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What the Moment Means

“What does this moment mean to you, Mitchell?

“What do you mean?

“This moment. This feeling. Winning the gold”

“Winning the gold was a few moments ago. More than a few actually. How do you define a moment, Chet?”

“Let’s not worry about that. Just tell me how you’re feeling right now.”

“A bit confused, Chet. You sports commentators are always asking about what this moment means, and I’m trying to pin that down. What exactly defines a moment? What ultimately defines meaning? Wouldn’t that be helpful to your viewers? They must get awfully tired of hearing you ask such a vague and repetitive question.”

“Sure. Sure. So, the split second you knew you’d won the gold, what went through your mind.”

“Okay. That’s much more specific. Let’s see…I itched. I remember scratching my elbow because of an intense itch. That felt pretty good.”

“As good as winning the gold?”

“That’s more complex. There were a lot of systems competing for my attention. Sensory. Circulatory. Respiratory. Limbic. Neural cognitive. Emotional. You know.”

“Talk about your emotional response?”

“I dunno, Chet. It’s not like I can easily separate all those feelings and assign a specific meaning to each. Take for example the image that flashed through my mind as I was scratching my elbow after winning the gold: the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Somehow it popped into my mind at that moment. Somehow it was significant. Surprising, huh? You’d think my mom or dad would pop into my head, but, no, it was the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. Probably in some mysterious way because of the movie Ghostbusters. We could dig really deeply into what that means on some level, but that’s probably not what you’re after.”

“No problem, Mitchell. This is obviously a big moment for you and a lot is running through your mind. I just wanted you to share what was in your heart. For our audience out there. Not everyone wins gold.”

“I get that, Chet. I’m just trying to point out the difficulty of sharing meaning. It’s a very analog concept. A Möbius strip, an edgeless loop, trying to sharpen itself into Occam’s razor. You see, significance is never binary. What an individual moment means in the scope of a lifetime is like trying to write the history of an entire century by focusing on one day, or trying to understand a novel by excerpting a single word. I think you’re slicing meaning too thin, Chet?”

“Yeah, yeah. Well, Mitchell, you’ve certainly given us all a lot to think about. So where do you go from here with your gold?”

“Actually, that’s a much more precise and important question, Chet. Meaning is all about position. Where quantum particles line up is how we determine reality. It provides the framework for meaning. Every thought, every action is based on certain particle arrangements that transmit information. Record that and you’ll know exactly how I’ve been feeling my entire life. It won’t be repetitive; it’ll be recursive. You’ll be one giant step closer to discovering meaning. Isn’t that great, Chet?”

“Fabulous, Mitchell. Fabulous. You’ve made my entire existence as a commentator tortured and meaningless.”

“Thanks, Chet. You know the golden rule: No pain, no again.”

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