Cognitive Vertigo

Jan 4, 2011

I was making a new front page for oenone.zentience.org, just with a link to /tmp where I occasionally dump stuff when I want to show someone something. Or just to have it accessible.

So I made the /tmp text a link and put a title attribute on it that said “This is all there is”, nothing else on the page. On Unix systems /tmp is the directory for temporary files, nothing long-lived.

As I previewed the page I hovered the mouse over the link and the text popped up as it should. Temporary things — this is all there is.

People are born, live their life and die, the sun will eventualy too, stars, galaxies, the universe itself, nothing lasts. The perspective completely blew my mind. As I recovered from the cognitive vertigo of that, I just sat there and smiled, feeling at peace with everything.

The Total Perspective Vortex can’t be as bad as the late Douglas Adams made it out to be.

Going to work after that experience was kind of a downer though.


Last edited: May 1, 2016


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