How to:

What happens when the incomprehensibly large is an everyday experience?

The scale that the modern world operates on is kind of incomprensible. For instance: how we think about quantities. It's crazy to be routinely, casually using words like billion and trillion. There was a time when thousands or hundreds meant an incomprehensibly large number

The scale that the modern world operates on is kind of incomprensible. For instance: how we think about quantities. It's crazy to be routinely, casually using words like billion and trillion. There was a time when thousands or hundreds meant an incomprehensibly large number

But today, we, and not even those involved in, global politics for instance, are routinely talking about events happening at a global scale more often than we do events in our own backyard. Especially in computer science and crypto, the numbers are rarely not staggering.

When I'm using hyperbole, as one always does sometimes, I catch myself using numbers that are often off by many orders of magnitude. Because hundreds or thousands of anything never seems like very much anymore, even though I've almost never seen that many of anything in my life.

What does it mean to live in a time when we deal in numbers that are really beyond comprehension? What does a billion dollars even look like? Something weird happens when every number we work with is one we can't visualize. They become abstracted, and so too do the impacts.

On a several hundred- or thousand-year timescale (there we go again), this change has profound impacts to the way we think about thinking. It's only in the last hundred years of human life have we been really thinking like this on this scale.

And imagine where this is moving. Imagine the probable world in the near future which everyday people are routinely dealing in scientific notation out of necessity. What does it mean to be just one person? To know only a few?

It's a world in which our sensory experience becomes microscopic compared to what else we know to be true. One where our experience is primarily in stuff we can understand only theoretically. One where our primary universe is the metaverse.

Ideas

What happens when the incomprehensibly large is an everyday experience?

The scale that the modern world operates on is kind of incomprensible. For instance: how we think about quantities. It's crazy to be routinely, casually using words like billion and trillion. There was a time when thousands or hundreds meant an incomprehensibly large number

But today, we, and not even those involved in, global politics for instance, are routinely talking about events happening at a global scale more often than we do events in our own backyard. Especially in computer science and crypto, the numbers are rarely not staggering.

When I'm using hyperbole, as one always does sometimes, I catch myself using numbers that are often off by many orders of magnitude. Because hundreds or thousands of anything never seems like very much anymore, even though I've almost never seen that many of anything in my life.

What does it mean to live in a time when we deal in numbers that are really beyond comprehension? What does a billion dollars even look like? Something weird happens when every number we work with is one we can't visualize. They become abstracted, and so too do the impacts.

On a several hundred- or thousand-year timescale (there we go again), this change has profound impacts to the way we think about thinking. It's only in the last hundred years of human life have we been really thinking like this on this scale.

And imagine where this is moving. Imagine the probable world in the near future which everyday people are routinely dealing in scientific notation out of necessity. What does it mean to be just one person? To know only a few?

It's a world in which our sensory experience becomes microscopic compared to what else we know to be true. One where our experience is primarily in stuff we can understand only theoretically. One where our primary universe is the metaverse.

Updated continuously • Last edited on
11.16.23
No items found.
Ideas

What happens when the incomprehensibly large is an everyday experience?

No items found.
Updated continuously •
Last edited on
11.16.23

The scale that the modern world operates on is kind of incomprensible. For instance: how we think about quantities. It's crazy to be routinely, casually using words like billion and trillion. There was a time when thousands or hundreds meant an incomprehensibly large number

But today, we, and not even those involved in, global politics for instance, are routinely talking about events happening at a global scale more often than we do events in our own backyard. Especially in computer science and crypto, the numbers are rarely not staggering.

When I'm using hyperbole, as one always does sometimes, I catch myself using numbers that are often off by many orders of magnitude. Because hundreds or thousands of anything never seems like very much anymore, even though I've almost never seen that many of anything in my life.

What does it mean to live in a time when we deal in numbers that are really beyond comprehension? What does a billion dollars even look like? Something weird happens when every number we work with is one we can't visualize. They become abstracted, and so too do the impacts.

On a several hundred- or thousand-year timescale (there we go again), this change has profound impacts to the way we think about thinking. It's only in the last hundred years of human life have we been really thinking like this on this scale.

And imagine where this is moving. Imagine the probable world in the near future which everyday people are routinely dealing in scientific notation out of necessity. What does it mean to be just one person? To know only a few?

It's a world in which our sensory experience becomes microscopic compared to what else we know to be true. One where our experience is primarily in stuff we can understand only theoretically. One where our primary universe is the metaverse.

Read more

No items found.