David McCullough Jr., an English teacher at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts, braving persecution by the “politically correct” and the “everybody is a winner” factions of contemporary society, told the 2012 graduating Class, “You are not special. You are not exceptional.” His full commentary is worth a read. How long it will take to tie his remarks to the election results in Wisconsin this past week is as yet unknown, but watch for it.
Being aroused as I am by numbers, large and small, in addition to delighting in the substance of his speech, I focused on a calculation he made, described as follows, “…So think about this: even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you….” Interesting point, even if he rounded up a bit. (I get 6,800, but why quibble?) Coming as it does on the heels of my recent postings on the Big Bang, quarks and leptons, none of which I am certain he read, I nevertheless find my mind racing over the import of his assertion.
Suppose we really have 7,000 or so people out there just like us. What does that actually mean? That they look like us? No, that’s too weird — but it does explain my Doppelgänger (German for “double walker”) reference, as they are reputed to be a paranormal double of a living person, typically representing evil or misfortune. In contemporary vernacular it can be any double or look-alike of a person, sans the evil taint.
No, I believe the reference is to the notion that there are many out there who experientially, personality wise and philosophically are remarkably similar to us, even if we never met. How can that be? If you ponder it a bit, it’s not as far fetched a notion as you might think. In the age of radio, television, computers, cell phones, internet and constant sharing of information, anyone and everyone who partakes in those media read the same notions (whether true or not); view the same television shows, movies and web-sites, hear the same talk and end up forming opinions on a multitude of things that are common to a multitude of other viewers and listeners. Accordingly, it seems to make some rough sense that a few thousand or so conglomerations of quarks and leptons, out of 6.8 billion, will be in accord with me on everything. Now I don’t feel so disagreeable. How they found out about the “Pasta Rules” is presently beyond me. Which reminds me, I am getting pressure from Mo to post an actual recipe, lest I not live up to my billing on this site. I’ll go do that. My Doppelgängers can post a comment and let me know you’re out there.