People Confess Ideas That Still Break Their Brains When They Think About Them

Getty / Lona Photography

"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it." ~ Henry Ford

Reddit user wildflower8872 asked:

"What theory, phenomenon or idea blows your mind when you think about it?"

In the Beginning, Only Earlier

What the f$%& was there before the big bang?

The big foreplay.  Reddit

Fido Want a Cracker?

The fact that some birds can articulately mimic human speech.

If your dog said a complete sentence to you that you could fully understand, you'd lose your sh*t.  film_composer


Computer Age

Everything about a CPU.

We took some sand and through sheer determination taught it to do math. 
Then we fed unfathomablly long strings of 1s and 0s into it and it made these words you are reading. 
What. The. F%#$.

It's a rock that we tricked into thinking.  the_hesitation KaiserAbides shauber

Sometime, Somewhere

The fact that the place you're going to die already exists somewhere, just waiting for you to come by at the right time.

You live your entire life, not knowing where it is, but regardless, it's out there somewhere.

Also there is a month and a date in which you will die.

Every year you pass by that date and you have absolutely no idea what it is.  Human_mind Benana

Turning a Blind Eye

Charles Bonnet (syndrome).

It's a condition that only occurs in people with severe sight loss and causes very vivid, unusual hallucinations. One of my patients kept seeing gnomes in her house, and felt totally chill about it.

One of my patients lost his vision as an adult but hadn't really internalized the concept. 
One time when his wife was driving, he screamed 'Look out!' and grabbed the steering wheel. 
He saw a valley filled with a river of blood and skulls, and thought his wife was driving straight into it.  SmallFemale RainbowDarter

Sugar Pill

Still struggle to get my head around the placebo effect.  Our bodies are truly amazing.

Placebos work on dogs.  That always f*&%s with me.  ssnewp_2202 BlinkedHaint


Collective Effort

How much collective work is put into every single thing around us. Pick up a book. The author was not the only one responsible for it being in your hand, so was the owner of the publishing company, the factory worker making sure it was printing correctly and many others. Look at a building. From the mind of the architect that designed it, the contractor in charge of building it, the construction worker who put his sweat and hard work into those walls. An apple you might have for a snack goes through many people like the farmer, to the distributer, to the grocer that stocked it on the shelf. Pretty much everything around us had so many people working on it, many that you don't even consider. That's pretty amazing to me -eDgAR-

Mind Over Gray Matter

The fact that our brain cannot feel anything at all, but it makes our body feel everything.

This is something that I think about fairly often. Similarly: did you know that when you get a headache from being dehydrated the reason you feel pain is because the meninges (layers of tissue that helps to protect your brain and hold it in place) actually shrink and are pulling on the inside of your skull which causes the headache?

So gross, but so cool.  suckswithducks


By the Numbers

The fact that there is a finite number of times anything in your life will occur.

Heartbeats, kisses, times you say "um".

For some reason it messes with me.

Even though it's mundane, there is an exact amount of coffee, for example, I will drink in my lifetime and I have no clue what it is.  yikesireddit

The Sum of Our Parts

The fact that such highly organized creatures like humans (all animals really) are just very specific interactions between different atoms.  RetroRhino

Technologically Challenged Shopping

That humans have existed for thousands and thousands of years but technology like automobiles and airplanes which many of us take for granted have only existed for less than 200 years.

I can't even imagine how people in the stone age lived, the nearest Costco would be like 3 days travel away!

Yeah, I heard Costco wasn't doing too well back then.  BeautifulKyle bobtheblob6 thrashette

Say What?

Can we just talk about language in its entirety? ESPECIALLY written language.

Right now, you are looking at nothing but strange connections and spacing of random lines. Within these lines however, you are able to understand, process, and interpret a complex idea about how strange it is that these symbols can be used to describe any idea at all! Let alone something as complicated as the sciences, or philosophy. But not only that! But by changing just one symbol, I can change the idea. To see what I mean, the difference between "You love me." and "You love me?" is astounding! The different scenario running through your mind when you read each of those symbols is completely different, entire stories and thoughts, dictated by a squiggle.  RanaktheGreen


Woof & Tweet

Speakers. How the f#!& can they accurately create sounds just by moving a teeny bit. Its just a coil around a magnet.

