G.T. THOMAS' 9 THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS
With each song of my latest album "I Am a Highlighter Pen," I was trying out a different "thought experiment" – a pair of lenses to look at the world through. On this page, I'm bringing you deeper into each one. These are my "9 Thought Experiments."
Each one will be released here over a series of 9 weeks (July 16 - September 10, 2020). To be informed before anybody else as soon as a new one comes online, you'll definitely want to be on my mailing list for updates:
This series should not only entertain you, but may also tickle your brain, inspire you, or get you looking at life a little differently.
Let's start with a little introductory video about the 9 Thought Experiments. This will help everything make sense when you officially dive in on the first one, which is up next. Ready? Set, go!
Important disclaimer: In this series, I don’t claim either to believe nor disbelieve each thought experiment I propose. With any given song, I pose it as a hypothetical question purely for our collective consideration and as the idea I wanted to flesh out, musically. Ponder at your own risk. 😉
Video release date: July 9, 2020
Hi! G.T. Thomas, here. Welcome to this first video in a series about my 9 thought experiments that wrote themselves into the 9 songs on my album “I Am a Highlighter Pen.”
We’re gonna start off with just a little introductory video.
Let me start by saying that I never really studied philosophy outside of logic and a bit of epistemology. But from my beginner’s understanding of both of those, and the thoughts that form as a result of that understanding, I hold it as a guiding principle in my own life not to make big claims as to what’s TRUE unless there’s some really solid evidence for those claims.
What I prefer to do instead, is try on different lenses through which to view the world, and just see how my day-to-day life and interactions change (or don’t!) as a result of those lenses. I look at this as carrying out little “thought experiments.”
In 2018, I spent 9 months writing through my observations of life through various lenses in a new-to-me journaling practice. And then I would go through and do something that I've actually been becoming increasingly associated with nowadays. Namely: Highlighting!
HIGHLIGHTING the stuff that I wanted to allow to continue to saturate my daily life for an indefinite amount of time.
That highlighter stripe on those pages became a literal representation of that saturation on the pages of my life.
When I wrote the 9 songs on my latest album, it was the accumulation of those 9 months of thought experiments, and highlighted, life-saturating ideas. Each song had stemmed from its own lens.
When people experiment with things scientifically, we typically expect there to eventually come a result or verdict.
And I think the temptation with thought experiments is that, after trying on new perspectives for a bit, we feel the urge to know, “Well, is that perspective RIGHT? Is it WRONG? Should I live my life in a different way than I did before? Is this a new thing for me to invest my beliefs into? IS IT TRUE?”
From my current outlook, I feel it’s a waste of energy, kind of, to invest in getting those kinds of answers when we carry out thought experiments like the ones I turned into these 9 songs.
(Now, this might be starting to feel a little vague, so let me just give one example of a thought experiments that turned into one of these songs: “What if what I hear said is a reflection of me, not the other?” That's the thought experiment that I'll be sharing with you 2 weeks from now for my song "Shut a Mouth.")
I think after experimenting with these types of thoughts, you begin to be able to just tell what “ways of thinking” help you align with your authentic-heart –who you are at your core– versus which ones were less helpful.
Whether you opt to put on a pair of lenses permanently, or just for a stage of your life, I think remaining open to new ideas and willing to put in time trying on new perspectives that intrigue you is a healthy use of time. Because curiosity is good! So is a large dose of skepticism and non-fallacious thinking is a must, by the way. I just have to say that.
(Because Sunk Costs fallacy is a THING. It's something I just want to lovingly remind people of, it is that it is OKAY to call it quits with a lens that’s not working for your own good, no matter how invested you are!)
So anyway! I decided I want to engage in a new, TENTH thought experiment with YOU... to encapsulate what we are doing with this mini-series in the first place. It’s a thought experiment that’s been tugging at me for a while now. It asks me:
WHAT IF OBSESSION COULD BE A POSITIVE GUIDING FORCE IN OUR LIVES?
Obsession seems like it amplifies parts of your unique "you-ness" by drawing out a quality or trait in your spirit and putting it under a magnifying glass.
