Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Re-Gifting, All Over Again

There is way too much stuff stored in some people's attics. Sometimes it makes me glad I don't yet have a place of my own, that instead I'm renting an apartment that has no good hidden nooks and crannies in which to stuff decades worth of old unread junk mail. Or not-so-junk mail. Although I may suspect that there's a pocket in space/time that enjoys living on my entryway table. But that's unimportant now.

Some people manage to collect several lifetimes' worth of stuff. Their stuff from the time they got married, you might manage to find a present or two, still wrapped, untouched. They have stuff from their children, from their grandchildren. Stuff from their neighbors and their pets from the decades they've lived in the house.

Enough stuff, and they might fear that their roof will collapse, that their pantry may have no more room for food, or that it might reach critical mass and take out a third of the country. So, when it reaches that point, they decide it's time to get rid of some stuff. Otherwise, where're they going to put more of it?

Garage sales are the boon of anyone that has been in such a position. Making space, making money, remembering the past long forgotten. And it's the boon of anyone that shows up, as they find the holy grail, marked down to $0.20. Garage sales are obviously the way to go, more people should use them.

But some people don't, and those people really should learn. They end up just giving stuff away, pulling random junk from their attic in hopes to get it out their door. And for them, this might work well...

...if they made sure the giftee actually takes the package with them.

I wonder if I'm going to get a box in the mail, or if grandpa's going to just give me the same gift again next year. Assuming, of course, that he finds my box in his attic.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Insurance For Forever

People see time as a line. This moment is happening in the way that it is because the last one occured in such and such a fashion. The next moment will be because of how this one occurs. We (generally) believe that we can affect things at this moment in time, but have no way to change the past or the future without actually being at that point in time.

People see time as a line, and take the thought no further. Beyond that, people don't think about time. But if we continue looking back, at the last moment, and the moment that caused that one, and the moment leading up to there, and so on, suddenly things become clear. Time cannot stretch infinitly into the past.

Entropy, common sense, even modern science say that such a thing is not possible. We have to come from somewhere, if time is constant and infinite, why did it take so long before things were formed?

If we then assume that time cannot be infinite, there are only a few possible explinations of the universe. 1) Time is not an invariant (which I suppose we already know). 2) There must be somewhere in which time does not exist. 3) Time is a circle--each point exists exactly once on the circle, but as we travel around, we can return to any point in time.

If we can explain the past away by claiming that time isn't infinite because it's not an invariant, we then know that as we look back along time, it must begin to compress. It must be more and more difficult, take longer and more effort to look back further. Time has to bend to the point of breaking, to the point where there is no "before". We must lose the ideas of 'cause' and 'effect', and as they are so ingrained into our entire fibers, we cannot explor this direction any further. Where did the universe come from? There is no 'from', that would imply time.

Alternately, we can explain the past away by suggesting that everything was brought around from somewhere that doesn't depend on our laws of nature. Somewhere in which time does not exist, where things are and are not and every state in between. We must assume that 'time' has to be created and as such is not a hard that place. As such, if we can look outside ourselves, we might be able to see what is real and what has just been formed. Where did the universe come frome? Somewhere, from which we are so constrained we cannot re-reach.

Of course, we can also explain the past away by bending time around into a circle. Time could still be constant and unchangable, and the universe can be because the universe always was. We march on, and if we were able to live long enough, we could see the universe destroyed and reborn from its ashes, we could see ourselves be born, grow old, and die (although possibly not in that order). Where did the universe come from? Right here, of course.

I wasn't really sure which to believe.. but then I saw myself walking down the street. If you can call that hobbling-limp of a eighteen-bazillon-year-old man 'walking'.