What if this world is my creation. Not my imagination, but a construct, my own little utopia, my own little hell. I could see myself doing it. I love building things, creating new worlds. I thrive off the challenge. I would have thought it a marvelous task. Could I build a world so real it could deceive me? I am sure I can. Did I?
“This page intentionally left blank” is an apt metaphor for the tragedy of the commons. If you’re not familiar with the concept tragedy of the commons, it is when individuals each seeking to maximize their wealth actually reach a worse arrangement than if they had worked as a group and compromised. For example, global climate change is an example of this – individually we all contribute a tiny amount of co2 to drive, use electricity, and live modern lives. Collectively we damaged our atmosphere and it will cost us more than we saved to fix it, if we do fix it.
Regardless of your views on climate change, it’s a perfect theoretical example. This page intentionally left blank informs the reader that the space in the page is supposed to be blank. Without the explanation there could be confusion as to the purpose of the blank pages. The text removes the confusion, but at the same time contradicts itself. The page isn’t blank anymore. It has a sentence there explaining why it should be blank, but the page isn’t blank. It’s impossible to clarify the meaning of the blank page without spoiling the purity of the blankness.
What do you imagine? In the final moments before sleep, do you see nothing – the endless void of blackness? I’ve tried that, but am unable. My mind always races, it’s thinking of how to optimize that code I glimpsed so many hours ago, it’s analyzing social missteps I’ve made in the past week, it’s chronicling my achievements, finding the solutions I failed to see for my failures, planning for the future, and above that all, meta-analyzing my mind, and interpreting the meaning of the mental exercises previously mentioned. My mind is always a race track of activity, and even in the most extreme exhaustion, I’m analyzing my own mortal coil.
But I digress… In the final moments before I submit to sleep, I see a mansion. Not a gaudy, Victorian monolith, or a sky scraping neo-modern wonder. It’s a one story building, with an elegant, curving design, but not larger than many middle class American homes. Why do I say mansion then? The exterior of the building is shaped like the waxing gibbious of the moon, and the majority of the walls are solid sheets of glass. The roof is a mixture of transparent skylights and white tiles. The building itself is located on the edge of a mountain, one mountain among many in the skyline, and the building is surrounded by a forest of pines and scattered maples, oaks, and birch trees, less than 100 meters from the edge. One side of the view looks out to the forest, and towards the peak of the mountain, obscured by fog, while the other vista encompasses a seemingly endless sea of trees, slowly dropping away away, and fading away to the edge of the horizon.
Completely random, of course. I don’t expect to be having children, as I don’t have an intimate other. But I was pondering the process of naming a child. (Actually, the significance of a person’s name came to me while I was actually thinking of the hypothetical ramifications of my youngest brother’s untimely (and generic) demise. But I digress…) I now wonder that if choosing a pre-made name from a name book (or even Internet reference, or some other means) would be a unconscious (or conscious) attempt to control the fate of the child. I think that if I had any children, I’d give them a name that had no pre-set meaning. I realize now that my screen name that I regularly use, “Afforess” has much more meaning and defines me more than “Cameron” does. Cameron means “Crooked Nose”, which can be interpreted a variety of ways, but few of them pleasant. Afforess is an unknown entity, who has created his own image, through my actions. Afforess is who I chose to be, Cameron is a Scottish/Irish word given meaning by a long dead person.
Every night, before I go to sleep, I make sure to move my alarm clock to a different location on the overhang by my cheaply made, but sturdy college bed. It seems that my unconscious mind, for completely selfish reasons, will turn off my alarm in the morning without every waking me up. While this is just fine and dandy for my subconsciouses, my consciousness is supposed to be attending my physics class in the morning. And it’s kind of hard to do that asleep. That’s how I developed the current method of moving and re-orienting my alarm clock each night, so my consciousness can’t draw on past knowledge to intuitively turn off the alarm. Unable to find the “off” switch, my body awakens. But I fear this solution will only last so long, as I’m far too smart for my own good. Eventually my unconscious mind will have mapped out the entire space, leaving me nowhere to hide the clock. When this day of reckoning arrives I will have no choice but to escalate the war. My final solution will be to move the alarm clock to my desk space, several feet away. This escalation will not go unnoticed, and will likely lead to an eventual final destruction, as my unconscious mind will surely learn to sleepwalk and will cease to need me for any further reason. I pray that day is far away.
An ironic way to begin a blog’s existence, but fitting, considering my computer science major. At any rate, the purpose of this journal-type-thing is mainly for personal reference, but if someone finds my insanity amusing, that’s always a plus too.