Gay Cowboys and the Expanding Universe

In 1929, Edwin Hubble presented his discovery that the universe is expanding. Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt, and Adam G. Riess recently shared the nobel prize in physics for their evidence that this expansion is actually accelerating.

When I had first started college and I had decided to major in Astronomy, I remember hearing the ideas of some scientists that the universe expands and contracts forever. The expansion itself eventually slows to a crawl and then a stop before it begins to collapse back in on itself. Essentially, the Big Bang happens over and over again like a pair of lungs inhaling and exhaling.

So after 14 billion years, the universe is not just expanding but expanding at an exponential rate. This means one of two things. Either the universe hasn’t even gotten close to the point where it’s going to think about collapsing back in on itself, or it’s never going to.

The thunder of a monsoon woke me up tonight, and while I laid in my bed trying to fall back asleep I started to think about a short story I’ve been writing when an idea consumed me. When we write stories, the universe of that story isn’t complete. What I mean is that you only need so much area for your story. If I’m writing a story about people in New York, there’s no need for me to throw the details of Chicago into my story. I may not even need the details of Brooklyn. But if you’re someone like Tolkien and you’ve involved yourself in a much bigger and more complex story, you need to expand the details of your world (or worlds as the case may be).

Our universe is just like the conception of a very complex thought. It isn’t just there, it’s still creating itself. And my eyes opened wide when I realized that it’s possible that someone somewhere is thinking all of this up.

My life, your life, the city we live in, our planet, our solar system, our universe, and our most insignificant everyday problems could simply be the thoughts of one being as they write it all down in a book somewhere in their own universe.

It makes some sense when you consider that we’re all governed by the laws of physics. When you sit down on your couch and you play a video game, you’re limited by the rules and restrictions that the person who designed the game set. You can’t make your character jump higher than the game allows. If we were watching a movie about the social struggle of two gay cowboys and one of them suddenly turned into a giant radioactive lizard that ends up destroying Montreal, it would throw everyone in the theater off. A lot of people, after investing so much of their emotions in the first part of the story, might even walk out. You’ll always have that one guy who thinks it’s the best cinema he’s ever seen, but that’s probably because he has his own problems (which is why he’s at the movies by himself to begin with). People aren’t going to like it because the parameters were established, but then something happened that didn’t fit within those parameters. It’s almost as if we create games or stories or what have you with rules in mind simply because we’re used to our own rules.

So I suppose the last thing to ponder is this: Are you the product of someone else’s thought by which your life is predetermined, or are you the one thinking all of this up?

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