improbable that is. I’m not going to try and convince you of what that catalyst was. Somehow existence exists. Descarte dug into this with his assertion that “I think, therefore I am.” People complained that his statement failed because it presumed that there even was an “I”. You know, philosophers can be real wankers. Sometimes the more you dive into philosophy, the more you’ll feel the knots that tie you together start to fray.
If you can push that you’ll start to rebuild. But it can be a rough path.
Who are you going to be and who have you been?
How are you going to start the journey of discovering those answers?