I was always told while growing up that some words shouldn’t exist in my dictionary, such as “bad words” and ‘impossible’ more than the former I was told to avoid the latter. So I learnt different ways to discuss ‘impossible’ without saying it. Whenever I said something was ‘impossible’ my parents or teachers would reprimand me especially when I used ‘impossible’ to describe Mathematics.
Luckily I grew up as a kid who was busy reading the dictionary when I was bored and between books. So, I learnt different synonyms of ‘impossible’ like ‘unattainable’, ‘unachievable’, ‘implausible’, etc. For some reason, none of the synonyms I found made the same amount of impact like ‘impossible’ did. These synonyms seemed to be too specific, whereas ‘impossible’ was quite a malleable word.
While I went into a crisis, one has to live until they find the right synonym so I used a makeshift phrase, ‘the realm of possibility‘, it suggested boundaries but it didn’t give them away. It served the purpose and it stuck. I still like how easily it rolls off the tongue, like quoting a famous person or a book.
Growing up surrounded by engineers, I saw an abundance of optimism as far as technology and science was concerned. Even today, my Dad sends me articles on computation or on Maths. On one level I like that I am included, on another it makes me laugh because it takes me at least three tries to understand the article. The fact that my Dad still refuses to accept that I am not into Maths after ten years is a discussion for another post someday.
When I began reading, ‘impossibility’ became impossible in itself, a feat I didn’t know could be achieved. Everything impossible turned possible in books. Dystopian novels and Science fiction planted a question in my head, why couldn’t scientists just do what sicentists in books do? Authors made complex scientific phenomena so easy to believe.
Outside of reading I still had a life to live, and I realised that my small little battles seemed impossible to fight in their present, such as an exam, or telling my parents when I messed up, or standing up to bullies. I’ll be honest, I didn’t fight every battle that came my way. ‘Impossibility’ is intimidating. Like all topographies the Realm of Possibility sometimes reveals a part of its fence or an end to its unending horizon. The longer I lived, I realised that infinity is a concept but finity is a reality.
I took comfort in the battles I did choose to fight and won, or my small achievements like convincing my parents to let me give up Science for good, that was the first impossible feat I made possible all on my own, literally. After that, life seemed easier to live, and I was ok if some things were impossible for me, like avoiding sexism or facing my irrational fear of cows.
The Realm of Possibility is quite beautiful and appears to be a democracy. Like all realms it’s difficult to define and is shared by different individuals who don’t all get along. The Realm of Possibility has its own hierarchies, its red-tapism and bureaucracy. It doesn’t bother me because I have practice of living in this world, so I am prepared for such occurrences.
We tell kids, “You can grow up to be whatever you want,” we also tell them, “Nothing is impossible.” But just like the rest of us they will figure out some things are impossible and in our own lives we have to strike compromises with our dreams.
I find it humbling to face the impossibility in my life, because I’ve made peace with the Realm of Possibility, every day something impossible becomes possible. Some of these help us, some of them have the potential to ruin us. At some point I gave up trying to discover the limits of the Realm of Possibility. Like life in any country, you settle into it. You find a pattern and follow it, trying to get by. In this Realm of Possibility there are good days and bad days, just like the weather anywhere else.
I see the whole world as a Realm of Possibility, without the false borders, a world within our worlds mostly in our heads. I did figure out one thing though, on this uncertain map the ‘Realm of Possibility’ exists on the shores of an ocean, an ocean fondly called the ‘Future’, vast, deep and unpredictable. It’s a rather simple world you see made complex only when you add humans to the mix.
The rest of this map is yet to be drawn. Perhaps we’re looking at the next phase of reconnaisance, where minds will set off charting new territories, building a ‘New World’. That would be dystopia at its best. See? Doesn’t it seem easy?