29 September 2007

World Lines

Today I would like to talk about “world lines” but for this exercise I think it would be best for each of my four readers to drink several cups of strong coffee first and then put on their thinking caps. I read about the concept of world lines many years ago and I found out that Albert Einstein had an interest in them in regard to his study of physics. A world line is the sequential path of a human through time and space that marks the history of a person, starting at the time and place of one's birth until their death. When we are born, our world line branches off from our mother's world line. When we die, the world lines of the atoms that make up our body go on. If you could actually see a world line it would look like a twisting curvy path with both tiny ringlets and big sweeping curves and with various zigzags and ups and downs in between. Imagine a child being born and the beginning of his or her world line. The path that the nurse takes as she carries the child from the delivery room to the nursery begins the world line but the earth is rotating at the same time and so both of these movements are recorded. While the earth is rotating it is also moving around the sun and the sun is moving around the center of the Milky Way galaxy which is also moving through time and space and all of these movements become part of the child’s world line. No two world lines are alike either. Everyone (and every thing) has its own unique world line.

Whenever we touch somebody our world lines intersect. Take for example two people shaking hands. It only takes us two or three seconds to shake someone’s hand but for those two or three seconds we are hurtling through time and space holding hands with another human being and the event is marked by the intersection of our world lines. In this day and age of computers and gigabytes and nanoseconds you could transmit a great deal of information in those two or three seconds. This thought led to my realization that if you had a computer big enough, and fast enough, and a cosmic positioning system like out modern Global Positioning System (GPS), you could keep track of everything in the Universe. After thinking about this for awhile it seemed to me that this may be how God keeps track of everything and maybe even Santa Claus does too so that he can keep track of who is naughty and who is nice.

I began thinking about other things that can connect peoples’ world lines other than shaking hands and giving birth. Kissing is the first thing that came to mind and after that, making love. It wasn’t long before my list began to grow and some of the items, like punching, kicking, and stabbing were not pleasant to think about. Then I wondered about shooting someone. Does that connect world lines? I think it should but I don’t know if there is a rule about this but I am confident that God knows. Then I remembered about the practice of “counting coup” that was a battle ritual performed by the American Plains Indians. They felt that it was important to touch an enemy with their hands or a special stick shortly before or after they killed him. I myself like to go up to important people after they have given a speech and shake their hands. I figure that with our world lines connected for a few seconds maybe some of their wisdom will somehow transfer over to me. After all, their own world lines are connected to all of the important people whose hands they themselves shook. Why not?

I found a book once that showed where many of the important historical figures in America are buried. Whenever I am in a place where one of these people is eternally resting (I hope), I try to stop by their grave to say hello. Somehow it gives me a good feeling to visit the grave of people like Mark Twain (Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira, New York). After all, I read all of his books and I felt like I knew him. I’m just not sure if I get any world line credits for standing over his moldering dead body 80 years after he died though. Perhaps I will just have to settle for being connected to him through Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.


2 comments:

glorv1 said...

I like the concept of "World Lines, a connection between everyone in some manner. It is a deep subject that gets your juices flowing.You are a very deep and personal person and your thought provoking subjects really gets me to thinking about things and I do appreciate that. Thank you.

Margarita said...

IT'S INDEED A GREAT CONCEPT.. I totally agree with glorv1 =)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.