Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Nothing Revolts, part 2


Lots of people write stories about the end of the world. This story is about the beginning of the world. Well, to be more technical, this story is about the beginning of the beginning of the world.

Let me explain: At the beginning of everything, there was nothing. There was no space, there were no minds, no thoughts, no dreams, no rocks, no flowers, no birds, and no light. There wasn’t even darkness. There is nothing to say about this time, except that absolute nothingness can only be sustained for so long. This being the case, eventually, nothingness gave way to something. That something’s name was Otis. Otis was an organism. He was very small, and hard to notice (not that there was anything there to notice him anyway). Otis was glad to be something. He was the first something ever, which was no small feat. He reveled in his somethingness. But, just as nothingness inevitably leads to somethingness, so too does somethingness inevitably lead to more somethingness. The spigot of somethingness is not easily turned back off.

So Otis was pleased to be something, but eventually, being the only something became lonely. So Otis self replicated. He didn’t do it consciously. In fact, he was asleep when it happened. It was a jarring experience. It was strange. It woke Otis up with a loud ‘Bang!’ Have you ever wet the bed? You know how embarrassing that can be when your mom comes to change the sheets in the morning? Well, that’s how Otis felt when he woke up, except he didn’t have a mom to be embarrassed in front of. All that there was, was Otis, and this new something. It was a little thing; a little Otis. Otis liked this little thing. He called it The Universe. And what has happened since that time is very complicated scientific stuff, so we won’t go into it too much here, because I’m just a simple storyteller. Go ask your college professor about this stuff. Write a letter to the president. Listen to some music and stay up late. I always fall asleep in lecture halls.

So, I can’t tell you all about the nuts and bolts about what has happened since Otis wet the bed, but I can tell you that it follows logically that the more somethingness there is, the less room there is for nothingness. It’s a simple matter of cabinet space. As Otis grew, and as The Universe grew, and multiplied into more universes, and each of those universes gave birth to other somethings (and on and on), eventually Nothingness began to feel a little crowded. Sure, there are things that don’t exist, but they aren’t exactly ‘nothing’, are they? They don’t exist. That makes them something. In fact, things that don’t exist irritate Nothingness the most. Nothingness was okay with Somethingness at first. In fact,

Nothingness kind of liked Otis, and thought his first few little Universes were quite cute. Nothingness thought these Universes were cute in the same way you might think a baby sitting next to you on a long bus ride is cute. But imagine that first baby being followed by a second? And a third? And a fourth? And all the while babies parents seem to move farther and farther away from these little babies, inching their way, smiling, calmly, up to the front seat of the bus. And then, at the next stop, the parents get off! And you’re left there with the babies! And they’re crying, and pooping, and spitting up all over your new slacks. This is how Nothingness began to feel about Somethingness.

Over the years, Nothingness’s feelings intensified, yet Nothingness, as is to be expected, said nothing. When we say nothing about our feelings, they become angry. When we stuff them into the cellar and pile old newspapers on top of them, they get cramped and cranky, their skin becomes pale and their eyes heal over. Their teeth get scraggly, and they become dysfunctional and destructive, like a chimpanzee who has been tied up in a burlap sack for too long. Even a peaceful Bonobo might try to take a chunk out of your ass if you tied it up in a burlap sack for a couple of hours.
So Nothingness did nothing about this strange experience it was having--feelings, consciousness--and it was not properly equipped to deal with it. So it did the first thing any other unthinking mass does in response to discomfort. It began plotting a revolution.

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