Saturday, 16 July 2016

Life the universe and everything....

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent
It is hard to think that we are not the centre of the universe. For most of humanity's existence we thought exactly that. Humankind was special and so was the earth. The sun revolved around the earth and indeed the whole heavens did so too. Everything in the universe was set up for our enjoyment, life and enlightenment. And god oversaw all and provided mankind with ample bounty for he was a good god and so loved his elect creation. 

We now know better. We are just a speck in a possible infinite universe (Einstein's theories of relativity allow this). Our galaxy is one of a least a 100 billion galaxies, most receding from us at incredible speeds. Some are receding even faster that the speed of light (how so?). Our position in the cosmos is nothing special. As life forms we are like other life forms except smarter. An individual's existence is marked in just a few scant decades and then extinguished. We emerge from oblivion and meet it again all too soon. The universe, as we know it, has existed for 14 billion years and perhaps will last forever. Our place in the vast cosmos of space and time doesn't even count as a blink, a jot, or iota.  

Move him into the sun—
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields half-sown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.

Think how it wakes the seeds,—
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved—still warm—too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?

by Wilfred Owen
O well, I don't know about you, but I'm off out for a meal and a glass of good beer.

Yea, but what is the question?


  1. Beer! Beer FFS!
    That's your answer to cutting back on the red wine?!? Have a glass of beer!

    Strangely enough I've just read all six Hitchhikers books back to back and I still don't have a clue what the fuck it was all about. But maybe that was the point Adams was making...

  2. There is no God but Arthur Askey...

  3. Arthur Askey makes the perfect god: absolutely pointless. As for the 'Hitch Hikers Guide', I entreaty you to read it again.

  4. Sadly miss Douglas Adams. HHGG on the radio was the best version. Have to remember all the different genres were different in many ways. Douglas re wrote them each time. The poor film version wasn't his as such. The TV version would have benefited from better effects. But the radio, ahh the images he created... all those Lintillas...

  5. Douglas Adams was a rare genius. As for the effects in the tele version- the sight of Beeblebrox's second head will haunt me to the end of my days.

  6. The question, as you'll recall, is what's 6 x9?

    Douglas Adams was a smart mathematician and had an answer prepared for why 6 x 9 = 42: BASE 13!

    (13 is also the number of dimensions needed for basic string theory - spooky or what?)

    In case it's not obvious, 42 in base 13 = 54 in base 10.

    1. A smart fella that Douglas Adams, endowed with wit and an impish sense of humour- sadly missed.

  7. May I introduce a Steven Crane (1871-1900. Wrote 'The Red Badge of Courage') quotation to the discussion;
    A man said to the universe: “Sir, I exist!”
    “However,” replied the universe, “The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.”

  8. Hi Bill, as you say said American gentleman is mostly remembered for his American Civil War novel. However, he was also an accomplished poet and prolific writer in his short life. I confess I haven't read much of his work. To be honest I find some of his writing a little too avant garde for my taste, although I can appreciate his obvious talent.