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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2018 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Time, the ultimate creator

22 February 2018

No, I haven't been smoking the wacky-baccy or indulging in mind-altering substances (beyond a glass of wine with my dinner) but you might think so after reading today's column.

Last night, as I was cooking my evening meal, I gazed out at the vine which covers the garage wall.

Right now this vine is covered in some rather unimpressive flowers and there was a lone bumble-bee flirting with the stamens and petals of a few of them.

It was at this point I had to ask myself, is this really an accident?

No, I'm not going all religious but I stopped and thought about how we got to where we are today in this universe.

The whole thing (so we're led to believe) began with a singularity that was pure energy.

The "big bang" was the release of this energy, some of which transitioned to matter and created the primordial soup from which we have all been made.

So think about it... we start with a giant, expanding ball of energy and matter which is, at least initially, completely homogeneous.

Skip forwards a little over 14 billion years and we find that this primordial soup has congealed and organised itself into physical structures such as galaxies, suns, planets and such.

But wait... there's more...

On at least one of these planets, and maybe many more, the atoms which make up the periodic table have organised themselves into living organisms that have but one role -- to reproduce themselves and refine their form and function into something which is better suited to that task.

Perhaps it's because of my tiny brain or maybe it's because I'm now in my 66th year so the grey-matter is getting a little worn, but I find it absolutely mind-boggling that from such chaos, we have what we see today -- created only by random events and an abundance of time.

Then there's the issue of consciousness.

If you or I weren't around to see and experience exactly what our world and the universe has become -- what would be the point anyway.

This gets kind of quantum-ish in nature. If we didn't exist, would the universe itself actually exist? Shades of Schrodinger's cat eh?

Personally, I've always leaned towards the belief that we're not the result of a totally random sequence of events which, through serendipity, have created life out of nothing more than inert elements and compounds.

I find it very hard to believe that there isn't some greater force at work here.

No, I'm not talking about a divine deity that we need to worship -- I'm talking about some other intelligence that has seen fit to create this environment and then seed it with the ingredients needed to create life -- perhaps in the form of a carefully controlled experiment.

Just like rats in a cage, we're being closely scrutinised and examined so that our "creators" can perhaps gain knowledge that is important to them. Or perhaps we're just entertainment, perhaps mere pets for a far more intelligent form of life.

What's more, instead of our cages being built from glass or steel mesh, perhaps *our* containment is by way of time. We're trapped on a fixed time-flow, moving through life and the universe at a predetermined rate which we are unable to change. We can't go back in time and we can only go forward at the rate which has been determined by our creators -- this effectively traps us in a way that no physical barrier ever could.

Ah well... that's all I've got.

Maybe this kind of philosophical mind-wandering is a part of the aging process after all. Perhaps it's nature's way of preparing you for the big dirt-nap.

When you reach a pivotal point in your life (such as turning 65 and qualifying for the super (which I will not be applying for), you start to realise that death may be just a few short years away and that the vast majority of your life is now behind you. If there wasn't the prospect of something beyond life as we know it then death would be something to fear.

However, I find myself becoming increasingly accepting of my mortality. The worst that can happen when I die is that my consciousness ceases to exist so I am totally unaware of anything. But who knows... maybe life in this universe is simply a stepping stone to something else.

Woohoo... I guess it's time to make the most of the life we have left and look towards the future with curiosity rather than fear or trepidation. Well that's my plan anyway.

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