Who am I?

My name is James and I am a neophyte What-ifer. They call me James the neophyte. I am in search of What-if enlightenment. What? You have never heard the philosophy of “What-if”? Alas it is one of the lost arts. With the aid of my wife and four boys I shall take a journey to find what few masters of this art are still left. No rock will be left unturned in our quest. No really, my boys love picking up rocks.

What is What-ifing?

What if, is a pretty powerful phrase or is it technically a question?  Whatever it is, it is very special. Did you know that what if is quite unique to humans? It sets us apart. It is one of the few things unique to our species.

How many animals do you know that sit around saying what if… to each other? “Hey neighbor what if I ate you.” Said the wolf to the rabbit “What if you ate the fat chipmunk down the path” said the rabbit to the wolf. “What if we moved to the next state over, where there are less wolves?” Said the rabbit’s wife to the rabbit.

No, animals are a little more direct than that. They react to the world they live in. Humans, on the other hand (with opposable  thumb), define the world they live in.

Oh, I know some of you will say, “My dog gives me this look.” So maybe some animals may think to themselves what if.  Like what if I got up on that table and ate that giant roast turkey while those humans watch that blinking light box. But you will never hear that dog say to the cat “hey buddy what if you go get that turkey and we share it, but if you get caught I had nothing to do with it.”

No, what ifs are what set us apart. What ifs have changed our Human world for better and arguably for the worse since we started asking what if.

So you may ask, “What on earth are you talking about? This sounds like crazy talk.” But have you ever noticed that people have this great ability to shape the world around them? In effect they can define the world they live in. Some people are so good at it they affect the world of others with whom they have contact, some can affect the world within their proximity and even more powerful people can shape the world we all live in, without ever having met us. This is a real power! We have all experienced it. You know what I’m talking about, that person who changed your life, either directly or indirectly. Maybe they taught you the value of some virtue, like being honest or being determined in the face of great opposition. Maybe they spoke to your soul with their words.  The world we live in changes constantly and we influence and are influenced by others. When you boil it down to it’s essence, it is the “what if’s” that do it.

For years I have sought to change the world I live in. I work towards making it better in my efforts to cure disease. But I have come to the realization that even though I may change many lives for the better with my research, there are other diseases in need of cures and some “diseases” that science cannot cure at all. Over time I have seen the efforts of others who also seek to change the world in ways different than mine. These fearless men and women with vision to change the world are out there making a difference now and I want to learn from them. They are asking what if and changing the world, I want to know how.


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