The Many Worlds

Everyone is unique. Our life experiences are different from each other. From an individual’s perspective, all things and ideas are contingent. Few things like air and water could mean the same for everyone. Still, people would have different perceptions about even what we all need to live. The ‘kind of’ air and water people have access to in different parts of the world, and what they do – like a botanist in Brazil versus an athlete in Ethiopia – tell about their different perceptions.

There is not a whole objective reality, a complete picture of everything we all can share. Everyone perceives it to limits of their nature and in the direction of their previous experiences. In other words, your world is unique because your life experience is. There is no one else whose experiences are the same as yours. There never was. There never will be.

Because you are unique, you make all groups, organizations, and communities you are part of unique in your way. Your web browser would display the friendly message “the Internet is not the same without you” when offline. It is true.

When you are online, you can browse the web within the comfort zone of your world. Things and ideas remain contingent; relative to your world. They mean however you understand them. When you interact, relativity ends. You would have to find some common ground with others to write something on your Facebook. That leads you to refer to essences of things, using universal meanings of words and ideas. Things are what they are to you if you are in your world. Things become objective realities when you interact with others. A botanist in Brazil may have the most elaborate understanding of air, but she would have to reduce the concept to its essence when interacting with others: The stuff you breathe. And these four words must mean the same to everyone she interacts with if what she says is ever to be understood.

This is where things become complicated. You need universals for interacting with others. You still want to maintain what they mean to you because that is what matters to you. So does everyone else. One option is excelling in the use of essences, keeping your world and others’ perfectly separate, and hoping everyone else does the same. Another option is reflecting your world on your interactions and hoping others will cooperate. Neither option will work. Because of the incompatibility of many relative worlds, sorting things out by physical force was the only business for a long time. Only after education, which is about establishing what things should mean for everybody, Aristotle’s political human took the stage and use of physical force became an isolated case. Trade, science, and arts flourished. We are yet to find a way to establish what things objectively mean for everybody so our affairs can take place based on universal truths and all humanity can be one happy species. Until then, interactions with others will be political one way or other, where politics being one’s contending what she is good at as the best order of doing things for others.

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