Let me ask you a purely academic question: Hello?
— Dean Blehert

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dwindling Spiral

The physical universe is as eternal as the two-minute race between Achilles and the tortoise. That is, it lasts forever if the speed with which we exhaust lifetimes accelerates proportionately to our approach to its limits. When there are only a billion human years left, we'll become ants and have another trillion ant years left, and so on.

To participate in that eternity, we need only concede that we cannot ourselves create new energy -- an easy concession in a universe so rich with pre-fabricated energy, so solid and agreed-upon.

Once in the game, we operate by using physical universe energy (it's a monopoly, our Standard Oil) to control physical universe energy and bodies and cars and planets (congealed energy -- previously used, but only by a very old God to drive to church on Sundays).

But the more energy is used and reused (as the physical, like a dog, licks up what it spits up), the less controllable it becomes. We cannot make fresh energy. That's in our admission contract, remember? Nobody gets into this universe without first waiving the right to create energy, because those who can create it, can also make it vanish, and that's dangerous, if we want this universe to last. So we chew over the same old ergs for trillennia until it's all amorphous gruel, no use to anyone.

The way out? We'll have to forget about hurling galaxies about, but if we make ourselves real small, within our thin gruel of galaxy, we'll find stars bursting with energy to play with, untapped Niagaras -- and when stars are exhausted, we can shrink again to be overwhelmed by yet more miniaturized explosions.

After a few millennia of bodies in machines creeping over the skin of a pretty blue planet-marble, fuel runs short. We can look forward (unless we remember how to create our own energy) to a 10-second aeon of jockeying electrons and talking in voices much too shrill for ants to hear (Quark Quark!), hoping for our terasecond of fame, hurtling round nucleii, whirled without end, Hallelujah, amen.

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