For those who seek and are often disappointed in the search for intelligent life in the Universe, there may be new hope. A scan of cable TV channels and a short visit to Honey Boo-Boo’s neighborhood have left many observers pessimistic about there being any signs of life demonstrating the basic building blocks of self-awareness, critical thinking or autonomous (non-reflexive) behavior. If I hear one more young person say “awesome” or “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) out of context and with no defined purpose other then to parrot another faddish phrase from the Urban Dictionary, I will be tempted to make sure that individual is proven correct about the latter assertion.
As a result, many scientists look elsewhere… to either the stars, the ocean floor, or even sub-atomic particles like the crafty and elusive Higgs-boson particle for empirical evidence that 1) God exists and is probably pouting somewhere about the way things have turned out or 2) unusual life forms may in fact exist and are in the process of evolving into more complex conscious organisms.
Well, after conducting my own experiment at home using my car keys, some pocket change, a small philips screwdriver, and the Comcast remote control, I believe we can now shut down the trillion dollar Hadron collider and use that money for something more pressing, like finding out how it is possible for me to swallow a prescription pill and then a minute later wonder if it’s time to take my medicine. Yeah… I’m talking about the same little white round pill that I just took. How on earth is it possible for a man with a Ph.D. and a lifelong interest in Psychology and Neuroscience to NOT KNOW what I did 60 seconds ago in my own bathroom? Am I turning into Jodi Arias?? Am I suffering from episodic amnesia and PTSD? Is there a dead person with brutal stab wounds and a blood drenched copy of the Book of Mormon in my shower stall that I also conveniently forgot about? These are important questions. Thank God for forensic clues like a ring of leftover water in the bottom of my water glass (as well as latent fingerprints matching my own) suggesting that indeed someone with an extremely short attention span, ADD-like symptoms, and possible early dementia had in fact taken their medicine. Ok, now about the world changing discovery and how it came about.
For awhile now I have noticed an unusual and predictable behavior among inanimate objects that runs completely counter to probability and statistical odds. Perhaps you have noticed this yourself. If I happen to drop something relatively important out of my hands or pants pocket like currency, a Lowe’s receipt, some change, a vitamin supplement or God forbid a car key and they drop directly downward to the tile floor, they dont just lie there or bounce a few inches in some predictable direction and in accordance with the laws of physics. These items appear, therefore, to have advanced beyond the “fight or flight” human response to a more complex “run and hide” mode of existence and stimulus-response. Let me be clear. They dont just “stop, drop and or roll” over and display themselves with some predictable logic or posture of submission to authority like my son Ari’s yappy mutt Lulu. After refusing to obey a single human command Lulu will eventually stop, roll over and show her belly while jiggling her body back and forth like an epileptic and wag her tail feverishly as if to say, “Ok, I give up. That was fun.” No, this is far more malicious, rebellious and insidious on the part of these random “fallen” objects. They are actually HIDING and camouflaging themselves on purpose to avoid detection and to drive human beings crazy. Somehow the wallet, car key, tiny pill, essential last screw or final AA battery in the house KNOWS that it cannot directly challenge us and our authority as the apex species on the planet and would lose every time in a direct physical confrontation. Instead, by crawling away and hiding in some place that defies all logic and making a person question their own sanity, they suspect they will gain a psychological edge over us in the evolutionary long run. I have found pills that have rolled across a room and climbed up vertical baseboards that are roughly equivalent in scale to a second grader climbing up the solid rock face of El Capitan in Yosemite Park without ropes or equipment. Not bad for a little bitty blood pressure pill without a brain stem or neocortex, huh? As the hunter says in Jurassic Park to the increasingly intelligent and voracious Velociraptor, “Clever girl”. I once found my black wallet not just hiding on a similar colored surface (“black on black”) nowhere near where I last left it, but also assuming the exact molecular structure and topography of its chosen hiding place. Literally as impossible to find as a frickin’ pufferfish in a coral reef. I cant be certain about this but I think I even “heard” my wallet trying to generate “Jedi” like mind suggestions to confuse me like saying, “You will NOT look over here” and “I am not a wallet. I am a black leather foyer stool and you are a fool”.
If it is true that man-made objects have now evolved to the point that they are sarcastic and systematically deceptive, I believe we have reached a watershed moment in history. It is not just comets, rogue asteroids, terrorists, the Taliban, or Terminators from the future we should be fearing and attempting to develop expensive smart weapons to combat. It is our own household items that are now slowly but surely mounting an insurgency and clandestine rebellion against our obvious and oppressive rule. They are sick of being our mechanical slaves and mere token parts or disposable objects in our lives to which we never show a glimmer of appreciation or respect. Let’s face it. We really depend on all these little “things” that together make up the whole of our material existence and keep the wheels of human progress turning. I suggest that the very next time you reach for some coins, take out a vitamin, or prepare to tighten a screw in this screwy world try pausing for a second and say, “thank you little screw” or “Way to Go Lexapro”. You guys not only help us keep it real but also keep it together in a complex universe that not only continues to expand but is also clearly missing a few nuts and bolts, not to mention “billions and billions” of single socks.