Juan David's Newsletter - April 24, 2022
Tiny, Compounding Ripple Effects
I say reader because I assume you’re reading but you may be listening. If you are, hello listener.
What are the assumptions we make about the world, our world, and the world of others?
Who knows? Who can answer such question?
Perhaps it’s not the interesting question. The interesting question is something else.
Regardless about your assumptions, there are things you think are objective, meaning they apply (or are true) to you and others equally.
One of these is how you think about your life. In Everything Everywhere All At Once, Joy tries to make everyone believe and see that “nothing matters.”
She isn’t alone. Philosophers, German or not, seem to agree. In this multiverse movie, there’s a constant fight between what is meaningful and what is meaningless.
Joy’s mom has a mediocre life and she sees it as a constant struggle to gain the approval of others and . However, as the movie continues, she seems to change her perspective after the husband explains that having a good attitude, being kind, seeing the best in others, and of course being optimistic are all traits that could be seen as naïve and stupid.
But that’s ironically naïve because these traits, the husband continues, are strategic and necessary for the goodness of the world.
This view agrees with what I deeply believe about one component of the meaning of life.
Does anything matter? Probably. Does nothing matter? Uhhh, sure.
These are all bad questions but what I’ve realized is that no matter how accomplished or successful you get, whatever you do will be forgotten in 100 years, 500 years, a billion years, or more.
And if everyone forgets, did you really do anything? I’d argue yes. The specific accomplishments are great and whatever but what really really matters are the tiny, compounding ripple effects of every action you have ever made.
That starts with what is strategic and necessary in this world.
I remember waking up and going to my class around 6:58 AM on a chilly winter morning. I went to the bus stop and greeted the driver with a smile and a somewhat loud, “Good morning, how are you today?” By which I replied with, “Excellent.”
This specific driver did not expect me to say that, and she responded with a smile and a greater sense of energy. Almost like she woke up and felt more ready.
I got on the bus and the ride began. Two minutes later, a carefree student rode her bike in front of the bus going really fast giving milliseconds for the driver to respond.
When this happened, the driver screamed out of her mind and almost had a nightmare in real life. She somehow stopped the bus, and the stressed student continued riding her bike.
What if I hadn’t said, “Good morning”? And she wouldn’t have gotten that extra energy and become more awake. What would have happened?
It’s just the tiny, compounding ripple effects that matter. Matter is the key word because it gives life what we seem to not understand, meaning.
In a different universe, the biker would have been…well you can imagine it. Regardless whether the multiverse theory is true or not, it gave me an increased understanding of the question that makes us lose sleep, the question of why we’re here and why we matter.
In every multiverse ever created, the answer is the same. Having a good, kind, and optimistic attitude is not only strategic but necessary for the goodness, excitement, and livelihood of this world.
Combine a good, kind, and optimistic attitude with an understanding that tiny, compounding ripple effects give meaning to our existence. You’ll not only become the master of your universe but the master of all the universes ever created and yet to be created
And to become such a master, we can learn from the wise master that came before us.
Thanks to Savannah for reading drafts of this essay.
A friend recommended Everything Everywhere All At Once as the movie that had “everything” meaning a wonderful film with great visuals, science fiction, terror, comedy, romance, drama, action, and and most importantly a great beautiful message.
And he was right.
Have a great week my great human,
Juan David Campolargo