The Introvert’s Guide to Existence

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I’m taking part in a little competition called the Space Habitat Design Challenge 2011.
So while preparing for that, it got me thinking about certain fundamental aspects of the universe. Not questions to answers like Forty Two, rather, the more subtle, extravagant and partially hidden realms of space.

A long time ago I realised that life is basically a game. A game of probability. The universe follows the same rules; “what are the chances of particle A to be in point B, 200,000 kilometres away, within a year?” It’s questions like those. What’s the probability that a planet like earth could sustain and develop life? What’s the probability that one of those planets actually has intelligent life? What’s the probability that among those intelligent life forms there exists a race or species eerily similar to human beings?
What’s the probability that these creatures have very bad poetic skills and a rigorous passion for filling out paperwork after completing tasks?

There’s no such thing as luck, chance or destiny. It all depends on a little mathematics, or a lot of it, depending on your point of view upon the subject of trigonometry and calculus. A situation is just a very complex series of products of probability. To explain this insanely easy sentence, let me take an example.

Move your cursor off here! Scram, kid!Oh no! An example! 

You enter a restaurant. Now to help you understand this situation, I’m going to name certain points in time. When you enter the restaurant, it’s A1. From A1, you can branch out into a million different other nodes. You can head to an empty table in the corner and sit down, or make yourself noticed to that waiter who you think is merely acting as though he is doing work, or perhaps slip slide your way through to the centre table and then take your shirt off and sing I Want to Break Free while acting like Freddie Mercury. Each of these nodes can be A1-2, A1-3, A1-4 upto A1(infinity – 1). Let’s say you miraculously choose A1-42; the one where the restaurant turns out to be the one at the end of the universe. Certain events unfold until your reach A1-42-1337-(E+1.0352)-1444-007-(Infinity +1)-1; where the restaurant at the end of the universe suddenly disappears only to appear moments later, exactly the same, except the steak you ordered is missing its steak-sauce now. How did that happen? Probability.

You inevitably reach a point in your life where you stop pondering over the mysteries of the universe and start pondering over mortality. This phase usually appears when you think you’re old. When you reach that point, remember one thing, all humans die. You might be next.

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Upamanyu Acharya is a writer who doesn't write. Sometimes he's an artist, musician, photographer, physicist or lazy student. His hobbies include being vague, bending rules, time-travel, and embellishment of words. This is his personal blog where he writes on topics ranging from leadership skills to the consistency of jam.

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