Thursday, 22 November 2012


The life of a thought, as it sparks through the neurons, can be tremendous and short. They are rarely remembered, often vulgar or the brains responses to our bodily needs, though some, are so enthralling, that they send rouge and rushing waves through your every cell, calling your hairs to stand to attention and your skin to tremble as if it caressed by the softest of feathers. It was this very constellation of senses that changed my centre of gravity very suddenly to the chair I now sit, rambling at a keyboard. The phrase that sent me there, I will not postpone, was while reading an essay by Christopher Hitchens entitled 'The Catastrophist', on the science-fiction writing of J.G. Ballard. The phrase itself though, was anything but science-fiction. Hitchens quotes Sir Martin Rees in a lecture he gave in honour of the late Professor Joseph Rotblat: “Most educated people are aware that we are the outcome of nearly 4 billion years of Darwinian selection, but many tend to think that humans are somehow the culmination. Our sun, however, is less than halfway through its lifespan. It will not be humans who watch the sun’s demise, 6 billion years from now. Any creatures that then exist will be as different from us as we are from bacteria or amoebae.” 

Imagination does not suffice! To think of creatures of unimaginable nature, so profoundly different from ourselves, gathering in numbers to watch the last moments of a dying star. And, the last moments of the life that feeds upon it. An event that would make Revelations cower and put angels on double-time. The final extinction on a planet, that already now has put 99.5% of all existed species, un-empathetically, to the metaphoric sword. Ah! But why dwell? 'Tis only another whimper in a galaxy with a million million stars, in a universe with a million million galaxies. And yet humans find it still so easy, nay, so comfortable that this entire entropic and beautiful universe was created with them specifically in mind. A god who did this, who created a universe only to wait almost 14 billion years before his favoured humans even existed on one of the maybe billion billion planets that inhabit this universe, so he could send his son, in human form to be tortured to death only 3 uneventful decades later. It even happened after almost 200 thousand years of human flourishing. I could only postulate that god himself may be under the influence of one of the many brain disorders he so graciously bestowed upon us.  I do not think it unreasonable to criticise a belief that holds such solipsistic and supernatural specifics, I think it strange to say otherwise. I certainly don't respect them. 

We are destined to live strange lives. Lives that absolutely are all about us, and lives that harbour such solipsism and ignorance, so conveniently forgetting the insignificance and minuteness of our quixotic wanderings.  It a wondrous thing to be alive in this universe, an unlikely thing as it is to be alive at all. No god or mind behind it, no - as Christopher Hitchens puts it - celestial dictator to loom. It is not the son of god that we rely, but a sun of helium and hydrogen.