Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Trivial pursuit

You grin wryly at Adams’s last line. Indeed, this book is not ‘her story’.The Hitch-hiker’s Guide goes on in a completely different vein. It is a tale that, once upon a time, I enjoyed immensely, but strangely I’ve forgotten the plot (some might say that I’ve lost it).

Be that as it may, I’ve often returned to the notion of a Rickmansworth meme. That there might be such a thing is a thought that has haunted me. Something that could revolutionize the world—what would its nature be? What might it look like, and would it be worthwhile my looking?

Let’s suppose that there could exist an idea the magnitude of which was such that if it became general knowledge would literally transform the world (for unless we allow that possibility we’d never ‘pass go’). If it turns out that we’re wrong, then no damage is done. We’d only have wasted a little time that, likely as not, we’d have frittered on some trivial pursuit. Therefore, we’ve nothing to lose, and potentially a whole galaxy to (re)gain.

And so I ponder. Would the average person recognize the Rickmansworth meme if he or she unexpectedly stumbled upon it in the dark? Because you see, I suspect that it might be the sort of thing that is difficult to see, even held right up against your nose. Let’s imagine its characteristics so as to maximize our chances.

Whatever it is, it must surely be logical. It must be sound, it must be coherent, and it must make sense—common sense. It must be some sort of Golden Rule gone platinum—something that . . . I don’t know . . . has the effect of making you treat every living creature with the same reverence that you accord yourself. That would go some way towards improving the human condition, wouldn’t you agree?

Additionally, if something were capable of changing the world, then it stands to reason that it can’t be too complicated, because every Joe Bloggs has to be able to understand the basic principle. Humans being but simple creatures, the meme must also be simple—simplistic?—for it to be universally understood and applied.

What would be the use if only an Einstein could wrap his or her brain around it? No, it’s got be the sort of thing that makes everyone clap their hands and exclaim, “Aha, but of course! How obvious! Why didn’t I see it before? It was in the room with me the whole time, but there was something good on TV.”

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