Thoughts That Hurt To Think #011 – Everybody Lives in a Bubble! Bubble!

Last week, I mentioned my dad and Katy Perry in the same breath. For those of you that missed it, let’s recap.

When I was a kid, my dad made it clear in many ways that being a broad-minded person has a lot of benefits. Mostly, it was by setting an example that I didn’t appreciate until I got older; but sometimes he made a real effort to hammer a lesson he had learned into my thick skull, and there’s really only one way to do that. You’ve got to remind a person, over and over, that certain things are not to be taken for granted…even if the person you are reminding is yourself.

My dad used to say it, whenever the occasion called for it; and over the years I’ve made it a practice to keep pointing it out to myself.

“You live in a bubble!”

That’s what he used to say to me, back then; and that’s what I say to myself, now. As a kid I was more apt to talk back than I was to learn, which is really not that much different than the way I am now. The more I heard the phrase, the more I longed for a good comeback. Finally, one day, I found one.

“If I live in a bubble,” I said to my dad, back in the day, “then you live in a bubble too!”

He didn’t hesitate, and I hadn’t considered that he might have the perfect comeback to my perfect comeback already thought out.

“Of course I live in a bubble!” he said. “Everybody does!”

It has been helpful, to remember that lesson. I had it in the queue, for later on in the year, under the title ‘Everybody lives in a bubble!’ since it certainly qualifies as a thought that hurts to think. Then, my favorite pop star came out with a song very much about this very thing, and I changed the title a little and moved it up in line. So, thanks to my dad and Katy Perry and my editor’s sage advice, we’ll talk about this issue now.

One of the best ways to broaden our horizons is by reading books, and the written word can do a fine job of informing us about other parts of the world and other ways to think. Once you read enough, though, you’re going to realize there’s really nothing like traveling to other places to open your eyes to how others live. Walking new streets and seeing new faces helps keep us somewhat in touch with how it feels to be around the wide array of folks that we share a planet with, even if we don’t always speak a common tongue. It doesn’t always make us feel worldly to practice this, though; often it can make us even more keenly aware of the fact that we live in a bubble.

So, what does it mean to live in a bubble? Is there any way around it?

Well, no. That’s why I felt so confident calling this post ‘Everybody lives in a bubble! Bubble!’ instead of ‘Most of us live in a bubble! Bubble!’; because this is just the way our brains are mapped out. It’s not a bad thing, really. I mean, the only way you can say you don’t live in a bubble is if you see everything and know everything; even then, you might be the one most keenly aware of the fact that you live in a bubble. A bubble of omniscience!

I can’t speak to that, but I can speak to the existence of my own bubble. My family moved a few times when I was a kid, and I remember how different Arizona was from Oregon was from Montana. Visiting extended family in California had me wanting to live there, and now I do. It probably won’t be forever, though; as nice of a bubble as it might be, my partner and I both enjoy changing things up and expanding our shared comfort zone. With so many places in the world to see, and how much we both love to travel, it’s not impossible to see us calling somewhere else home.

That’s the other thing…traveling is great, and it certainly expands the size of your bubble; but you’ve got to live somewhere to get a real feel for the place. I spent quite awhile in Canada, some time back…even speaking the same language, I was lost at first trying to fit in. And they’re really nice people; I can’t imagine what it’s like coming to America, with grumpy guys like me to welcome you with a bunch of slang that barely even makes sense to me.

You can’t know what it’s like to only live in one place, and really plant your roots there, if you travel a lot. The person constantly on the move lives in their own bubble, even if that bubble is traveling the world with them. The person dedicated to their favorite chunk of land is just as correct in doing so as the person trotting around the globe, and they have as many ways to expand their bubble.

I hate to state the obvious, since I’m such a big fan of hers, but even Katy Perry lives in a bubble. Her awareness of it doesn’t pop it, but it might help the rest of us be a little more aware of ours.

The truth of the matter is that you live in a bubble, your family lives in a bubble, science lives in a bubble, and politics definitely lives in a bubble. Much like your home, you might want to customize your bubble to fit your needs and make sure it doesn’t cause you too much discomfort; other than that, the best thing you can really do is get used to living in a bubble.


Our bubbles are part of the reason we are able to carry on as mostly sane individuals from one moment to the next. They aren’t the only thing keeping us from going off the rails, though. Our minds demonstrate fabulous powers at so many levels, it can be a little dizzying to try to fit it all together into a big picture that doesn’t look like abstract art. Viewed from a certain perspective, we all seem to be running on programs that were installed long ago. How were they installed? Mostly by listening, and drawing conclusions from what we heard that later became beliefs. Who installed these beliefs? Well, naturally…we did.

One of the greatest powers of the mind is the ability to hypnotize itself into believing and being all kinds of things. Psychology addresses this, and even employs it to bring about great changes in some people. Next week we’ll be addressing it as well, in a post called…

‘We’re all masters of hypnosis!’

I hope you come back next week, and check it out!

Thanks for reading!

All the best,

J.K. Norry
The Secret Society of Deeper Meaning
Twitter: @JayNorry

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