Whether that trait is a positive one or a negative one, that’s what obsession does. Only you can decide if you trust in yourself to have positive traits that, when magnified under the magnifying glass of obsession, expand that positive part of your spirit and add something good to life on earth.
Before I kick-off thought experiment #10, though, I need to make something really clear from the get-go:
I am aware there’s such a thing as a *negative* obsession as well. It’s neither my job nor duty to advise anyone as to what’s a positive obsession and what’s a negative obsession. What I can tell you upfront is simply that when I obsess about the things that bring me to life, spark me up, bring me joy, and that, just, overall I find very stimulating in a way that feels light, enthusiastic, or loving, I become more present in my own life and seem to find my actions aligning with my values more.
So, it's under the banner of this tenth thought experiment about obsession as a positive guiding force in our lives that I decided to create this mini-series for you, in which I’ll be bringing you along with me as we positively obsess over each of the 9 thought experiments that birthed my latest 9 songs.
Throughout the time of the mini-series, you’re invited into the fun of becoming slightly obsessed with these songs and the thoughts that went into them!
So, I’m going to help you do that through 9 more videos that are going to show up in your email [if you're signed up – here otherwise] for the next 9 weeks.
Let’s see if that obsession over these thought experiments could be a positive force for good! That’s the goal.
I‘m going to give you so much to think, so hold onto your hats and get ready for "Obsess-o-rama 2020" with G.T. Thomas!
I will look forward to giving you the first thought experiment for track 1, "One of Us," next time we talk. Bye!
1: ONE OF US
Video release date: July 16, 2020
Welcome to this week's video about the first thought experiment from my album, "I Am a Highlighter Pen." This one is for track 1, "One of Us," and the pair of lenses I was giving a whirl on track was this:
WHAT IF EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENING IS A CONVERSATION I WANTED TO AIR?
So. Allow me to introduce myself: I’m you. The you outside of you, that is. I’m here to be a part of a conversation that something inside you wants to air.
Kind of like in a dream, all the characters are there to represent a part of yourself, projected outward for you to interact with and solve life’s riddles with.
Hmm… but if that’s true for you, it’s true for me as well. And if that’s the case, wouldn’t this be a battle of wills? Who gets to decide which conversation to air, when? Seems problematic.
Unless… there was actually only one of us.
So… What if there IS only one of us, after all?
A question like this may make a person explore what kinds of riddles, and questions might be aired if we were actually all just one being, cooperating within itself in one big, zany conversation (even through creating conflicts… and, dare I even suggest… viruses?).
Maybe one would begin to see whatever’s happening in their life as something that they, themself, wanted to air, and listen to that conversation more closely, and with more curious openness to what is being said.
I wonder what we’d find.
Whether you appreciate this thought experiment or not, I do hope you like the G.T. Thomas song "One of Us." And that you will stay tuned for the next edition to talk about the thought experiment behind track 2, "Shut a Mouth." See ya then!
2: SHUT A MOUTH
Video release date: July 23, 2020
Welcome back for this week's thought experiment, which is for track 2, "Shut a Mouth" off of my album "I Am a Highlighter Pen."
The pair of lenses I was givin' a whirl on track 2 was this:
WHAT IF WHAT I HEAR SAID IS A REFLECTION OF ME, NOT THE OTHER?
Let's just imagine that until we put in conscious effort to do otherwise, the default starting point for us humans is that when another person is speaking, what we hear them saying is more likely a representation of something already on our own mind... somewhere.
Should it be a goal to tune in to a message from outside yourself, rather than just hearing your own same-ol' messages in every conversation you engage in? Is that even possible?
Is the trick to refrain from speaking? 🤐
Is the trick to ask more questions? 🤔
If hearing your own thoughts reflected back is the default for you as a human, then that's true for your interlocuter, as well, so... how much of the responsibility is in your hands to get them to hear what you're trying to say and not whatever they were already thinking? *ugh* What EVEN IS "dialogue"? 🤣
Richard Johnson (author of Inner Gold: Understanding Psychological Projection) says, “We barely understand how much of what we perceive in others and the outside world are actually parts of ourselves.”
