Powers of Two

Looking back at my last post, it’s been almost 9 months since I have written anything here. Reading back, I feel like I don’t even know who that person is anymore. It feels like a completely different lifetime. I guess reading back through posts from 2005, I can see what was important in my life at different times. Apparently, I really liked something called “CrossFit” and was an avid health and fitness aficionado.

I re-read my last post and while it is still true, I now see what I once thought with new eyes. What kind of eyes are those? A busy parent, basically.

Anyway, I was laying in bed this morning thinking about lots of things, namely circumstances. That lead into some broader ponderings of the meaning of it all and why we are all here. See, my wife is a Baptist and for her and people like her, that question seems to have a pretty simple answer. You can figure that one out on your own or answer it according to your own personal belief.

For me, it’s not so simple. In the sermon that I heard this past Sunday, I heard that “God made each and every one of us”. Not only that, but made each and every one of us with a purpose. Crafted… with a purpose. Really? I don’t know about that. Many religions and belief systems talk about how we all have a “Godly” potential; that we all have a “light” within us. Can you map that meaning of “light” to “purpose”? Maybe. If you live your life in a way that you reach your full potential and you are a light to others, have you fulfilled your purpose? Maybe, I don’t know.

What I DO know for sure, is that my parents made me and that got me to thinking. It wasn’t just my parents that made me. If their parents hadn’t made them and the circumstances wouldn’t have been right for them to meet, I would not exist. If I would have never met V, then B wouldn’t exist. At that point, the geeky engineer in my head took over and here’s where it went:


For every generation you go up, it took <MATH>(2^(generation number) + (all of the right circumstances to align))</MATH> to make sure that you walk the Earth. It gets more and more amazing to me with each iteration up the table. At my great grandparent’s level, it took 8 people to get together, encounter all of the right circumstances to create more people, then have all of those people meet and make more people to get to the point where it trickles down to me being here. In that sense, 8 people unintentionally made me. I am say without a shred of doubt, that my great great great grandmother/grandfather had NO clue that they were going to be responsible for someone like me.

If you go back further, say, 7 generations, 128 people had to pair up and produce offspring that would pair up 64 times, etc., etc..

That’s pretty crazy.

If you go back 14 generations, 16384 people donated genetic material which lead to my being here to write this blog post.

What really baked my noodle was looking at myself as the starting point or at someone else’s level in the tree. I wonder what person I will have donated 0.00006 (1/16384) of their genetic makeup.

At that point, I circled back around to the first part of these ponderings. Is it all just a big machine that keeps churning and churning? Obviously, yes. The real question is, is there someone operating the machine? If someone’s operating the machine, how involved are they? Are they just kind of making sure that it’s working or are they intimately involved?

That’s what I am still trying to figure out.

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