A recent calculation of the ‘big picture’ in cosmic theory has the universe pulsing in an endless series of entropic expansions and contractions. When things reach a certain maximum (minimum?) of composition and the black holes go ‘pop,’ and disappear, it all starts over again. Nifty. Someone or ones will get a Nobel prize for physics and the world we can know (as opposed to the ones we can’t) will go on: governments will tax and pillage while people try to find some measure of happiness with the part of this universe that is theirs; thugs will rape and kill and wars will be fought over religions both political and metaphysical; and the weather will turn and twist over an Earth we pretend to understand, for reasons we have not yet fathomed.
It can be argued (and is argued) that understanding the ‘big picture’ will throw some light on the smaller vignettes of human interest that are all about us. I suspect that those who argue such things will still be arguing tomorrow and into the next millennium. The thugs will still be raping and murdering. Governments will continue to suck the marrow from the bone. Politicians and self-appointed ‘leaders’ will still seek to tell everyone else how to live and what to do while they themselves try to get away with whatever is not nailed down. Religions will still assert their unique favor in the eyes of God and kill anyone who disagrees. The weather will change.
This is not to say that all is just ‘weather.’ We obviously do not live in an endless cycle of torment and tumult. The fantastic changes in human society of the last four thousand years are ample witness to that (as are the lilies of the field). The tens of millions that once lurked in the habitable portions of the planet four thousand years ago have become billions and some even sit upon the boulevard and enjoy their coffee while observing the beauties of mother nature. Our children survive infancy (those we do not abort). Our lives last beyond the four-score and seven (though we have yet to value the years and hours we’ve gained). We even have the luxury of time between gathering and hunting to theorize about the origins and destiny of the universe. This act, in itself, is a sort of supreme endeavor and some measure of what we might do.
This then is no argument at all, in fact. It is an observation while looking out a window on a rainy day and wishing I had gone for a walk yesterday when it was sunny and splendid. It is a small wonderment on what I try to do now, and a worry for the future of my children, all against a landscape littered with the debris of those who are short-sighted and unkind, yet softened by the glimmer of rain upon the surface.
I am in fact in the midst of writing a novel about — after stripping away the plot and narrative — the meanness of some and the generosity of others. The effort has me concerned about the future. My concern is over trends in our present culture that reveal a shallow base. Our roots, though tens of thousands of years old, are not deep in any cosmic sense. In my short lifetime I have seen an amazing overturn of values and beliefs. Because I tend to read older books and commune with minds that have long since passed from my time, I have come to believe that I am trying to write for an audience that may read my work well after I have left the scene (or the scene of the crime as it might be). At the least, that’s my belief.
And I know that a great deal of my desire to write is tied to a simple need to escape the actual and the mundane. Similar faults riddle any human effort, and I happily dismiss such facts as irrelevant to the value of the work. I know as well that my own talents, what ever they might be, are limited. This too I try to ignore, though it intrudes on my efforts as constantly as the small lump of stuffing that nags from the seat of my chair. Trying to keep my work within any perceived limits of my abilities is a useless naval gazing which would quickly spiral into one of those black holes I was reading about. I’m not sure I would even hear the ‘pop.’ In any case, there has always been a greater pleasure to be found in reaching beyond my grasp. Like a good morning stretch. Pleasure does not adequately describe it, but let that be.
The regret for a moment lost in the sun, missed out of lethargy and inertia, has no cosmic weight amidst the hurtle of time. What I could have known then, never was (unless I choose to imagine it). What I did then was sit upon my lumpy chair, as I do now, and write. What I wrote then may be a mere trickle of digital code in an ocean of electrons, but then again, like a drop of rain, it just might bear a glimpse into the origins of the universe.
Probably not. But still . . .
The current expansion of the universe goads me. I feel it in my bones (just this side of the lump in my chair). Entropy will out, so to speak. I must grab the moment, grasp it, give it rein, and hold on for the ride.