“The Answer Is Not Really Zero.”


One of my favorite lines in literature comes from Ann Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant:

“Dying, you don’t get to see how it all turns out.”

It is the most profoundly sad summation of our existence I have ever read. I mean, dammit, I want to see how everything turns out.

That’s why that line bubbled up from my subconscious this morning when I read this fascinating story in the New York Times.

As a long time reader of both science fiction and comic books (I suppose I ought to say “graphic novels” to preserve my intellectual integrity in the eyes of some, but screw it), I am fascinated by concepts like multiple universes, time travel and contacts with alien races. I won’t likely live see the answers the scientists in the story are seeking–the likelihood is that virtually everyone reading this can say that–but it’s nice to be reminded that there is still a goodly segment of our species which has not given in to the dumb & dumber culture which surrounds us.

As I said, it’s a fascinating story. Aside from the quote from one of the scientists interviewed which I used as header here, my two other favorites were:

“In spite of the fact that you are liable to spend the rest of your lives measuring stuff that won’t tell us what we want to know, you should keep doing it.”

“I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic the first, or even second, time I heard the proposal of a multiverse. But none of us were consulted when the universe was created.”

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