How the Universe Works

I began this thought in an email.  But as I wrote it I found myself expanding my thoughts beyond the scope of the personal interaction between myself and the individual in question.  I began to pull back from the personal and consider the whole, in the context of life as we know it.  And so I decided to write this post, where I can let those thoughts wander without seeming out of context or too overly broad for the email I had begun to write.

I was watching a show on Netflix last night called, “How the Universe Works“.  In the episode I watched the inevitable collision between The Milky Way and Andromeda was discussed.  And it was further explained that if that doesn’t completely obliterate this planet and all life on it, the heat death of the universe will.  That got me thinking…

We have all, I think, at one time or another considered the question about the tree falling in the forest and no one being there to hear it.  I think at first, if you are not inclined to ponder these things, it is simple to dismiss this as a foolish question.  But it can be likened in some ways to a more personal question, that may hold the reader’s attention for an extra moment or two.

If you have a baby girl, and you take that baby to the mall to get her ears pierced, generally she will scream and cry.  The piercing hurts, and she lets you know about it.  However, 12 years later, if you ask her if the piercing of her ears was painful, she will likely tell you that it was not, or that she has no memory of it being painful.  In fact, she has no memory of the event at all.  And so, because she cannot remember it, in effect it did not happen.  The results are evident, there are holes in her ears and earrings occupying those holes.  But insofar as she is concerned she may as well have been born that way, because in her mind there was never a time before she had those holes.

In light of this fact, and in light of the fact that there will come a time, no matte how far out in time it may be, when all life (of any kind) will cease to exist.  There will be no one to remember us, and so for all intents and purposes we effectively never existed.  There will be no statues or monuments.  No one will read about mankind in a history book.  No foreign traveler from elsewhere will come to Earth to behold our creations, or marvel (or disdain) at what we’ve accomplished.

The whole of the universe will simply sputter to a stop like a Pinto on the side of the road, and all life of any kind will cease.

Thus, we are a wisp of smoke.  The planet, and the entire history of all mankind, is but a matchstick.  A flash of light, a wisp of smoke, and it’s over.  A brief light in the darkness which does not overcome the darkness, but simply parts it for a short time.

So this whole human condition, this existence, is meaningless.  We are a random speck of dust, on a random speck of dust, in a doomed solar system, in a doomed galaxy, in a doomed universe.  Democrat or Republican; straight or gay; black or white…who cares?  In the end, there will be no one to remember, nothing left standing, no legacy of mankind.

So we take these few short years we are given, which in the grand scheme of cosmic time is not even the batting of an eye, and we dedicate that time to fighting, arguing, bickering and debating.  To what end?  What is the point?

We seek to rule over other men, to dictate terms and lives, to govern and to spark revolution.  Yet we never consider what is the plain truth to anyone who will stop a moment to consider it.

If you take a photograph in dim light the flashbulb will go off.  In cosmic time, the entirety of mankind’s existence falls within the time and space occupied by that flash of light.  We are fighting and arguing, killing, raping, robbing, making war, starving people, and committing all manner of other heinous acts against each other, in some misguided effort to gain standing, power or prestige in that millionth of a second that we will be here.

Seen in that light…none of this makes sense to me.



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