Taco Bell Cups, Matryoshka Dolls, and The Multiplicity of Human Existence

Hey, this is a cup. It comes in four sizes, and you can fill it with the fountain drink of your choice.

You can put ice in it, too, if you want. You’ve probably experienced a cup before, so let’s talk about what you really want to know: our place in the ever expanding universe.

If you were to get all four of these cups, you’d find that they comfortably fit inside each other. Each, an identical but smaller version of itself, like a Taco Bell Matryoshka doll. Matryoshka dolls, for all of you running to Wiki right now, are those traditional wooden Russian dolls that have one doll inside another doll, inside another doll, etc. Not only are they beautiful examples of Eastern European craftsmanship, but they’re physical metaphors for life’s complex layers of awareness. See, like our fountain drink cups or Matryoshka dolls, human experience is predicated on macro and micro iterations of the cogs that build it. Each one of us is ultimately just a composite of a microsystem built around an even smaller microsystem, and so on. Scientists say that each cell is made of 100 trillion atoms, which if you’re still following the Matroyshka and/or Taco Bell fountain drink metaphor, means that those atoms are like represented by the small in-store select cup that we offer. On the other side of the spectrum, you have the observable universe, or the extra large fountain drink. If a small cup represents an atom, and an extra large cup represents the observable universe, then humans are probably somewhere around a medium cup. Scientists estimate that there are about 100 billion stars in the milky way, and about 10 trillion galaxies in the observable universe. To put this in human, medium-sized cup terms, that’s about 5-10 times more stars in the universe than grains of sand in every beach on earth combined. So we suppose that would make the large cup the milky way? We guess? Whatever, the point is that the observable universe is kind of just a bigger version of an atom, and our in-store select cups are basically just a metaphor for the natural system of all things. Still with us? Good, moving on.

Let’s circle back to the Matryoshkas for a second. We can all agree that in terms of the fountain drink cup / Matryoshka analogy, humans are maybe medium-sized at best right? So let’s take it one step further. When scientists talk about this wild expanse of the universe as we know it, they say “observable universe”, because this is all that we can observe. However, if humans are actually the medium Matroyshka, then that means we can only observe the next Matroyshka up. It may be as far as we can observe, but given our vantage point looking down at the entire Matroyshka, we realize that the medium Matroyshka’s view is extremely limited. Not only are there more levels to the Matroyshka, but there are WAY MORE MATROYSHKAS in this universe that the medium-cup/Matroyshka doesn’t even know exists, because all it knows is the extremely tiny confines outside of its “observable universe.” So what’s to say that our observable universe isn’t limited as well? And beyond the confines of our petty observation there isn’t a Giant casually eating a taco or two and contemplating what the universe looks like from the perspective of a medium cup or a mid to small sized Russian Doll?

So basically, these in-store select cups may seem like they’re just cups. But next time you’re filling that medium with a cool, refreshing Pepsi® product or a Mountain Dew® Baja Blast™, just think of the fact that people are only mediums in the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXL of the ever-expanding, way bigger than we even realize, universe. And that aliens most certainly exist.

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