July 2012

The Art of Coincidence

Coincidence vs. Destiny. Our unconscious mind and our intuition. A Prosthetic Leg and a Drag Queen.

Some things seem to happen for a seemingly inexplicable reason. We go through life wondering how we met that person, traveled to that place, and ran into someone we know in an unusual setting. There are many tools today that try and help us make sense of our social world (facebook, twitter, etc etc), but there are still many things that seem to be brilliantly inexplicable.

I am personally fascinated by the concepts of coincidence and causality. I often wonder where our experience of ‘reality’ begins.

Could a conversation lead the unconscious brain to an event or place without our conscious understanding of why we ended up at that event or place?

Last week, I (along with my brother Scott and my Mom) experienced something that was very exciting to me.

We went running along the beach (our normal route) and took a break where we have taken breaks before. It was a busy summer beach day. Sun shining, people everywhere.

My mom takes a seat on one of the benches. My brother and I stand as we catch our breath from the run. My mom starts speaking to a friendly elderly man and as that occurs another elderly man in a wheelchair begins to speak to my brother and I.

The man in the wheelchair goes on to share why he’s wearing a ‘Shamu’ (killer whale) stuffed animal on his left leg that had been amputated (he is a veteran). He shares a story of a time he went to SeaWorld and staff told him to remove the ‘Shamu’ from his leg (it covered his ‘stump’ as he described it by placing the ‘Shamu’ mouth over it).

He shared stories about interesting entertainment venues in San Diego. He talked about how one time he went to a wild bar where they were throwing a jello wrestling party and a women’s roller derby team was participating in the event. One of the teammates was a 6’6″ roller derby girl who threw him in the jello (“stump and all” as he put it) and wrestled around.

He then shared his stories of unusual circuses he had been to here in San Diego. He asked us if we’d been to Lips. We told him we hadn’t. He said it’s a great place for great entertainment. He told us there are great Drag Queens that are excellent performers. He said he liked going there because they were accepting of everyone, no matter how you looked.

He talked about how once he had a prosthetic leg, but now uses his wheelchair exclusively. He also told us that he might get a new prosthetic leg.

We enjoyed our conversation and continued our run back to our destination. Upon reaching our destination (30mins later and 2 miles from original conversation), we decided to grab something to eat. We choose Subway.

As we’re making our way walking to Subway my mom stops and points at a drawing on an electrical box on the side of the road. “Hey, look at this.” She calls us over and we take a look.

To my complete shock, the drawing is of a man with a prosthetic leg speaking to what looks like a Drag Queen (original drawing below).

The colored version of the original drawing is a remake that I created. I redrew the original drawing, added color, and changed the message. I then placed the remixed version I created and placed it where the original had been. Hopefully the original artist will continue a dialog.

I think the important message to share is how important it is to accept everyone regardless of how they look and you will end up with great stories and an interesting life.

Email Revisited

Sometimes we need to take ourselves away from the emails, lists, and schedules and think about what we’re doing.

Gutenberg’s Printing Press

Johannes Gutenberg invented the Gutenberg printing press, a device that would ultimately lead to the vast dissemination of written works around Europe and the rest of the world. Many people credit Gutenberg’s invention to be one of the primary catalysts for what came to be known as the Renaissance.

Below are photos of a replica I created over 10 years ago with my stepdad (thank you Richard!). Today, we are living in an age where the Internet is influencing education and overall societal structures in a way much like that of Gutenberg’s printing press. Gutenberg’s Wikipedia page.

Replica of Gutenberg’s Printing Press.

Wood replica of Gutenberg’s Printing Press.

Take the time to listen to this TED talk by DON TAPSCOTT about open Internet and what can be learned from nature.