Saturday, August 29, 2015

How to make things real

So I just watched a Ted talk by John Green  and he started out by relating how a fake town became real. After watching it I turned to my son who asked, "Why is he talking about that fake town still." John started talking about Agloe, New York, a town that was invented by some map makers to copyright their map. He tells the story really well. But at this point I responded to my son's question.

"He's talking about the same things that I keep trying to talk to you about." I said. "How if you believe in something, it can become real."

He looked at me with a face. A face that said, "What my dad just said sounds like a joke. He can't be serious"

So I explained how this magic happened.

First, there was a map that had a fake town on it. Because it was on the map people believed it was there. This, by itself didn't make the town real.

But because people believed it was real, they would go there. People with maps, that needed gas for their cars, or groceries or a bathroom. These people would go to the place on the map that said there was a town. This also didn't make the town real.

But the people going to the fake town caused something. They caused a market force to exist. And other people responded to this market force. People responding to the market force build a gas station so that people that believed there was a town would not run out of gas.

Once there was a gas station, there was a job for a few people at the location, and one or two of them decided they would like to live closer to where they worked, and build homes there.

Before long, there was a small grocery store to sell to the residents of the fake town, and to people stopping by to get gas at the gas station.

These residents needed to mail letters, so a post office was built there. Which employed more people, who wanted to have a school, and so on.

And soon, the fake town was real. It was real, because people believed their map, and so believed the town existed. This believe and the actions that sprang from it caused the fake town to become real.

All because people believed in it.

In our lives, we have a map of things we think might be real for our futures. If we believe in them. If we thing that one day we might be able to go to our own personal Agloe, then the forces the shape our world may make it real. And the more we believe in that future, the more actions we will take that will make that town on our map real.

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