As far as I’m concerned there are two types of realities: Meta and Micro. Standing in front of a speeding train will result in death, commanding the desert sand to produce water will do nothing, gravity pulls objects towards the center of the planet, the earth revolves around the sun, you have X dollars in your bank account. Meta reality are the rules and mechanics of existence that exist universally through all micro realities, whether you want them to be or not.
The best way I can think of to explain micro realities are by books, movies, tv shows, games, etc. The existence within those stories are micro realities. If they’re not completely fictional, they will still obey the laws of meta reality. (Weapons will hurt and kill you, gravity still pulls things down, the sun is a large nuclear reactor, etc…) But I don’t want to get lost in the physics of everything, that’s not important. What I want to focus on is the setting, the world in those micro existences.
Look around you. What are you sitting on? What is the inside of your house like? What furnishings do you have? What style is everything in? What is the local environment like? For most of my readers I’m guessing it’s relatively the same existence they’ve always had. 21st century clothes, items, local food, etc.
But why this? Why not on a pirate ship? Or in some ancient village, an underground lab, or a jungle? We’re all so accustomed to the same old boring existence in our location that we have to seek out new and exciting worlds in the form of movies, books, and video games. We want to see something new, something exciting, to be transported to another reality, if only momentarily.
But why stop there? You have an entire planet to explore! Instead of just reading about other existences, or playing through them in video games, go out and live them! This is one of the main forces behind me wishing to leave the country and travel the world. I want to experience new cultures, new realities.
The other reason why I want to leave is that I don’t like this micro reality.
What I realized the other day was that just about everybody I talk to lives in the same 21st century American micro reality. The vast majority of these people have only ever know this one reality; to them, it is all there is. This is life, growing up, living, working, and dying in a first world country. Along with this existence comes a set of ideas concerning what people “ought” to do with their lives. Back in my grandparents’ day, the correct life path was:
Graduate high school, get a job with a stable company, work there for 30-40 years, retire with a pension.
For my parents’ generation the correct life path was something like:
Go to college, get a degree, after perhaps a handful of jobs find a career, work the majority of your life saving for retirement, retire around 60-65, enjoy the last 30 years of your life.
My grandparents’ correct life path doesn’t exist anymore, and I loath the idea of the one laid out by my parents’ generation.
Why? Why must I live my life like that? What if I don’t care about living in a huge house, or driving a $50,000 car? What if those are not my measurements of success? Why must I wait till I’ve long lost my youth to enjoy life? How am I going to be able to do all the things I want to do, to see all the things I want to see when I’m 70 years old? What if I don’t live that long? What if I waste what time I have now saving up to finally live when I’m old and failing, only for my body to give out before then?
Why must I live in this:
And not this?
Why must I wear this:
I find it almost impossible to discuss this with people who exist in the the same reality I’m trying to escape. To them, their day to day is all there is to life. Going to work every day, living in their apartment, feeding their cat, and from time to time going out with friends is all there is to existence for them. Yet existence hasn’t always been like this, nor is this some culmination of thousands of years of history. Your ancestors didn’t chase animals on the plains or build the pyramids, or storm the castle, or cross the oceans so you could get up at 8 am in sleepy suburbia, put the coffee on and get ready to drive to work.
One of the questions that keeps coming up is “what am I going to do for a job?” There are two questions wrapped up in that question. One is asking “what are you going to do to eat?” and the second one “what are you going to do to earn a living?” The answer to the first one is that I will work little jobs here and there, though nothing permanent. The second question shows you’re still stuck in that idea of saving up money to do something later.
If I work 50 jobs in my life time, and live in half as many locations, making only enough money to eat and travel to a new place, I’d be thrilled. THAT is a life worth living! All the stories, people, cultures, experiences! I would much rather spend my life like that than working a steady job, paying a mortgage, driving the kids to soccer practice and occasionally taking a week long vacation to the Caribbean.