All of us have negative qualities we neglect to take ownership of, where –when we get annoyed with them in someone else– we're really just annoyed with the part of ourselves that that other person is reflecting back at us.
On the other side of the same coin, all of us have incredibly positive qualities we have cut ourselves off from, where –when we admire them in someone else– we're really just in awe of something we, ourselves, have inherent potential for.
We are all mirrors to each other.
Shines a whole new light on the words "I'm here for you" and "you're here for me." Doesn't it?
In fact, it sounds like what Ram Dass had to say on the matter: "I can do nothing for you but work on myself... you can do nothing for me but work on yourself."
So what about conversation? Dialogue? Are we stuck, unable to actually hear each other?
Okay, howzabout another quote?
Richard Bach (the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull) says, “Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it.”
I wonder if we could look at listening to others the same way he talks about learning: it's is a kind of *finding out* of what's already there.
So, perhaps hearing a reflection of yourself in whatever some else is saying is neither to be judged as good nor bad... perhaps it's not something you try to get away from...
Perhaps conversations are about receiving what's already there, as openly as possible, so we can consciously integrate it into our doing.
(That's the "demonstrating that you know it" part from that Richard Bach quote.)
And so, the more integrated we become within ourselves, the more we can begin to open wider, to what more the other really has to share with us. Maybe this is how expansion can occur through dialogue?
And by knowing that our words, no matter what you're intending to say, are quite likely also reminding others of what they know, and providing them with the opportunity to integrate their knowledge into their own doing as well.
These are the kinds of thoughts that went into my song "Shut a Mouth" and I hope that you look forward to next time when we're going to talk about the thought experiment behind track 3, "Future Moving."
So, I'll see you then!
3: FUTURE MOVING
Video release date: July 30, 2020
Hi, welcome to week 3! This week we're looking at "Future Moving." And the pair of lenses I was giving a whirl on this song was this:
WHAT IF I HAVE A ‘HIGHEST OBJECTIVE’ –A REALITY IN WHICH I'M SUCCEEDING AT BEING MY MOST-ME SELF– AND NO MATTER WHAT MISSTEPS I TAKE, MY ‘HIGHER SELF’ CONSTANTLY COURSE-CORRECTS ME TOWARD THAT OBJECTIVE.
Okay. Let's pretend that there's a "future you" who has gotten as absolutely much out of life as possible, made the most of every possible moment, and got to where they are by being the most delightfully YOU version of you that there could ever be.
Let's say that that future you is living something we could call your "Highest Objective."
Okay, you might be thinking, "Welp. I've already missed THAT boat. Many times over! Just yesterday I was grouchy with my [kids, partner, roommate, cat, etc] –or– I've been working this job I hate for way more months than I ever thought I would –or– I'm playing things safe when I want to let my freak flag fly..."
But what if that "Highest Objective"-livin' Future You –someone we could maybe call your "Higher Self," for short– was STILL able to make the absolutely most out of this life by constantly course-correcting you of now.
After any move you make that doesn't feel all that aligned with the truest You-you, what if your Higher Self was pulling you back onto the path of the Highest Objective?
What if the only thing slowing you down was: kicking yourself every time you notice yourself getting off track again?
What if that was only causing you to detour even further, making it more of a stretch for your Higher Self to pull you back on the road to your Highest Objective?
Like a burden or a weight you're carrying around... it does no good if the moment you've set down the stone you were just needlessly lugging around, you pick up another one called "regretting having carried that previous stone." Right?
"Just let the Higher Self get to course-correcting as soon as possible" is the idea here.
You might be asking "How?" One idea is to try saying to yourself, "I intend to let myself return to being pointed toward my Highest Objective."
Okay, so... imagine you are walking a straight line that runs between the you right now and the Future You who is living your Highest Objective. (Your "Higher Self," right? That's that Future You.)
What if this "Highest Objective" is pulling you like a magnet toward itself, and that straight line is your path for the simple reason that the shortest distance between "you now/here" and "you then/there" is said straight line, and magnets like that kind of directness of route?
Now think of all the effort it would take to divert yourself off that straight line.
