Thursday, November 6, 2003

Ether Here or There

I can't sleep. I just lie here, awake, thinking and drawing up plans. Crazy plans. Plans to build a ladder in my garden up into the sky. This ladder will have a rung for each name of each person who ever walked this planet, for each person in the present, and each person who will exist in the future.

I'll carve each rung myself, see, out of the best possible wood my finances will afford me, fashioning them all with great care to be of equal circumference and length. Finally, I'll ink each rung with a name before placing them, in no particular order, onto the structure. And I'll climb. Each day, I'll climb higher and higher. My idea of space travel.

There's a phone ringing somewhere. As usual, I try to ignore it, but the caller is persistent. Frustrated, I grab up the receiver.

Me: Hello?

Voice: Hi.

Me: Oh, it's you.

Voice: Expecting someone else?

Me: Well, no, but there's hope.

Voice: I see. So, having trouble sleeping?

Me: Uh huh. Especially now.

Voice: So what thoughts are consuming you tonight?

Me: I can work it out on my own.

Voice: Now let's be honest with each other-

Me: Can we be another way?

Voice: Ha! That's good. Right, so let's start...

Me: Argh. You really irk me, you know that? I'm thinking about the Universe. Okay? And I'm trying to wrap my mind around infinity.

Voice: And have you come up with any Earth shattering revelations?

Me: Not exactly. The best I can tell is that there must be multiple Universes. I just can't explain it though. How can there be more than one Universe? Isn't the universe everything?

Voice: No, but I know that it's easy for somebody to think that way, that is, until you train yourself to think otherwise.

Me: What do you mean?

Voice: Ever since William Whewell coined the word scientist-

Me: Argh, I'm not sure I have the time for this, I'm so tired-

Voice: Just here me out. Ever since William Whewell coined the word scientist in 1836, the power has been taken away from the thinker, the philosopher, and given to these humans called scientists with their imperfect math, and lengthy equations with answers that we - the ordinary people - are expected to, and often do, take at face value. This is wrong and, in fact, dangerous. It was mere thinkers, after all, who gave us some of the most important discoveries of our time. It was Newton who deduced his laws of gravity from Kepler's laws - laws that Kepler himself admitted to having guessed at! This being said, I'll try to put my humble ideas about the Universe(s) into words for you.

Me: (groans) All right, shoot.

Voice: Space is, in my mind, a formless and shapeless body, both immeasurably large and immeasurably small. It has no beginning or end, and yet it has both. Space is everything and yet it is less than nothing. The problem with this, and the reason why you are scratching your head right now, is that the human mind is simply not capable of understanding the quintessence of nothing; as it is less than nothing, laws of physics, which all of us, on some level, understand and live by on Earth, are not really the same in space. The first question that may come to mind may be: How can two opposites be true? Namely, how can Space be both everything and less than nothing? The best example I can give for this would be that of a boat sailing on the ocean from Europe to North America; is it not sailing both uphill and downhill at the same time?

Me: So, space is a big sphere filled with nothing?

Voice: Yes and no.

Me: Of course.

Voice: Nothing is something too.

Me: I see. Anyway, I need sleep. If space is infinite, then surely its centre is the bed on which I now lie.

Voice: Now you're thinking! Just allow me to finish my thought first. Seemingly empty space would be absolutely perfect if it were not for the cancers that we call Universes. Space is not empty at all but instead filled with unimaginably small (but not infinitely small) particles all precisely the same size and shape, moving in a precisely choreographed fashion, the whole of which we call ether, the fifth element. You can think of it in terms of Space being the 'body' and these particles as being the cells of which the body is comprised. Left in this state, space would be perfect. The trouble arises when one of these particles, an imperfect particle (because nothing can be perfect), mutates and multiplies in much the same way as cancer in a living being, only much more quickly. Now, this said, I will also add that this may not be the only cancer (see: Universe) growing in the vastness of space and, indeed, there are most likely others; others of different shapes and sizes, others of different ages, just others. Universes within universes? Why not?

Me: Now, I know you enjoy passing ambiguity and obscurity off as intelligence and wit, but you have to know that it doesn't work on me...

Voice: I don't have any idea what you're on about.

Me: Hmm...

Voice: Well, I can't have answers for everything. I'm doing my best.

Me: So how many Universes are there you figure? An infinite number?

Voice: The number is impossible to calculate, but if you were to-

Me: Umm...

Voice: Yes?

Me: I'm going to resume trying to sleep.

Voice: Well, erm, alright, tomorrow I'll let you in on my current calcula-

I hang up the phone, and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

No comments:

Post a Comment