I think about this quite often. One tiny little ear bud is able to accurately mimic the sound of a complete full orchestra and the applause of hundreds of people. It's truly incredible.  Pswado scissors1121

Always and Never

That either the universe always existed or there was a point where nothing existed and the universe just started.  PaulTheGuy


That gravity slows down time.

And that while we understand what gravity does, and we can determine various things that cause it, that we don't actually know why.  Plankybiscuits POTUSKNOPE

This Is Not the Vacuum You're Looking For

False Vacuum Theory.

Possibly one day a single particle will drop to a true lowest energy state and set off a reaction that rewrites chemistry as we know it.

Or that our current universe might be the product of a false vacuum occurring in an earlier universe.  Illier1 RobertAPetersen

8 Billion Stories on the Naked Planet

It's not exactly a phenomenon- But I think it is. More so it's just the idea that gives me chills every day, smacks me in the face every waking moment. The fact that there are over 7 billion people out there. Living lives. Every person has a world of their own. A life full of friends, foes, goodness and woes. There are hundreds of millions of places housing people. Housing memories. And every person has a tale to tell, a place to go, something to strive for. There's a backstory to every single existing one of us.

It's absolutely amazing. Absolutely mind blowing.  catharticarrest

Total Meltdown

The Carrington Event. 
In the 19th century, the world experienced a solar event of unprecedented scale. Called the "Carrington Event", after the astronomer who first identified and studied it, it took the form of a massive solar flare, called a coronal mass ejection (CME). The CME bombarded the earth with basically a galactic electromagnetic pulse, completely flattening the magnetosphere and immobilizing earth's inherent electromagnetic shielding until it was over. Fortunately, at the time, earth's electronic infrastructure was still in its infancy, although the event did cause telegraph wires to melt, and telegraph machines themselves to catch fire. 
Then, in 2012, a CME of equal or greater magnitude than the Carrington event was recorded. It passed directly through the earth's orbit... while we were on the other side of the sun. Imagine if we had been in the splash zone of something like that, with how vital our electronic infrastructure has become in our daily lives. Reddit and the Internet would immediately cease to exist as servers become fried and destroyed. Anyone connected to a life support machine would be dead unless the life support techniques can be done manually or with analog technology. Satellites for communication, weather prediction, scientific study, GPS systems, and anything else man-made in orbit around earth would be damaged to the point of useless space junk. It would be an apocalyptic-level event... and it almost happened. The sun completes a rotation on its axis about once every three weeks, so if that CME happened either two weeks before or two weeks after it took place... well, the world would be a suddenly and dramatically different place.  jdfestus



Just to quote Randall Munroe a bit on supernovas. 
"However big you think supernovae are, they're bigger than that. Here's a question to give you a sense of scale: 
Which of the following would be brighter, in terms of the amount of energy delivered to your retina: 
A supernova, seen from as far away as the Sun is from the Earth, or 
The detonation of a hydrogen bomb pressed against your eyeball? 
Applying the physicist rule of thumb suggests that the supernova is brighter. And indeed, it is ... by nine orders of magnitude."  Dorgamund


LP Madness

Vinyl records are witchcraft and nothing can dissuade me.

I've tried really hard to find an explanation of how vinyl records work that makes sense to me. All I ever seem to get is "the sound wave is cut into the vinyl and the stylus plays it back".

It's like, yeah, okay, cool, I'm still not understanding how I'm hearing a guitar, vocals, bass, drums, and even more clearly at the same time from that.  FingerBangYourFears Haven92

A Tale to Tell

Everything ever has a story behind it.

That random plastic bottle on the street?

First, the company that made the bottle was founded, which itself has a story. Then, somewhere along the lines they made that one specific plastic bottle, transported it to the store, (which again, has a story behind it itself.) Then one day, a person that has their own entire life story picked up that bottle, payed for it with cash (the money itself has went through thousands of people, which all have a story of spending it,) drank it, might've thrown it on the ground.

One day, by pure chance, you randomly notice the bottle.  daney098

Heavenly Bodies

The insane coincidence that the sun and the moon appear nearly identical in size from our position.  VorpalPen

Life, the Universe, and Everything

What is outside the universe, what does the universe exist in?

How does the universe even exist? How can something exist? If it exists in something, what does that thing exist in?

What happened before the big bang, what was the nature of the universe before that? Why did the big bang happen?

