Do you sometimes feel like you live on another planet from everyone else? Maybe that is because you DO! Current estimates of the population of planet Earth are over 7.4 billion. I’d argue that means there are more than 7.4 billion unique planet Earths. Not one of us sees the world exactly the same as any other human being. We all have different perspectives and world views. We like to group ourselves with people who share similar views about certain things. We group ourselves with others who have similar religious views. We group ourselves with others who have similar political views. We group ourselves with others who like the same sports team, music, movies, books, etc. Yet, even within our little subgroups of similarities there are differences. Even within our sameness we are unique.
We can’t even come together on a topic as seemingly rigid as the concept of time. A group of us, long ago, agreed to carve up the day into 24 equal segments and made fairly reliable machines to keep track of them, yet, even that is completely subject to our own unique perspective. Who is to say that what I feel to be an hour feels the same to you? What if 60 minutes of your life would feel like only 20 minutes to me? Heck, sometimes, one hour of my life can feel like ten (certain classes full of 8th graders can do that to me, for instance) and ten can seem like one…so the concept of time isn’t even consistent within a single person, let alone 7.4 billion. Native Americans don’t even see time as linear, they see it as circular. Einstein didn’t see time as linear either, he saw it as folded up like an accordion.
We are all told that the sky is blue. So when we look at the sky, we associate the color we see with the concept of blue. Yet, who is to say that when I look at the sky, the color I see is truly the same as the color you see? What if my blue is really the equivalent of your red? How would we know the difference? We were taught that the sky is blue, so that is blue…or is it?
History is full of wars between people who resort to killing one another because they can’t accept that other people have different perspectives. Yes, sometimes we get so frustrated that we are all unique beings we have to form groups, pretend that we are on the same team, draw strength and courage from that lie, and then go knock the day lights out of “those other kinds of people.” Then when enough of one kind of people are dead and the other group seems to have won that war, they go back home and get back to the business of squabbling and picking apart each others’ world views again.
Here is the real question. If we all live in unique worlds, if we all have a different perspective about everything, why do we spend so much time worrying about what other people think? We spend so much time trying to bring people around to our point of view. It is the ultimate exercise in futility. Let’s say it’s even possible to bring someone around to your point of view (it’s not, but let’s say it is), now you just have to do that about 7 billion more times and you have really accomplished something!
We really are silly beings.