Pulling yourself away from life lived as the most delightfully, youest-You...
Imagine if you suddenly were to let go of whatever you are clinging to that is pulling you away from that straight line: With the magnet force, you would find yourself FLINGING forward, would you not?
Even if you didn't let go of everything leading you astray at once...
Even if it was just one small thing you could tell was definitely not aligned with the straight path I've mentioned... and you could release it, you could expect to feel a re-balancing of the magnet's pull.
And that might just make it easier to release more and more, and get pointed toward that Highest Objective.
The best part is, because the Higher Self is impartial, and merely course-corrects like a natural force (like magnetism), it doesn't care about any of the things you might consider "failures." The Higher Self knows only one objective: The Highest Objective.
That's where the line in this song came from that says:
The Higher Self can only see the successes"
So, in writing the song "Future Moving," I developed a lens that helped me realign with things that matter to me. That make me feel like my Most-Me me.
For just one example of where this has been useful for me, it's helped me in forming boundaries by saying "yes" to things that feel aligned with who I am, and "no" to things that don't. It's all about alignment.
Those are just are couple of present-day actions that align you with your Highest Objective doing it's "magnetic-pull thing" toward a Future You that is most thrivingly, fully YOU.
So! Thank you for listening to this episode of the exploration of these thought experiments and I will see you in the next edition! See ya then.
4: LIKE OXYGEN
Video release date: July 30, 2020
Hello, G.T. Thomas here. Thank you for joining me once again to hear about the thought experiments that went into the songs on my album “I Am a Highlighter Pen.” And today we’re gonna talk about “Like Oxygen,” which is track 4.
Here is the thought experiment, I was giving a whirl on this track:
IF "BEING HERE" IS 0 OR 1, ALL OR NOTHING... AND I’M HERE... THEN: I’M ALL.
WHAT IF THAT MEANS I’M ENOUGH?
It’s easy to fall into the temptation of comparing ourselves to others. It's easy to question whether we are doing enough, making enough (whether that’s money/ progress/ creations)… um, posting enough stuff on our social media, making enough people smile, or think...
Ultimately, much to the detriment of our peace of mind, “enough-ness” is an extremely common –and serious– concern for so many of us.
When I wrote "Like Oxygen," I had been really struck by a very cut-and-dry thought – almost deceptively simple:
Either you’re here, or you’re not. If those are the only two possibilities, then the question of "enough-ness" becomes totally moot.
“If it's all or nothing...
And if you're here at all...
You know you're all.
And all's enough.”
Now, okay *spoiler alert* I'm about to share something about this song's "big reveal."
It's the result of a transformation that takes place through the entire lyrical journey up to this point.
At the start, the sense is that "I need a spotlight. I a highlighter pen. I need an amplifier" – needing all these tools to make my SELF or my message or my work or my sense of purpose LARGER, MORE, BIGGER...
That feeling of need arises out of the sense of not being enough.
But… by the end of the song, after looking at bite-sized, everyday ways we prove our enough-ness to ourselves, we reach a point of realizing that by simply BEING HERE at all, we are enough.
And… part of the realizing process is just noticing. And when you are engaged in the act of noticing, you are acting like a spotlight. You are acting like a highlighter pen.
And… that is why the lyric of the song actually transforms at the end into:
"I am a spotlight.
I am a highlighter pen.
I am an amplifier signal goes in, and be sure I'm gonna
Make something unignorable out of the tiniest thing."
Now, you may recognize this is where the name for the album comes from, "I Am a Highlighter Pen." Just wanted to point that out. ‘Cause some people ask me.
The thought experiment at the core of this song proved to really seem sum up the entire album. (That is also why I released the album in a format that incorporates an official G.T. Thomas highlighter pen. )
So, anyway, I hope that this song inspires you to breathe deeply –and– maybe even, like, openly, curiously ask "what if" inside the very fact that you can inhale oxygen so deeply into your being in the first place... what IF that is all the proof you've been seeking that You Are Enough?
Thanks for being here for this episode, and I will catch you next time where we’re gonna talk about track 5, “Count Me In.” See ya!