Sh*t like this makes me a bit anxious sometimes, see the absurdity of reality. All the other things can be explained by the laws of physics, but how do you explain the laws of physics and reality itself. I really cannot handle not being able to understand. Better not to dwell too much on it.  ArrogantlyChemical


52 Pickup

If you shuffle a deck of cards you probably made history.

A deck of 52 cards can be ordered in 52! = 52 x 51 x 50 x...x 2 x 1 ways. This is because there are 52 ways to choose the first card, 51 ways to choose the 2nd, 50 ways to choose the 3rd, etc. But 52! is a very large number: larger than 8 x 10 to the 67th power

How big is this number? Well, someone shuffling a deck of cards once per second since the beginning of the universe (believed to be about 14 billion years ago) would not have shuffled the deck more than 10 to the 18th power times.

Thus it is quite likely that any given configuration achieved through random shuffling has never appeared before in the history of shuffling!  bethelmayflower


Chain of Love

That I am the offspring of an unbroken chain of reproduction that spans back to the first living being on this planet.  RasperGuy

Infinity, Plus 1, Minus 2

There is an infinite amount of numbers between 0 and 1.

Adding on to this, there are an infinite number of numbers, but it is not an all-inclusive list. For example, there are an infinite amount of numbers between 0 and 1, but 2 isn't one of them.

Adding on to this. There are infinitely many numbers between negative infinity and positive infinity. There are just as many (infinite) numbers between 0 and 1 (or between any two distinct real numbers). There are infinitely many integers. But there are "less" of them than there are real numbers.  shibeoss jdfestus mc_safety

Gravity Wells

Black holes.  shibeoss


The amount of empty space inside an atom is similar to the amount of empty space inside the solar system.

So the vast majority of your body, or your car, or your desk is just empty space.

Estimates are about 99.9999999999996% empty.  Powellwx

The Library of Babel

"A vast library containing all possible 410-page books of a certain format and character set."

Basically, it contains all the possible permutations of a given alphabet over a certain number of pages. While most books are going to be nonsense, there is also your complete biography and every possible version of your life.

There is also Hamlet, same as the original, just with a mistake on page 23. And another version of Hamlet with a mistake on page 22. And so on. There is also a cure for cancer, a unified theory of physics,...well there is an answer to every question one might ask.

The only problem is that if you were to find such library, you would not know where to start ; there are approximately 25 to the 1,312,000 power books in it.  _anjou

Ghost In The Shell

The Neverending spiral of consciousness.

I am aware. What a humbling gift. I didn't do anything to deserve it and BAM!

I know sh*t!

And I know that I know sh*t.  hamsterenema

A couple holds hands on a date, candlelit table and two glasses of red wine
Photo by René Ranisch on Unsplash

When in the beginning stages of dating, it's important to know as much as humanly possible.

The element of surprise is no longer a fun aspect of romance.

Ask the small questions. Ask the hard questions.

Interrogate. Grill. Investigate.

Of course, you should do it with a subtle hand instead of an interrogation lamp.

The truth is all we have.

Ask everything.

Keep reading...Show less
Woman letting go of boyfriend's hand
Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

As much as we always hop for our dating efforts to be worth it and for every relationship to work out, we all know that some relationships are not destined to work out.

But sometimes relationships end for totally valid reasons, and sometimes the reasons are painful, if not devastating.

Keep reading...Show less
Elderly woman's hands
Danie Franco/Unsplash

We all had our aspirations about becoming a certain type of person or accomplishing different goals when looking towards the future.

But the goals we have for ourselves can drastically change once we're adults, and that's partly due to the influence of different life experiences.

Sometimes, despite our best intentions and respective strategies to achieve something by a certain age, we can never imagine experiencing different outcomes.

Keep reading...Show less
Woman walking through field looking sad.
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Not much good can come from dwelling on the past.

Even so, no matter how hard we try to avoid doing so, we can't help but look back on things we've done in our lives which we regret.

In some cases, it's nothing which had any sort of lasting effect, like wishing we thought more carefully about where we had a birthday or spending more than we could afford on an outfit that didn't end up paying off.

In sadder cases though, we often wonder what our lives might have been like if he had made a different, and smarter decision.

If we didn't say certain things to certain people, not spoken up when someone needed us to or rushed too hastily into a life we weren't ready for.

Keep reading...Show less