Saturday, July 7, 2012

The World, or Universe, of Possibilities

"Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness." -George Santayana

I met a friend for tea the other day.  We've been good friends for about 7 years and as I was telling her the developments in my life, she said a most complimentary thing to me.  I don't remember exactly how she said it, but she told me that as long as we've been friends, she's noticed that I live in the World of Possibilities.  She went on to say that it is cool to watch how being in that world is playing out for me.  This was a high compliment from someone I greatly respect.  

I needed to hear that particular statement at that particular moment because just before we met, I had received some information that was weighing me down.  I was worried.  I was feeling that maybe my Wworld of Ppossibilities was a World of Fantasy and that I shouldn't trust it.  It's a few days later now and I am back to feeling comfortable that the world I choose to inhabit, the one where things will work out if I am patient and give them time, exists.

This week many scientists in the world of particle physics celebrated the announcement of the existence of what they believe to be the Higgs boson, nicknamed the "God particle," theorized to have induced the creation of the Universe.  From what I've read, the atmosphere where scientists were gathered for the announcement was like being at a football game.  My brother is a scientist and I've never heard him describe his work atmosphere as that of a football game.  Come to think of it, I can't think of anyone (except for maybe football coaches) who can say their work has that kind of energy going through it.  Granted, this announcement was a special thing, but still, I've heard some exciting work announcements and none have evoked a football game-like enthusiasm.  But why shouldn't scientists celebrate?  It must be pretty freakin' exciting to see a world that for many years you had only imagined does, in fact, exist. 

Like the life I am trying to live, science is all about the World of Possibilities. Think of the amazing things that have been discovered and created because intelligent, creative people chose not to accept what might have appeared to be limits. (Note: Some pretty awful things have been done in the name of science for the same reasons, but I choose now to focus on the positive.) 

Now that the Higgs boson is declared to exist, more questions are being asked: What else is out there to find? How does this discovery fit into the theories posed before the Higgs boson had been seen?  Does the latest discovery fit into the Standard Model proposed before it was discovered?  I can imagine heads spinning with giddiness as minds open up to new ideas.  

According to a New York Times article, a professor (Maria Spiropulu) said this about the Higgs boson: “I personally do not want it to be standard model anything — I don’t want it to be simple or symmetric or as predicted. I want us all to have been dealt a complex hand that will send me (and all of us) in a (good) loop for a long time."

This is a woman who clearly enjoys a good adventure.  I love her statement.  I love that she wants the World of Possibilities to keep expanding, much like it is said our Universe is doing, quite possibly because of the Higgs boson.  I love that she wants the world to be full of the unexpected rather than the predicted.  How many of us have ever said, "It wasn't what I expected, but it turned out so much better than I thought it would" about something that's happened in our lives?  Unfortunately, somehow we forget that thought and are dismayed anew when the next unexpected particle enters the scene.  Despite our fears, the Universe keeps expanding...

A friend commented on my last post that the admission "I'm still learning" is liberating.  It opens doors and windows to those hidden places that are so exciting to find, the very ones Spiropulu alludes to.

After tea with my friend, I considered what I would do with the unsettling information I had received before we met up.  Sometimes when I get bad news, I go into defensive self-preservation mode.  This sometimes sends me into a funk and I usually drag at least one other person there with me, whether they have anything to do with the situation or not. 

After thinking carefully for a day or so, complete with a neckache because I was afraid my world of endless options was shrinking and I'd need to live in Panic World, I chose my response, or rather, I found it.  Thankfully, I have enough experience now in trusting Limitless World to return to it quickly after a temporary stay in Panic World.  When I returned to Limitless World, where I hope to achieve permanent residence or maybe even citizenship someday, I stumbled upon a response that felt right to me (one that didn't exist in Panic World) and, much to my delight, did not restrict whatever the Universe might throw back at me in return.

The Universe has yet to directly volley anything back, but from unexpected areas, some new doors, good news, have appeared.  I feel much more at peace than I did a few days ago. Even for all my writing about it, I still need reminders to trust the unexpected (maybe that's precisely why I write about it).  I am trying to practice patience.  And the Universe (not just the World) of Possibilities keeps expanding...


  1. Great article, Cory. I was saying the Rosary the other day when I suddnly found myself thinking about the Higgs boson, the Big Bang, and the laws of physics (what few I understand): and I felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for all of God's creations.

    1. Thank you. God has given us so much to be thankful for.