I don’t tell this story often, because no one believes it.
It was 1979, my senior year at Hartwick College, in Oneonta NY. One early morning I woke up from a dead sleep and had what could best be described as a vision of my future. In this vision, I would move to San Francisco, and create something that would make me famous. And I saw myself standing on stage in front of a huge audience. At the time, I knew no one who lived in San Francisco. I didn’t even know anyone who had visited. It seemed entirely random. I was majoring in economics so I could become a banker in New York City, not a stage performer in San Francisco.
After graduating, I traded my beat-up Datsun 510 to my sister for a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, where my brother had moved a few years earlier. I slept in a sleeping bag on his couch and applied for banking jobs. I had two offers, and was planning to pick one of them.
Meanwhile, sometime after my so-called vision, an ex girlfriend dropped out of college and moved to San Francisco. While I was in LA, she invited me up for the weekend. I went. She convinced me that San Francisco was a much nicer place than LA, and I should move there. I said I’d stay if I could find a job on Monday. I was almost out of money. Otherwise, I would return to LA and accept one of the offers there.
On Monday morning, I walked into a branch of Crocker National Bank in San Francisco, asked for a job, and got one, as a teller. I’ve lived in the San Francisco area ever since. This is where I created Dilbert. And I have stood on stage in front of huge audiences a few hundred times, just as I saw it in the vision.
I’ve had several of these so-called visions. Most of them happened just the way I saw them. A few haven’t happened yet, but could. So how do I explain it?
The obvious explanation is that I remember the alleged visions that come true and forget the ones that don’t. I can’t rule that out. Another possibility is that I have some weird psychic ability. That seems unlikely. If people had that sort of ability it would have been measured in a lab by now.
Perhaps my subconscious makes all my decisions, and creates all of my so-called visions. Then it does its best to make me do the things that would make the visions come true. That seems like a perfectly good theory.
But my favorite theory is that I’m nothing but a hologram in a computer program built by my ancient self, before the planet was destroyed by some disaster. The reason I can glimpse my future is that I have all of the qualities of the real me who wrote my program. In other words, I can accurately imagine my future because it is playing out much like I would have authored it myself.
The great thing about this theory is that I can find all sorts of clues to validate it. For example, when I come up with a “new” idea only to discover that others have had the same thought, this fits my theory too. The reason other people have my same thoughts is because they were programmed by my ancient self, who only had a finite number of thoughts to build into the program. This reality is bound to have repeats.
Then there is all the science I don’t understand. One explanation is that it’s over my head. But I prefer the explanation that it is nothing but gibberish programmed into the system. The reason I don’t understand string theory, for example, is that there are no real scientists, only holograms programmed by my ancient self. And since my ancient self didn’t know string theory, he concealed that fact by making it seem as though it is just too complicated to understand.
That’s how I would have programmed it.