I made a sandwich
(originally posted 2/6/2013)
Sometimes thoughts just get away from you. I had this nice idea about a story where the whole thing would be about how every decision changes your life in irreversible ways, not just the big ones, and the whole thing would be written just so I could write the line “I went into the kitchen and made a sandwich… and nothing would ever be the same”. Maybe not a sandwich, maybe something else completely insignificant but definitely it would end with “and nothing would ever be the same”.
For some odd reason I found that line very funny.
But then I started watching a glut of television programs about the universe and black holes and such. Suddenly all decisions I was making became completely insignificant. All decisions everyone was making were insignificant.
Not as funny.
But watch enough of these programs and the terrible truth begins to sink in; consciousness is not only an aberration but an irrelevant one at that. We have the bias towards life that is completely out of whack to its relevance in the universe. Just because there might be spots where matter has gained self-awareness we think somehow this is ‘progress’ when in fact it’s just a fluke. It means nothing to the universe. A black hole a billion miles across, consuming galaxies as it moves through space, doesn’t care about who is going to win an Oscar on Earth. All of our gods and ghosts and poems are pathetic indications that we really just don’t understand shit.
Soon, in cosmic terms, our sun will run out of fuel, swell, and then incinerate our planet. This will happen whether we are here or not. Hydrogen and helium and their little friends rule the universe. We are just bystanders. Bystanders that are so ill-suited to understand what is going on around us that we still use terms like “black holes break every law of physics”.
No they don’t. They break the laws as we understand them because we haven’t figured them out yet. Everything that happens does so under the strict supervision of math we haven’t even started to figure out. And when we finally do? Who cares. We’ll still be sitting staring up into space waiting for a rogue meteor to come hurling out of the inky depths and put us out of our misery.
So you can see how this one got away from me. One minute chuckling about things that could make things never be the same again and the next realizing that even if humanity unleashes complete nuclear war on the planet nobody (or nothing to be more precise) would care.
Life. Consciousness. Self-awareness. They are the anomalies in a much bigger production.
Then it hit me. Only in death do we rejoin the universe. Earlier I said that everything follows laws of behavior, all matter moves in a great dance with time and gravity. All matter except that which has self-awareness. In these cases the matter crashes around inventing needs and dramas outside the simple rules and while it cannot break any of the laws in and of itself it can and does act in a completely random manner. This inability to predict the machinations of these lumps of consciousness would annoy the fuck out of the rest of the non-aware universe if it was in fact aware.
When we die our molecules are no longer hijacked and can once again join the rest of the universe in acting and reacting to everything else. We are stardust waiting to be freed.
Hmmmm. Heady stuff indeed.
I wrote a story and nothing and everything would be the same again.