Sebastopol is a bucolic little hamlet seated in the western portion of Sonoma County, California. Formerly known for its Gravenstein apples, most orchards have long been planted with vineyards, or converted into the corporate grounds of the tech publishing firm O’Reilly Media. But several years ago a heated battle served to overturn the relative serenity of this community. The conflict erupted over the town’s implementation of a contract for a public Wi-Fi network in its main plaza.
I’m watching a fish in my aquarium picking up rocks with his mouth, swimming a few inches away, and then depositing the pebble. He is making a space for himself, defining the dimensions of his habitat. You may ask, “How does this relate to anything?” The same way everything relates to everything. Pick any subject, and I’ll tell you how it connects to that fish. “What about cosmology?”, you may offer. I was reading a fascinating summary of a new theory about the nature of our reality, how it may have come into existence, and what may become of the universe we inhabit.
A NYTimes essay about a newly drafted logarithmic map of our entire known cosmology reminded me about a paradox of our existence. Each of us is insignificant in terms of magnitude, yet significant in terms of position as the center of our personal universe. The essayist writes: