The Room Theory

The Room Theory

Ever since I started watching The Big Bang Theory, I’ve always wanted to come up with some theorem or hypothesis or something scientifically relevant. I mean, I think about things enough, why shouldn’t one of those things one day be something groundbreaking? I think I have arrived at such a destination but in order for it to sound truly groundbreaking, I need to set your expectations right. Think about the expectations you would have for a cat to fetch a ball and then bring the ball back to you. Got it? Now drop that down like 5 notches (I’ll leave how far a notch is to your discretion) and that’s where I need you to be. Ready? Great.

The idea for this theory admittedly spawned from my recent Project #365Aware and it grew inside me as more and more examples from my own personal life proved this theory over and over. I realized that, too often, not only do we as humans either assume that we know other people and their situation but we are also considerably apathetic to those around us because of how we imagine them. This is all based on exteriors such as dress, actions, or words. In reality those preconceptions are misconceptions. They are ideas made up in our mind based only off the things we know from the past. No two people are the same nor do they do what they do for the same reasons. I wanted to challenge this idea and prove that we actually know very little, if anything at all, of other people’s circumstances and why they do what they do and say what they say. I refuse to accept that I know someone merely by being an outside observer. It has been only through getting out of my ‘room’ and talking to strangers, that I have come to learn that most of what I assumed about those around me, is wrong darn near 100% of the time. I hope after reading this you take a minute and think about the ‘rooms’ you have currently locked yourself into. What do you have to lose by getting out of them? My guess is, not a whole lot. But in the end its only up to you. No one can get you out of your ‘room’. You have to do that yourself.

So, without further ado, I give you: The Room Theory

The Theory

Let’s imagine for a minute that you are in a room. This room can be pretty much whatever you want it to be. It can be big or small. Lots of decorations and amenities or empty and boring. Maybe there is only one small chair in the middle or maybe the floor is covered in bean bags. Maybe there are walls covered completely with ivy and a hammock stretched out somewhere. Whatever it is you imagine this room to be like, the only thing every room must have have is a door. And that door needs to be closed. Got it?

Ok, now I want you to imagine that you were born in this room. All you know are the things and people inside that room. Sometimes people come in and stay. Sometimes they come in only briefly and leave. But no matter how many people come through that door, you have never left. Not because you can’t but because you just don’t want to. You know pretty much everything about that room but you next to nothing about what’s outside of it. There are things out there you could never have dreamed of.

You may disagree with me to an extent that you know very little about what is outside that room. Sure, people may come in and bring books or tell stories, but what we come up with in our mind is almost never how things really are. Before I served an LDS mission to Korea, I went through 11 long weeks confined to a training center. I learned things about the language, the culture, the city, and the people. I saw pictures and videos and heard stories from people who had been there. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what Korea was like, but only because I thought I was capable of knowing anything and had never actually been there to confirm the world I had created in my mind. Once I arrived in Korea, I realized how wrong my ideas were. Some of the things I learned rang true but the majority of things I never would have come to understand if I had stayed in that training center forever.

What’s interesting about this is that I assumed I knew a lot about Korea but only because I had never been there. I had no real experiences to tell my imagination the world it was creating inside my head was wrong. There was so much more to learn through experience that I could never have learned through reading or stories. Once I got there, I realized how little I had really known and wondered how I could have been so stupid as to assume I knew it all.

This is the very essence The Room Theory.

Opening The Door

In our lives, we lock ourselves into all kinds of rooms. Being in these rooms we don’t ever experience what is outside of them. We make up ideas in our minds and convince ourselves we know everything there is to know about what is outside of that room because we know the inside so well. We can go on forever like that, blinded by our own imaginations, or we can step outside of that room and experience what it is really like. Only then do we realize how little we knew. There is more to knowing something than just imagining the idea. It’s like when someone tells a joke that they think is hilarious and you stare at them like they’re an idiot and they say, “you had to have been there”. Even with that little phrase, you can’t figure out why that would have made a difference, it’s not funny. There are feelings and experiences we can only know from stepping outside of our ‘rooms’.

To further illustrate this idea I go to my homie Clive Staples. I was reading in C.S. Lewis’ book, Mere Christianity, the other day and I happened upon an interesting point he makes that goes directly in line with this notion. If you don’t see the parallels right off, I’ve bolded key words to help. I’m not saying I believe in ‘Evolution’ how the world defines it, but I’m not ruling out the possibility that God worked through some kind of natural ‘Evolutional process’  to create humans. I don’t want to assume I know how God did everything, I just know that it was through his power we are here. Having laid that out, this is what Clive says:

“Everyone has been told that man has evolved from lower types of life. Consequently, people often wonder ‘What is the Next Step? When is the thing beyond man going to appear?’ Imaginative writers try sometimes to picture this Next Step – the ‘Superman’ as they call him …and end up sticking extra legs or arms on him. Most of the popular guesses at the Next Step are making just the same sort of mistake. People see (or at any rate they think they see) men developing great brains and getting greater mastery over nature. Because the stream is flowing in that direction they imagine it will go on flowing in that direction. But I cannot help thinking that the Next Step will be really new; it will go off in a direction you could never have dreamed of. It would hardly be worth calling a New Step unless it did. I should expect the next stage in Evolution not to be a stage in Evolution at all: I should not be surprised if, when the thing happened, very few people noticed that it was happening. Now if you care to talk in these terms, the Christian view is precisely that the Next Step has already appeared. And it is really new. It is a change from being creatures of God to being sons of God. We arrived at our idea of Evolution from studying the past. If there are real novelties in store then of course our idea, based on the past, will not really cover them.”

Clive’s reasoning behind this is that Christ is the ‘Only Begotten’ and so it is our purpose in living on this earth to come unto Christ and be spiritually born of him, thus becoming literal sons and daughters of God. If we don’t do that, we stay creatures created by God instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to become literal sons and daughters of God. The only way this happens is from the inside out. We can be physically baptized and ‘born again’ but if our hearts are not transformed, or ‘Evolved’ if you will, we will not reach that Next Step which is literally becoming ‘like Christ’. Now how in the world would you come to that conclusion from studying only what you know inside your room of human existence? You have to step out of that ‘room’ and look to God for that answer. We have to take actions that give us those experiences to learn from so we can know of its truth. No wonder all the people who discount the existence of a Supreme Being will not even notice that transformation taking place. How could they? They won’t open that door to see what else is out there.

Do not assume you know the future because you know the past. Do not assume you know what’s outside because you know the room. Do not assume you know a person because you know a common misconception.

I have a Part 2 to this theory that digs in deeper about what we even really know about the rooms we are inside, but I’ll save that for another time. Baby steps. Do not take as fact the false realities you create in your mind at the expense of knowing the truth of the world you live in. You deserve better than that and so do the people around you.

Get out there and meet the people around you. What the world needs is love.

Let me know if you have any thoughts about my theory. I haven’t sent it to be peer reviewed and published yet but I’m close. If you see anything askew let me know now so I can fix it before I do.

  • Erica Perry

    Great theory, Braden! I’ve thought a lot about this myself! It’s a great feeling to get out of your room and discover the world. It’s scary, but you grow a lot from it.