Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chapter One



The night sky is an interesting thing. Nothing more than a thin layer of gas against an expanse of interminable darkness, it invokes a sense of awe in even the most poetically deficient souls. The Earth rotates at a speed of over one thousand miles per hour, and revolves around the sun at a speed of about 67,000 miles an hour. We cling to our hunk of rock, mercifully oblivious to the cosmos as a whole - even Carl Sagan might have been hard-pressed to think of a suitably non-horrifying way to objectively describe humanity's place in the universe. The universe is a vast expanse of space, but it is far from empty. Of course, we know of the planets, stars, suns and moons, galaxies, pulsars, quasars, black holes, nebulae, and everything else we were spoon-fed since we were kids. We sat and nodded and absorbed the information, never thinking twice about it, never questioning anything - we just wanted playtime and dibs on the Flintstone Phone. But, short of the knowledge of astrophysicists, and well beyond it as well, what if there is more?

What if. "What if" is the way you start a conversation involving a few of your drunk buddies, or a question you ask yourself as you sit in an empty apartment wishing your life had gone differently, inevitably drawing a lovely bath with soapy pink bubbles, candles, soft music and a razorblade. There's no "What if's" if you are reading this book. You have gazed into the abyss, told Nietzsche to get bent, and fought 100,000 years of human instinct to keep your mind from trying to run in two directions at once, and succeeded! Good for you! 

The fact of the matter is that there is more, much more, to the universe than we as a collective society have ever even pondered, let alone discovered. There have been plenty of clues floating about right under our noses, clues in the form of legends, superstitions, arcane texts, esotericism, and, sadly, the insane ramblings of madmen. The mind is an imperfect container. It can hold sanity or Ultimate Truth, but to add more of one, some of the other must spill out. But, since the American Psychiatric Association doesn't recognize insanity, we'll just throw the wingnuts in a little room and get on with things.

Next time you go out at night, take a glimpse up at the sky. Hopefully, it will be overcast, and one can have a false sense of security under their blanket of water vapor. But on a clear night, when there is no outside light to pollute the view of the infinite, and the stars shine and the black spaces between them seem just a bit darker than they should, tell me you don't get a small feeling of agoraphobia. Or, in the case of a Lovecraftian protagonist, faint, run away, or simply fall over dead.

In a way, we are the France of the Multiverse. When a danger looms near, and we think of our families and of our futures and of our grapes and of our long bread and berets and Daft Punk, we would sooner surrender than to face the demons that wait outside the spheres of our understanding. Who can blame us? We're only human.

No comments: