Science faction

The passing of the rains

This real event happened the other day when I returned home after I successfully had passed my exam in English. If it had been a God setting this up it was well-timed. But I believe not in Gods, so ... anyway. This is a true story.

I was happy. It was raining. A thunderstorm had passed without thunder. Just hail and rain. If you live in Copenhagen you know which day of April 2016 it was. I was about to open my door towards the street when I noticed a man standing some feet away; or he was more like walking slowly. He looked as if he had just stepped out of a time machine and had come here directly from some wars somewhere.

I wait until he catches up. He looked at me. I looked at him. It was raining; at a distance the sun was peering through the skies. The water ran down my neck. We were both soaked and dripping. He looked like a ghost. I had my last money in my pocket. I took them out and put them in his hand, Here, it's a gift, I said. I knew you could not just give a man some money even if he was in need. It would be a humiliation and a sign of disrespect. But I could give him a gift, or pretend he lost them; that it actually was his.

He was very sad. His vision was the darkest I have ever seen. He was in a deep darkness. I can not tell how deep. His clothes were old and worn, but seemed to have been in a better state. He held a piece of wet folded paper in his hand. He showed it to me. Mumbled something about the police. It was in French, Vous avez le droit ..., and detailed his rights to call his relatives.

He did not say much, and I could not do much more. Or rather I would not do much more, even though I felt bad about this. I give a lot when I work the streets. I had no more to give that day. I also feared his visions. I was at guard. He definitely was not a drunk, you can smell that. But he could be a soldier; he could be a drug addict. I know these types: once they are warm and feel okay they become abusive and potentially dangerous. I am not a hero or a wise Buddhist monk, I am a coward; just a dude trying to make it like everybody else. I was on guard in front of the door to my home. Also, my home is where I work.

I must explain a little more; when I came to this neighborhood the windows towards the streets were usually covered with black or other non transparent fabrics. It gave the neighborhood an unfriendly un-welcoming look. As if people were afraid of whatever was passing on the street. And people maybe even had a reason for this. Even though it seemed peaceful enough a man was murdered outside the local pub a few feet away, while I was living here. And an unfortunate disturbed young guy armed with an army grade assault rifle had a shootout, killing one innocent and injuring several, just a few blocks away. But I decided to take the cover down and plant lemon trees and date palms and so on. I placed my working desk just in front of the window so people passing could see me work everyday there. I am not hiding and the window is now blooming with roses and young trees. I had never had any troubles not even with the teen school boys passing every day.

But I was worried about inviting this man in. I was worried about the wars or unrest in his mind. I could not help him, but at the same time I felt that I should. I am a Buddhist, or so I thought, had I been I would have taken care of him, but I am not. Or at least I have not studied enough. I still need to understand something I just can not figure out.

We were standing in the rain. I gave him a hug. I told him, look up, the sun will shine again. It will also shine on you. Speak with your ancestors. Face them; they too will want you to find the sun, the light, again. I knew I could not walk him to the police station and help him get a lawyer as then it would become my project, my problem. I would be held responsible too. I had enough of this world there and then. I looked at the world as a whole; I saw eight billion people crawling around in dirt and water on the surface of a sphere of crystallized rock on top of fire in a huge empty space of dust, ice and intense blinding radiation. I saw how each of those humans pulled and pushed relentlessly each other to get attention. I saw that in my life my work is now a fight between me and nature and not me and the destiny of humans. Because it is arrogant of me to think I can solve the problems humans put onto themselves.

We stood in the rain holding a firm handshake like two men. Looking into each other's eyes without looking away or blinking (this was the actual situation). I made one move; I took his lower arm with my other hand to reassure him. But otherwise we stood still and did not talk not a lot. He said he came from Mali, and asked where he could meet the Dane. I told him that would be difficult, because the Dane are reclusive and have a strong fear inside which erupt in either stubborn intolerance or in supplicating behaviors beyond reason. And both are disrespectful of the fact that we both just are humans. Or I would have liked to say that, because this is what I reasoned about; but I said nothing. We were just holding hands in this prolonged handshake between men standing in the rain; me in front of my locked home, he miles away from his homeland.

He looked like a soldier but I could be wrong. He was too old to be a soldier. But it was clear from his dark visions that he carried a horrible experience in him. He could also be a rich man on drugs. When he tried to read the paper the police apparently had given him he reached into his inner pocket for a pair of glasses. Those glasses were much more expensive than the cheap ones I had myself. Still out with the glasses fell two cigarettes of different brands. He had picked them up, or he had received them from people like me. Paying off our debts of bad consciousness with cigarettes and money to people on the streets. He had not bought them. Even then he offered me money. To get a lawyer. I told him I would not. I told him to go find his way in life.

We were standing in the now slowly residing rain. The water dripped of us as the sun peeked out from behind the dark deep blue clouds. What is your name? he asked, Michael, you? - Muhammed, he replied. We stood a bit like this.

He then hesitatingly turned and walked away. He was black, I was white. Now we are both gray of dust, cold and rain. Only two out of now this very moment seven billion four hundred and twenty million people who is needing something from everybody else every day.

Loop

Han læste begyndelsen, og faldt så i staver. Blev en smule ærgerlig, læste så begyndelsen igen, og faldt atter i staver. Han sukkede, bladrede lidt på må og få i bogen, vendte den, læste bag på, igen, så på bindet, og lagde den så fra sig. Han havde lyst til at læse den. Han læste begyndelsen, og faldt atter i staver. Han nåede en smule længere denne gang! Kun en halv side var der til det nærmeste naturlige afsnit, han havde tabt tråden dog, og læste begyndelsen forfra. Han stoppede, og bladrede igen på må og få, kiggede på slutningen, det gav ikke mening. Han havde lyst til at læse bogen. Han læste begyndelsen, og faldt så i søvn. Klokken var næsten 4, da han vågende, det gryende dagslys, og fuglene, havde vækket ham. Han havde lyst til at læse bogen. Han læste begyndelsen, og skulle på toilettet.

Kan det vente, at barbere sig? - han betragtede sit spejlbillede. At man stadigvæk bliver overrasket, og vil rette på noget, efter mange år?

Barbering kunne vente mente han. Han havde lyst til at læse bogen, og begyndte forfra, læste begyndelsen igen. Denne gang meget omhyggeligt, med fingeren ud for hver linie. Han var der næsten, da han forstod han havde glemt begyndelsen; han kunne kun huske den sidste side. Han bladrede tilbage, med fingeren som bogmærke holdt han pladsen, det vundne territorium skulle ikke tabes, og læste begyndelsen igen. Han faldt i staver. Og måtte tage det hele forfra mente han. Han sukkede vredt, rejste sig. Han havde lyst til at læse bogen. "Måske skal jeg lidt ud?!" tænkte han ved sig selv. Han gik, luften var frisk, han gik den samme tur, som altid, luften var frisk, og han kom tilbage, mens den stadig var frisk. Han hængte jakken på plads. Og læste begyndelsen igen, han greb sig i at stirre apatisk på billederne. På billederne? Hans tanker måtte igen være vandret, der var ingen billeder i bogen. Han må have døset, morgentræt, drømt en smule. Han havde drømt noget af bogen, den var god husker han. Han havde lyst til at læse bogen. Han læste begyndelsen igen, og denne gang for at sikre sin fulde opmærksomhed, oversatte han det til fransk, og læste højt. Sådan tænkte han, sådan skal man gøre, sådan gør man! Den var ikke lige så god på fransk som det han havde drømt, det irriterede ham, hvordan kan det han måtte have drømt ikke være med i bogen, det burde det, det var mere spændende. Han stoppede, det var den drømte udgave han måtte vide hvordan endte! Pokkers, tænkte han, han lagde bogen fra sig. Hvad nu?! Han prøvede at huske, gik lidt omkring, og greb så en bunke papir, og begyndte at skrive. Noget med, tænkte han, noget med en bog, ja det var det! Han skrev Han læste begyndelsen, og faldt så i staver.

Caroline's proof

Quentin looked up from the paper turning the last page meticulously putting it carefully upside down onto the small pile on his desk. He hesitated then spoke carefully

Caroline; are you saying; if I get your paper correctly? Are you then saying that the universe, as such, is just a machine to evolve life? That apart from this the rest doesn't matter? he stared at Caroline not quite sure what to make of her.

I mean, as you write, and I quote, 'a universe is thus, as shown in 22.2.3, the fastest and least complex way of creating autonomous life forms, and in particular, as shown in 23.1.2, intelligence.

Caroline didn't speak, she returned his curious though indiscrete stare, smiled, waited. Quentin continued

Your conclusion, then?

There was a silence; she hesitated, slightly surprised by the question. She then leaned in pointing out that Quentin just had been reading it and smiled again

Yes, I know. But I want to hear you tell it, with your own words, he said.

But why? I just wrote it, it's all there. To read! She grabbed the last pages in the pile full of light and female energy now underlining the text with her fingers while reading out a loud, 'as the Universe evolves an extremely large quantity of energy is left to act and react in a rapidly expanding and cooling structure. Via insertion of very small seeds of voids we can create regions of vacuum in which complexity can evolve, very much like small particles of straw can seed holes in a swiss cheese. Once an ecosystem with life has evolved the remainder of the Universe is discarded in very much the same way as a liquid solvent is removed once a dissolved material has crystallized. This can be observed in the accelerating expansion of our Universe.' and elaborating we postulate here, in fact, that this is the actual cause of this accelerated expansion, Caroline continues It is quite simply the leftovers in the Universe being discarded now life has been created. Somebody is turning the glas holding our Universe, and pouring it out through a filter of some sort so to speak. Once this process nears completion most lifeforms have been here sufficiently long time to develop insights to move. While latecomers, more than accidental life, may risk being discarded possibly; at least this follows in the analogy unless evolution of life is mutually exclusive. It is basically a recipe, you see? To make life you need various flavors of matter, to create that, and energy, you need stars, and so on ...? she pointed to the pile, and messed around a bit to kind of draw the entire picture for him. ... do you see? It is just what it is. And now we have proved mathematically that this in fact is the least complex way you can do this thing from scratch at all.

Quentin was amazed; not quite happy, nor sad, more like in shock. The paper really looked very solid but on the other hand its conclusions were so far out that they could never publish it; I mean, seriously, they couldn't. And yet he thought to himself: If this is in fact, so. I mean, if ... if this, if this actually is what we are dealing with?

So, Caro, we are alone in this universe and what the future brings, and we should be looking for, is when, how and where we should move to?

No, said Caroline in fact not. We should figure out, at least initially, we should work out if we came first, that is, I mean, this is important! As otherwise we may be part of the matter being discarded; the stars of life may have left the party so to speak...

But so what if we are left-overs? There is plenty of room in this universe as it is? Quentin was feeling inferieur; he feared, he tend to decide on fear that was his big tragedy in life. He did not dare to publish Caroline's paper; inside he knew he was doing her great injustice; that she was working better than him and deserved to be published. But his fear prevented it. He felt sad inside and tried to be rational about it but he knew he was doing the wrong thing. If just for once .... maybe he could dare, liberate?

Yes, Caroline looked at him, now quite serious, but have you died yet?

What do you mean, no, have I died? no I have not?!

Neither have I, and who, what, are we? In us, in our genes are living structures, the DNA, the life, you, your living DNA, have it not lived on and on and on Quentin!? Through mutations, species, from mother to daughter, from father to son, tree to branch, snake to snake, and so on? You are not 36 years old and father to two kids, no, you and your kids are billions of years old; and so am I. None of us have died yet; not a single day has gone by where your DNA haven't been dividing, working, existing, living and vibrating. Think about it. You are the occasional flower on a several billion year old slimy splattery branch of uninterrupted moist DNA containing living goo. Billions of years, the root in your DNA, its origins, maybe even the actual atoms, have never been dry, sterile, or turned into radiation. Becoming the leftovers of this universe and discarded is a dark and sinister death after billions of years of living here, see? That's why! This is our predicament!

Quentin fell silent

So, that is, billions, even fifty billion of years, is a human lifetime? Is that your point?

Maybe not human but the lifespan, horizont, of life, of living, then yes, then even fifty billion years is a deadline to meet, a tomorrow to deal with, for us.

Venteværelset

Min veninde Beatrice fra Lyon, et par kammerater, hvis navne er irrelevante for historien, og jeg selv, sidder og venter i et venteværelse et sted i Skandinavien, på en helt almindelig anonym hospitalsgang. Bemærkelsesværdig ved netop ikke at være noget særligt overhovedet.

Med et udbryder en af os, måske var det mig?

Når vi sidder her, så tænker jeg: Dette venteværelse det eksisterer, det findes, det er et sted i universet, vi sidder i det, og det ser sådan ud. - en hånd vifter lidt rundt, som for at illustrere det sagte.

Ikke dårligt, udbryder Beatrice eftertænksomt.

Ja ikke, jeg nikker glad.

Man ser det ligesom i andet lys ikke? fortsætter en tredje.

Hmm hmmm om det var mig, eller den fjerde, der brummede, skal jeg ikke kunne sige, men vi blev med et mere opmærksomme, som var vi netop landet på en fremmed planet.

Vi så os omkring, og kiggede på hinanden. Der sad desuden nogle andre, som vi ikke kendte. De sad der også, og kiggede på os, men prøvede at lade være. Kiggede op, eller til siden, ned på deres sko, foregav pludselig interesse for væg og loft, eller en informationstavle om hjerneskade.

Jo, bestemt, et andet lys, man ser det på ny, på en måde! fortsatte Beatrice, med sin let syngende franske accent, uimodståeligt forførende, må jeg erkende.

Den ligblege væg der, for eksempel, med de giftigt blå mønstre, jeg tænker på, hvorfor har nogle villet at den skulle se sådan ud? fortsatte jeg.

I et andet lys end neon plasma fra lysstofrør ville den måske virke mindre giftig, måske så den designet og elegant ud på arkitektens computer skærm? siger min kammerat analytisk, han var teknisk minded, god til værktøj.

Det er en øjenafdeling. konstaterer en.

Giftig er vel ikke bedre for blinde? indvender jeg.

Man kommer her for ikke at blive blind, måske går man blind ud. Men når man sidder her, og venter, da er man endnu ikke blind jo!? fortsætter teknikeren nervøst, han var lidt trykket, han var årsagen til at vi sad her.

Nej, måske ikke, svarede jeg beroligende, og gav hans arm et distræt kram. Samtalen interesserede mig, så mine tanker var et andet sted. Han kiggede en anelse uroligt tilbage.

Ja, ja, ja, det kan vel være,forsatte Beatrice

men at vi sidder her, i et lukket rum, et overskueligt sted, og ser på de stole der med blåt kunstlæder og lyst træ, uret i gangen og Jeres vens giftigt blå designs...? hun havde nærmest overtaget min tanke, og gjort den til sin nu, og ville fortsætte, da jeg måtte korrigere :

Det er ikke min ven, måske kollega, en indretningsarkitekt, en som fandt på det.

Er du indretningsarkitekt??? udbryder den fjerde mand pludseligt interesseret.

Nej, men i denne sammenhæng er jeg vel. replicerer jeg.

Det er ellers død sexet. tilføjer han muntert.

I denne sammenhæng, her, er sexet ikke netop det, der falder en ind, fag uanset, forsatte jeg lettere irriteret.

Du var ellers optaget af, hvorfor han har villet at det skulle se sådan ud? han skulle blive ved, han var filosof.

Som sagt, i dette aspekt, formoder jeg at jeg kan kalde mig kollega, men ellers, det er ikke min ven, jeg kender ham ikke, jeg ville gerne tilbage på sporet, og ser mig om efter opbakning.

Eller hende!

En kvinde ville male den designer pink og puke blå-grøn, mener min teknisk mindede kammerat at vide.

Måske, Beatrice ignorerer distræt den drejning samtalen havde fået, og fortsætter henvendt til mig Jeg kan godt lide dit spørgsmål : hvorfor ville han at det skulle se sådan ud? Med det kan man sabotere enhver kunstners præsentation. Spørgsmålet om vilje, om man kan kunne ville et bestemt udtryk, eller om det er funderet i personen så tæt at det ér, og ikke kan villes? dette var en helt ny diskussion jo, egentlig, så jeg tog mig sammen, og talte det hele tilbage til mit udgangspunkt igen.

Altså, hør nu, prøv at følge mig i dette! At vi sidder her, og ved at dette sted findes, at det ser sådan ud, får mig til at tænke på, hvordan de andre steder i universet ser ud? Og endvidere at betragte dette sted med forundring, som de sidste scener i filmen rumrejsen år 2001. Filmen I ved, den der af Stanley Kubrick.

Det er rigtigt! Pludseligt virker det fremmedartet, mystisk, og måske en smule skræmmende, Beatrice var helt med nu.

Og hvem ved om der er et andet sted, der ligner, langt borte? Langt længere borte end nogen kan forestille sig det? fortsatte hun.

Under alle omstændigheder er der andre steder, jeg mener, lukkede rum, afgrænsede lokaler, huller, huler, revner og sprækker i klipper, asteroider og planeter. Langt de fleste vil aldrig blive beskuet. Eller vil de? Er det en universel ret for stof, at såfremt det får indrettet sig på spektakulær vis, da vil der også straks fremkomme et par øjne, der kan se, et par hænder der kan klappe, og en episk historie, der kan fortælles under rette historiefortællende omstændigheder?

Hvad er en ret omstændighed til historiefortælling? ville teknikeren vide.

Te og stearinlys, eventuel et bål, eller til nød en kaminild, svarede jeg lettere ironisk.

Så når en vældig krystalhule er opstået tilfældigt, vil deraf følge Aladdins turban, en appelsin, te og stearinlys, samt en fortæller, der kan placere appelsinen? Beatrice spillede lidt videre på den melodi.

Og en kamin, den lille mangel tilføjedes af filosoffen.

Ja, muligvis, ellers går historien, og det spektakulære syn, jo helt tabt!? svarede jeg.

Hvad taler I om, ting kan vel ikke ses, hvis ikke der er nogen der ser. Og fabelagtige scenarier in space er vel ikke til for nogen, eller noget? teknikeren var klart stået af.

Ja! Hvad mener du med det?? spurgte nu også filosoffen.

Det ved jeg ikke, kan jeg vide, kan vi vide, hvem eller hvad, der kan se det vi ikke kan se? Jeg læste at universet som helhed næsten havde samme profil som et sort hul, at intet lys, og derved ingen information, ingen fede film, ingen te eller kaminild, ingen appelsiner kan undslippe, skulle der være et sted udenfor. Men altså kun næsten! Der var en revne, kan man sige, i horisonten. Information kan formentlig undslippe, og man kan således i princippet se hvad der sker her, udefra altså.

Hvilket også var hvad man ville være interesseret i, hvis man havde lavet et univers for sjov. Der er ikke megen sjov i at lave noget, man bagefter intet som helst kan vide om fremover, tilføjede Beatrice gådefuldt.

Mmm, Ja, det er da tankevækkende, teknikeren havde med et fået andet at tænke på. Hans nummer var blevet trukket.

Du kunne godt give den som indretningsarkitekt iøvrigt. Det move der da du talte engelsk, lækkert, lækkert, sagde jeg til ham da han rejste sig for at gå. Det var ment beroligende. Jeg var ikke god til den slags.