I recently shared how my subconscious had actually formed a (probably) earth-shaking theory that would’ve explained so many things we take for granted these days, like how we finally find a parking slot when we really, REALLY need to find the nearest mall bathroom ASAP, but that I had neglected to write it down, and the idea melted back into the sleep-deprived ether of my brain. Well, I think I’ve retrieved part of it as I read the writing prompt for our first round of TBR 3.0.
Outside of This Reality
I’ve always hated the adage, “Those that can’t do, teach.” As a teacher of various types of students for more than one and a half decades, I believe that I’ve proven and have seen the evidence that you can’t teach if you can’t do, and that among the best doers are those who can teach as well. It doesn’t necessarily follow that if you’re the best at what you do that you will be good at teaching as well. The transmission of knowledge to people who are not at your level of training or experience is a wholly different skill set.
Ever since I was in high school, I’ve always felt that I had a knack for teaching. I taught during Student-Teacher days every year back in high school, and not just for one class. In medical school, as early as first year, I knew I wanted to some day be in front of a class at our lecture hall giving lectures about my then still-unknown specialty. I believe that in the multiverses from ideas that I’ve birthed, more than a fair number of them have me as a teacher. There really is just something about how an unenlightened, unknowing mind suddenly reveals a spark of connection, a revelation of truth, or an understanding of reality through that look of clarity in their eyes. Even in a sea of blank faces, still confused, oft disinterested, one a-ha look can be worth all the effort.
Architect of Another
Again, I look back to high school to see where my other selves are right now.
For a science high school, we had a really crappy Computer Science subject. It was really still in the very early days of the Information Age, and the WWW was still something that was confined to the military, scientists, early pioneer hackers, and the imaginations of Hollywood writers. I guess they couldn’t be blamed for assigning a part-time teacher to teach a subject that was given less than three hours a week. We were supposed to learn Pascal, whose basics I’d already learned by myself after I got bored with BASIC. Our class lessons and objectives were really so basic the time, I ended up helping half my classmates finish the final requirement because I’d already finished my own a quarter into the year.
But CS wasn’t the subject I would be teaching in Student-Teacher Days. I don’t think they even tasked a student-teacher for CS. I was always teaching Physics. Physics was the easiest science subject for me. Nothing to memorize but formulas, and all the problems were basically math problems. The concepts needed less memorizing and more understanding, and my brain didn’t have a hard time with putting things together in Physics. Granted it was simple Newtonian stuff, and we barely touched quantum back then, but I enjoyed Physics a lot in high school, and I guess that showed to my teacher.
Somewhere out there, I’m rewriting the world.
I’m speaking at large conferences describing how I’m trying to figure out gravitons or dark matter or near-light propulsion. Or I’m working on an all-Filipino all-star physicist team finally cracking cheap superconductivity or fusion power. Or finally helped to engineer affordable Filipino electric cars. My buddy Elon just said Amber wants to see Kitty and Lily for dinner tonight. We’ll talk space mining later.
Or more likely, as I had actually enrolled in CS in UPD before shifting tracks to Med, it’s Zuck calling me up to check if it was really me who sent a friend request. As I’m more a software than a hardware guy, I’d probably be riding a Google Shuttle somewhere on my way to work. Or probably just on some beach somewhere, enjoying the fruits of my latest must-have app. I think I would definitely have picked up on the rise of mobile back then. I mean, it’s a computer in your pocket! Literally. Maybe I wouldn’t have seen Flappy Bird or Angry Birds coming, but I’d most likely be in front of the mobile bandwagon before it began rolling.
Writing, Coding, and Getting Lost
As I try to wrap this up, I look at the struggles that I have with trying to re-establish my writing chops. I realize that I consume far too much and create too little. I really do see myself as a writer now as it is the only way for me to be able to find myself putting these words one after another. And in some other multiverse from idea again, I’m likely more prolific as a writer than healer. And in some ways, my computer geek self that won out in the other dimensions over the doctor-counselor is a writer as well. Writing code is, well, still writing. The visions and the imagery are not formed within our electrochemical brains but within the digital networks of phones and tablets, or housed somewhere on a server cloud. But each line means something, and results in something that forms part of a new thing. Intangible, illegible, but existent and as real as word penned on paper with ink.
So maybe my alternate dimension lives are really just manifestations of a creative spark that yearns to put something down and births something new, whether out in the world or within another’s mind. Like teaching, but without the lecture. And with all these things that I wish I was pursuing, trying now to rediscover, or just feebly trying to make something with, I wonder how far astray I have wandered and whether I will find my way to a path beside that original one.
In the meantime, I have to really find time to code before this idea for a great app slips away again.