Most people will be aware of Elon Musk. Business entrepreneur; corporate CEO; Forbes list billionaire; space exploration pioneer; design and technology innovator: Elon Musk wears many ’guises. He has founded SpaceX; co-founded Tesla; been the driving force behind PayPal. Wikipedia states that Musk’s goals include reducing global warming and establishing a human colony on Mars. It throws my own goals of remembering to put the bins out into a cruel perspective.
Elon Musk is a twenty-first century phenomenon.
And I do not believe that he exists.
Ask yourself this: how many people have actually seen Elon Musk? Seen him in the flesh that is, not on a TV screen, or via social media. Not many, I’ll wager. In the interests of scientific investigation, I’ll attempt to put a figure on the question. It is suggested that the average person meets 80,000 other people in a lifetime. Now Musk is 46 years old––allegedly––having lived roughly ⅔ of an average lifespan. ⅔ of 80,000 gives a figure of 53,000 possible interactions. Given his celebrity status, it would be conceivable that this figure could be doubled. Let’s make it a nice round 100,000, and I don’t think it would be far out as a working estimate.
So, Elon Musk has met 100,000 people in his lifetime. As a proportion of the total world population of 7.6 billion individuals, that is 0.000013%. Tiny. A far greater proportion of the planet claim to have been abducted by aliens, or believe in the Loch Ness Monster, or live in Sale, Greater Manchester.
I am not normally so agnostic in my outlook on the world. I do not normally demand eyes-on proof to accept that something could exist above and beyond that which I have had personal experience. Particularly as I get older, I realise that Hamlet spoke wisely when he said “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.
Elon Musk has appeared like an advertising agency’s creation––improbably good name; improbably good appearance; improbably good teeth––to spread a message of hope for a brighter tomorrow. He is a silicon Archangel Gabriel.
But I don’t believe that Elon Musk exists. I just believe that we live in a world, which requires Elon Musk to exist.
© Simon Turner-Tree; image © Steve Jurvetson
Simon Turner-Tree wonders what he might have achieved if he had been a little more ambitious.