This animation shows a kinematic wave traveling from left-to-right through an elastic medium. Observe the four voxels colored black, and how they move as the wave passes; they are perturbed, but eventually return to their original state (elastic behavior). In this example, the wave does not attenuate as it travels, maintaining full energy with increasing distance from the generative source.
The animation is the source of this blog's name; waves are an example of a propagating disturbance. I imagine you, the person reading this, to be the black voxels. Your monitor converts the discretized, evenly-sampled binary signal passed to it from your computer's video output to the produced images that travel through the air into the back of your eye. The signals, most likely pulsating at 60 Hz, arrive upside-down, only to be processed by your brain to produce the perception that (correctly), the words are in fact what we have collectively defined as right-side up:
This blog can be seen as my own permanent point-source for the propagation of my thoughts, a disturbance moving through your cognition center, occasionally permanently reforming regions therein. This process is not voluntary. You can indeed leave this page and never come back, effectively preventing uptake, and I agree with that. However, if you do continue analyzing my words, it is inevitable that an effect will be levied.
"One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
Take a moment to study this image before continuing:
These emotions are not optional, and when endured, have the capability to produce action when detected at sizable measure. Ideas behave in a very similar manner. If you partake in my blog and are exposed to this propagation stream of my thoughts, your logic center's gates may be modified upon exposure to ideas of sufficient magnitude, and the process is not carried out consciously. Free will is indeed an illusion, but in my worldview (that of deterministic metaphysical naturalism), the conscious feeling that humans experience produces a surrogate experience that meets the criteria I would require for free will to have been met. Thus, if you asked me, I would scribe that while non-deterministic human behavior independent of external boundary conditions is not the case, "free will" is; what is the difference? We wouldn't be able to prove each other wrong, and anything that cannot be proven wrong is by definition inconsequential, so who cares.
"Free will" is really just a complex series of hard-wired pyramidal chemical reactions in your brain, a flutter of electrical impulses through neural synapses experienced as something more, much like the binary signals being sent and interpreted by your CPU right now. People who accept this fact may begin to turn towards nihilism, viewing the entire Universe as a meaningless chemical reaction of which they are merely a reactant. This does not have to be the case however; remember your 'free will'. You still have a say in this psychotic quantum puppet show, whether it's all involuntarily scripted or not. Do NOT pass up this valuable opportunity.
Narcissism is healthier than nihilism, and it happens to be socially acceptable (here in the West, anyway), so take that stance instead. The chemical reactions in your brain are you, and the data that your brain has had access to feed upon was only accessible by you. You are the center of your own private universe.
Now, with that being said, the more people you influence, the great the cosmic footprint you leave on the Universe's proverbial beach. The footprints all wash away eventually by the weathering of time, perhaps indefinitely through a Big Crunch. However, the more people that are exposed to your ideals, particularly those who are impressed upon non-elastically, the more likely your ideals be internalized and commandeered for use by other organic reactants.
Much like a tsunami generated by an Earthquake, your crusade produces a reaction and infinite subsequent reactions, and media such as the Internet is willing and able to help propagate your own disturbances. The end sum of the endless spiral through time of reactants may not have meaning, and may not be in your control, but I urge you to take solace in the convincing illusions of both that our minds desire.
|Animation of an earthquake-induced tsunami.|