Back in 2011, as a gesture of support for my Spanish teacher who was additionally conducting an ethics course at a local university, I voluntarily concocted a thought experiment for her to inflict upon her students. I typed and submitted it to her in my poor Spanish after her mention of her class, hoping she would try it out; but I’m too embarrassed to show my poor language skills here. She was delighted, and she did share it with her students, conducting the experiment – although she didn’t use a secret ballot, which contaminates the experiment with observer bias.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of thought experiments, I’ll tell about one which has changed history for everybody on the planet. It was devised by Albert Einstein on his way to work one morning. He looked at the clocktower down the street in Berne, Switzerland, as he walked to his desk at the patent office, and began to think about the light bouncing off the hands of the clock, revealing what time it was. So he asked himself a question about that light: What would I see, if I could catch a ride on a beam of light, traveling at light speed? Well, his pondering of that question, we’re told here, radically altered humankind’s understanding of the laws of nature. A simple question. A profound experiment. A different world. That cellphone in your pocket, your tv, computer, digital gear, all of it harks back to his thought experiment.
Asking the right questions can change the course of your life. Ah, yes, it takes some pondering, and some listening. But intense curiosity comes first. (And I do think it’s important not to allow anyone else to answer for you – not your grandma, not your pastor, not your professors, nor any authority figures. You arrived, pre-loaded with cosmic wisdom and spiritual aptitude! Go inside your own consciousness, and listen.) The experiment I devised for my Spanish teacher basically asks individuals which role model they would prefer: the suffering but fashionable and popular artist, Frida; or the suffering, failed messiah (or so it seemed, even to his disciples), the crucified Jesus? Secret ballot is intended. So then, what’s you’re choice? Whom will you emulate?
If you’re not familiar with the life of Frida you may review it before voting. For those not familiar with the life of Jesus, I’ve linked The Message translation of the shortest gospel, that of Mark, as it is fast-paced, and rendered in lively contemporary English. (If you prefer a different translation or another language version, from Amuzgo to Uspanteco, including Español and Polski, you may select, using the pull-down menu, at the linked site.)
NB: in the comment section below this post, and in this note, there is a link to a blogpost written by a philosopher and friend who has some genuine insight on issues of consciousness and godtalk.